Brian Dodd

Adding Leaders: Insights from the 2010 Kansas City Chiefs Draft May 10

 On Monday, April 26th in Peter King’s great column Monday Morning QB ( he noted that five of the seven Kansas City Chief 2010 draft picks were captains of the college teams. They were:

  1. Eric Berry of the Tennessee Volunteers who was also the best defensive player in the draft not named Suh.
  2. Dexter McCluster of the Ole Miss Rebels who can play multiple positions on the offensive side of the ball.
  3. Javier Arenas of the national champion Alabama Crimson Tide who was also the best return man in the draft.
  4. Jon Asamoah of Illinois who provides depth on the offensive line and an eventual starter.
  5. Tony Moeaki of the Iowa Hawkeyes.

In this Scott Pioli’s second draft, I like what the Chiefs did and the type of organization they are building. Because of their player acquisition strategy, I think you will see them in the playoffs in 2011. Why? Because when you add leaders to your team, you will receive the following benefits:

  • You will see an increase in skill. In athletics and life, people naturally follow people more gifted than themselves. As Chris Carter told us on draft day when evaluating Tim Tebow’s leadership, players don’t listen to you if you aren’t on the field. If you have been singled out by your teammates as a leader, they are also acknowledging your level of skill.
  • You will see an increase in work ethic. One of the costs of leadership is an investment of sweat equity. Not only do successful leaders work harder than others, they also are very strategic on how they leverage their time. Leaders are laser-focused and work on the right things while influencing others to do the same.
  • You will see an increase in passion. Leaders own the results. The five players drafted will help create a culture of winning in Kansas City. By raising the bar, leaders will help filter out players who merely want to collect a paycheck and one day draw a pension.
  • You will see an increase in talent. Because the skill, work ethic, and passion will increase with the Chiefs, other top players will want to be part of that. Talent attracts talent.
  • You will see an increase in wins in close games. In 2009, the Chiefs went 4-12 losing six of those games by seven points or less. By adding leaders, you will see over the next two years the Chiefs begin to win those close games. As John Maxwell ( tells us with The Law of the Edge, the difference between two evenly matched teams is leadership.

For my theory to prove true, QB Matt Cassell must fulfill his role as the primary field leader and perform at a higher level. I trust Scott Pioli and if he has confidence in Cassell, so do I. Look for the Chiefs to have 7 to 9 wins in 2010 and be in the playoffs in 2011 – assuming we have a season.

The Greatest Enemy of Future Success is Past Success May 01

 In the 2009 NFL Draft, the following are the top 5 USC selections:
Mark Sanchez – New York Jets, Round 1, No. 5 overall
Brian Cushing -Houston Texans, Round 1, No. 15 overall
Clay Matthews – Green Bay Packers, Round 1, No. 26 overall
Rey Maualuga – Cincinnati Bengals, Round 2, No. 38 overall
Fili Moala – Indianapolis Colts, Round 2, No. 56 overall

In the 2010 NFL Draft, the following are the top 5 USC selections:
Taylor Mays – San Francisco 49ers, Round 2, No. 49 overall
Charles Brown – New Orleans Saints, 2nd round, No. 64 overall
Damian Williams – Tennessee Titans, 3rd round, No. 77 overall
Kevin Thomas – Indianapolis Colts, 3rd round, No. 94 overall
Everson Griffen – Minnesota Vikings, 4th round, No. 100 overall

One huge question jumps at you – What happened? These were equally heralded recruits developed in a similar culture of success by the same head coach and many of the same positional coaches. In addition, they had the advantage of learning under that amazing 2009 draft class.

The answer – The Greatest Enemy to Future Success is Past Success.

Here’s why:

  1. The Gift of Struggle – Have you ever noticed how few successful people have equally successful children? Now some do but most don’t. The sacrifices made by the previous generation do not have to be made but the current one. It is a biblical principle that struggle is neccesary for strength.
  2. Entitlement – Because struggle does not have to take place on the same level, a sense of entitlement is embedded into their DNA. I’m sure many of the players listed, whose talent and measureables are much better than those drafted before them, assumed “We’re USC” and “I’m a 5-star recruit” would be enough. It wasn’t.
  3. Competition – When the bar of excellence is established, as it was from Carson Palmer to Mark Sanchez, others will catch up. The 1992 USA men’s basketball team won each game and the Gold Medal by an average of 44 points per game. The 2004 USA team won the Bronze.
  4. Leadership Transitions – Assistant Coaches have earned the right to have additional responsibility. Norm Chow, Lane Kiffin, Steve Sarkisian, and Nick Holt have all moved on. Those closest to leader determine that leader’s success. It is easier to re-load the players than it is the coaches.

As I write this post, I am already looking ahead to next year’s NFL Draft and wondering where many of the players from the Florida Gators will be landing. See Main Draft Page For Additional Thoughts


4 Responses to “Brian Dodd”

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