Skip to main content

Don't Hire John Dorsey As Your Team's General Manager

Reports suggest teams are considering former Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey to once again wear that mantle, a mistake they don't want to make.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

Given the performance of Dorsey as the general manager of the Cleveland Browns after the problems he ran into with the Kansas City Chiefs, it seemed like his career in the NFL was over with good reason.

Unfortunately, the NFL is a league full of owners who don't know what they don't know, lack intellectual curiosity and rely on consultants that will pitch them retread candidates hired on familiarity rather than performance, setting their team up to fall further behind out of fear of the unknown, which is how Dorsey's name has come up again.

While people will go back and point out great players acquired during Dorsey's tenures in his capacity as GM, the sheer amount of draft assets wasted is genuinely astounding. With a historic amount of draft assets at his disposal in the 2018 NFL Draft, he was only able to come away with Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward and Nick Chubb, who were selected 1st, 4th and 35th respectively.

The other two second round picks, third round pick and one of the fourth round picks were set on fire. Austin Corbett, Chad Thomas, trading for 10 quarters of Tyrod Taylor, and Antonio Callaway provided the Browns absolutely nothing.

Dorsey didn't re-sign Carl Nassib for the sake of Thomas. He's currently having a productive season with the Las Vegas Raiders. Emmanuel Ogbah was traded in part because of Thomas and he's got a good shot to make the Pro Bowl with the Miami Dolphins. Thomas, meanwhile, didn't even hit a practice squad as he tumbled out of the league.

The Callaway pick was particularly egregious as he didn't play his final year at Florida because he was suspended due to multiple failed drug tests. That doesn't account for the fact he was part of a credit card scheme to buy merchandise from the university bookstore or that he defended himself from a sexual assault accusation by arguing he was too high to have sex with anyone.

There are those that will give Dorsey credit for signing Kareem Hunt when he was the one who picked Hunt with the Kansas City Chiefs. That's where he ran into a number of off field issues involving drinking and alleged bar fights that was highlighted by a security video where he kicked a woman in a Cleveland hotel and if not for someone there to hold him back, it's impossible to know what he might have done.

Once players got into the facility, Dorsey played favorites, got rid of productive players to clear the way for incapable draft picks, alienated players still on the team, and got involved with coaching decisions, essentially dictating to his hand picked coach Freddie Kitchens who would play. Players didn't trust the coaching staff, because they knew whatever they said might be undercut the second they left the practice field.

Particularly during the 2019 season, this dynamic created a toxic environment and a miserable locker room in Cleveland. Players such as Rashard Higgins and David Njoku were singled out and left to rot on the bench while players such as Antonio Callaway, who didn't know the playbook or even where to line up were consistently provided opportunities. Njoku was expected to be traded and Higgins would not have been re-signed had Dorsey been retained. Multiple failed drug tests finally forced Dorsey to pull the plug on Callaway.

Fast forward to 2020 under Andrew Berry as general manager and head coach Kevin Stefanski, players like Higgins have been incredibly positive, even when he wasn't playing, talking about trusting the process, because there is a process. Winning helps, but the approach taken by this organization encourages a far healthier environment for success, regardless of where a player is on the depth chart.

There are absolutely positives that came from Dorsey's tenure with the Browns, including the addition of players like KhaDarel Hodge, Terrance Mitchell and trading for Wyatt Teller.

The problem is that the bad outweighed the good by a significant margin. Dorsey has not evolved or adjusted as the game has changed over the past quarter century. He hasn't incorporated improvements in the scouting process, simply relying on how he learned it dating back to his days with the Green Bay Packers, bristling at different approaches to scouting and roster building, which resulted in Berry leaving for the Eagles before coming back to take over the GM job.

It's why he will take huge risks on players with extremely troubling character concerns and will scoop up former 5-star high school prospects that never panned out in college under the misguided notion that somehow he can unearth the greatness within.

Dorsey's track record has been consistent since he first took over the Chiefs. He will draft a few outstanding players, waste an incredible amount of draft assets selecting picks on gut instinct over evidence, mortgaging future drafts in the process all while signing players to bad contracts that the next general manager will have to clean up.

Dorsey will tell fans and media that it's all in the pursuit of wins and championships, but it doesn't take long to realize it's all for his own glorification. He wants to win, so long as he's the one in control. A man who was arrogant enough to believe future Hall of Fame head coach Andy Reid needed to yield control to him will always get in his own way and the team will be the one that pays the price.

Both the Chiefs and the Browns are in far better places post Dorsey than they ever were with him. If a team is misguided enough to hire Dorsey for a third term as general manager, they can eagerly anticipate the moment the team improves because he's no longer a part of it.