Larry W. Smith - Getty
I like to think I have my finger on the pulse of Chiefs Nation. I know most fans are at least somewhat happy with this year’s draft class. But this week, as I listened, I heard something that didn’t quite add up. If I’m hearing correctly, it went something like this:
"Yeah, the Chiefs had a good draft. Herm Edwards and Bill Kuharich did a wonderful job. Those guys are terrific! Lucky for us, this year Carl Peterson was locked in a closet somewhere."
Yes, it seems the prevailing opinion this week has been to credit Edwards and Kuharich for the 2008 draft. With all the rumors flying this offseason – be they true or false - that Peterson had lost some power at Arrowhead, people have jumped to conclusions.
Those conclusions couldn’t be more wrong.
I’m as disgruntled with the state of the Chiefs as any fan, but the truth is, Carl Peterson deserves plenty of credit for the 12-pick bounty that fell upon Kansas City last weekend. In fact, if you really consider how the 2008 draft came to be, he probably deserves the lion’s share.
While it’s true that Edwards and Kuharich did an absolutely fantastic job, who hired them? That’s right, it was Carl who executed the deal that brought Edwards to Kansas City from New York (ask Jets fans what they think of Herm’s successor), and it was Carl who promoted Kuharich from his previous position. Without Peterson’s business savvy and ability to recognize Edwards and Kuharich as exactly what his franchise needed to lead the draft-first approach, Chiefs fans wouldn’t be sitting around dreaming about Glenn Dorsey and Branden Albert making trips to Hawaii.
And how exactly did the Chiefs begin last Saturday with a whopping 13 picks? Who laid the groundwork for the 2008 draft? You know his name.
By trading largely worthless roster rabble (Lawrence Tynes, Ryan Sims) and lucrative veterans (Trent Green), Peterson bulked up the back end of KC’s 2008 draft. The Jared Allen trade – about the riskiest, most pro-active maneuver Carl has ever made - fortified the front end.
Go back to that Green deal for a minute, too. Considering the absolute failure of Cam Cameron’s short stint as Dolphins head coach, and the brief period of time Green spent under center as Miami’s starting quarterback, Peterson essentially hoodwinked the Dolphins into giving up a fifth-round pick. There’s no question Miami came out on the short end of that deal.
Remember all the posturing and back-and-forth the Chiefs and Dolphins went through last summer? Remember all the heat Peterson drew from the media for supposedly holding Green hostage and “damaging team chemistry?”
A year later, Peterson comes out of that whole ordeal smelling like roses. Instead of settling for Miami’s initial offer for Green (a 7th round pick if I recall correctly), Carl stuck to his guns and squeezed that fifth-rounder out of the Dolphins.
Because of that fifth-rounder, the Chiefs were able to trade up and grab their franchise left tackle. Yeah, all those headaches Carl supposedly caused last summer really sting now, don’t they?
And how about the trade with the Detroit Lions to move up and get Albert? We now know the Philadelphia Eagles, a team with a great record for drafting big-time offensive linemen, were hot on Albert’s tail and tried to leapfrog the Chiefs in the first round to grab him.
Considering the way the Browns kept hopping over Kansas City in last year’s draft (Cleveland traded up to get quarterback Brady Quinn in the first round and cornerback Eric Wright in the second round), give Peterson major props for burning up the phone lines in the war room and avoiding a similar fate this year.
To recap – Peterson hired the poster boys for the 2008 draft, gave them the tools to win the day, and executed a draft-day trade that may net the Chiefs the next Jonathan Ogden or Willie Roaf. How can anyone conceivably avoid giving him credit? Such a stance would seem awfully biased.
And of course, should the 12 players selected by the Chiefs this year fuel the franchise for years to come, Carl Peterson will likely leave his football team in a much better state than he found it in 1989. The same can’t be said for many fly-by-night general managers and coaches in today’s NFL (Bobby Petrino).
So go ahead, give the King a little credit (he didn’t even draft anyone from UCLA this year). It won’t kill you.