Day 2 Q&A
Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt
April 26, 2013
Q: What is it about this year’s draft and John Dorsey and Andy Reid that impressed you?
HUNT: “Well I just think they were thorough. John is somebody who has been around the National Football League, literally his entire professional life and the last 20-plus years involved with the Green Bay Packers, for most of that on the scouting side, on the college draft. And he brought a knowledge and a calmness to the process. And I spoke to him frequently throughout the process. He had his guys in there churning. Every time I spoke to Andy, he said yeah John’s in there, can’t get him out of the war room watching tape. They did their evaluation and when it came time to make the pick, there was a lot of confidence in the decision. There wasn’t any second guessing, he and Andy were on the same page, which is something that was very important to me and they’re both very excited to have Eric as part of the Kansas City Chiefs.”
Q: How common is that to have that much confidence in whoever you guys pick with your first pick?
HUNT: “Well I think that the drafts that I’ve been involved in the last half dozen years, there has been a fair amount of confidence, but with John it just felt different. I don’t know how to describe it other than that. There was obviously the back and forth between Luke (Joeckel) and Eric as to which one of the two tackles was the better. That was sort of a common discussion around the National Football League and at the end of the day, John was confident that Eric was our guy. And that’s not to slight Luke at all because they think he is a very fine player as well. But Eric was the right guy for the Chiefs; they think he has a tremendous upside. They think he can come in and help us right away.
Q: What have you learned about Eric here in the last 24 hours?
HUNT: “So I had a chance to talk to him last night on the phone. Obviously he was very excited. I think we all saw that on the TV last night, watching the draft. And then I had a chance to meet him about an hour and a half ago and then saw him over lunch and he’s a very, very well-spoken young man – something I didn’t know about him. He’s so excited to be part of the Kansas City Chiefs. Seems like to me that he’s going to be a great fit for the city and he’s also a team guy. I think he’s the kind of guy his teammates will embrace. His perspective from day one is going to be how can I help the Kansas City Chiefs to win?”
Q: What did you guys talk about?
HUNT: “Oh we talked about his family. I had a chance to meet his mother, his grandmother, his dad. We talked a little bit about barbeque and we talked a little bit about hunting and fishing, which that’s a hobby of his. He mentioned what he said up there on the stand, which is driving in, he said, boy, this feels like the right place for me.”
Q: Impressions of the draft with all of the lineman that went?
HUNT: “Well I think it was a little bit of an unusual draft in that regard. Watching the three tackles come off the board in the first four picks, I think people felt they would go high, but nobody was predicting that. And then overall it was a draft that was dominated by offensive and defensive lineman, which I had heard that was really the strength of the first round. And there would be a lot of players taken. I think it shows that a lot of teams know that you’ve got to win in the trenches on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball and we certainly feel that way.”
Q: You talked about both John and Andy being on the same page, from your observations, how have they mixed leading up to the Draft?
HUNT: “Well I think it’s been fantastic. What you could see is that the two had a comfort level with each other that goes back many decades from having worked together. So it wasn’t a situation where they had to get to know each other, where they had to develop trust in each other. They already had that and you can see that in the way that they prod each other, they joke with each other. They’re very, very comfortable with each other. They think very much alike. When it comes to personnel decisions, Andy is happy to defer to John on those because he knows that’s John’s expertise and he knows John is going to put in the work on it. Andy of course has a sharp eye for talent as well and he was very excited about Eric. And so the fact that two of them are on the same page is exactly what we wanted at the Kansas City Chiefs.”
Q: You don’t want to be in this position all the time where you are picking first, but now that it’s over, was it different having the overall number one, kind of having that pick over everybody?
HUNT: “It was a very different experience, both last night and over the last three-and-a-half months. And of course it’s been 50 years since we have been in this position. I will mention the last guy we took number one overall turned out pretty good (DT Buck Buchanan) – went on to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So we’ve got our fingers crossed on Eric. But the thing that was different about it over the last several months was the focus on the Kansas City Chiefs. And the NFL helped us a little bit with the promo they ran at the Super Bowl with Leon Sandcastle going to the Chiefs; we’ve all had a lot of fun with that. But everywhere I’ve been the last couple months, people wanted to ask me about the draft, more so than a typical year because we had that first pick. And people really knew there wasn’t a quarterback sitting there, but they were interested in the Draft and the Chiefs because they knew we had that first pick. And then last night, what an exciting night. Starting with the party on the practice field that we had. We had 3,000 fans in there, I’ve never seen an environment energized like that was last night. There was so much excitement. And then the draft came and within 10 minutes it was over for us. And then it was a very different experience for the next three-and-a-half hours we sat around and watched the board come off. I will say that I think John did a fantastic job, not only evaluating Eric, but evaluating the top end of the draft, just watching the way the board came off last night. But it was a little bit of a downer. We had our moment in the sunshine there with the first pick and then it was a little bit slow after that. Tonight we’ll get to pick a couple more players and tomorrow as well and it will be exciting as well. And I should mention there is always so much focus on the first round pick, but the important thing about the draft is that you find some guys down the way that can help you, if not this year, certainly down the road and that will be a focus of ours tonight.”
Q: Clark, at any point during the draft process this year did you curse your luck and say to yourself ‘we waited 50 years to have the number one pick and this is the year we have the number one pick?’ Is there any of that at any time?
HUNT: “You know at the end of the season, I certainly had those thoughts. I was like, ‘why could this not have been last year when there were the quarterbacks sitting there, we had a need at the quarterback position.’ When we were able to pull off the trade on Alex Smith, really, for me, that issue went away. We ended up getting a first overall quarterback, he just happened to of been taken [eight] years ago and we were able to trade for him with a second round pick this year. And then with what we did in free agency, we were able to address a lot of our needs and put ourselves in a position where we could take the best available player. We didn’t have to draft somebody to come fill a hole here or there. We were able to take the guy John Dorsey felt would be the best for the Kansas City Chiefs over the long run. So actually it turned from being a little bit of a negative to very much of a positive because we were going to be able to get a player that would help us, not only this year, but down the road.”