Kansas City Chiefs Traded Down Masterfully, But Then Spent Pick on Domestic Abuser Tyreek Hill

Kansas City Chiefs Traded Down Masterfully, But Then Spent Pick on Domestic Abuser Tyreek Hill

NFL

Kansas City Chiefs Traded Down Masterfully, But Then Spent Pick on Domestic Abuser Tyreek Hill

The Kansas City Chiefs, who lost a third round pick in the Jeremy Maclin tampering decision, did a pretty good job for most of the draft. They had a late first round pick, and traded out of that when there were a large group of quality defensive options still available. They moved to 37th, got some extra picks, and still got Chris Jones (who you might remember for a wardrobe malfunction).

Later, they also traded down when Tampa Bay inexplicably traded multiple picks for a kicker (which I think is the type of move that was part of the original “Bad Idea Jeans” commercial on SNL).

All told, they turned picks 28, 59, and their last pick of the draft at 249 (barely better than an underrated FA signing) into picks 37 and 74, plus 105, 106, and 178. They also had previously traded Kelcie McCray to Seattle for pick 162 last year when Kam Chancellor was holding out.

Yet, it’s pick 165 that had everyone talking. Most pick number 165s don’t create a furor. The best #165 since the merger in 1970 has been Steelers tackle Tunch Ilkin, who is the only one to make a pro bowl and start more than 50 games in the NFL taken at that position. Kicker Matt Bahr is probably the second most famous pick number 165. It’s very much a lottery ticket by that point in the draft, and most are special teams contributors.

The Chiefs took Tyreek Hill, out of Division II West Alabama. Hill was at West Alabama last year after being kicked off the Oklahoma State football team, following being arrested (and ultimately pleading and being put on probation) for domestic violence charges, after punching his 8-weeks pregnant girlfriend in the stomach and choking her. At the time, he blamed his arrest on being black, with a white girlfriend.

In the aftermath of the pick, GM John Dorsey was already trying to get in front of the reaction, saying that the team had fully vetted the picks, and also adding, “I know that I would never put this community in any type of situation where it would not be good and we’ve done that,” Dorsey said. “I would like to ask for you guys to just have a little bit of trust in us in this thing.”

Sam Mellinger wrote about the decision to make Hill a member of the team through the draft:

The Chiefs are betting that Hill is worth it based on a few assumptions. First, that Hill will not so much as get a speeding ticket in Kansas City, and it might help if he met with domestic violence groups here.

But more than that, the Chiefs are betting that the positive value of Hill’s football talent will outweigh the negative value of the anger the team heard from fans almost immediately after the pick was made.

Hill can help if he turns out to be Devin Hester, but the Chiefs are also betting that the initial anger won’t last more than one local news cycle, and certainly not the four months between now and the 2016 season.

Here’s hoping they’re proven wrong.

Some sins should never be forgotten.

Here are my brief thoughts. First, domestic violence is under-reported, under-prosecuted, and under-punished relative to the severity of some of these issues. It is disheartening to consider the circumstances under which Hill reportedly acted, and the punishment being probation.
This is not just a NFL issue, and the NFL certainly isn’t going to solve it. It’s a societal issue. We shouldn’t look to the NFL to be leaders on this issue, or any other moral issue. Decision-makers are motivated by other factors beyond good citizenship.
Further, we do believe in second chances. I’m not sure we want to be at a point where everyone who commits a crime is barred from ever working again.
That said, this pick seems tone-deaf. Hill may get his second chance, and a slim opportunity. Did it have to be by the team calling his name, putting his name out there, trotting him out as part of a draft class? Whether Dorsey and Reid and company like it or not, this is different than later signing a player on a “second chance” as an undrafted free agent. It is different than giving a player a chance years after serving jail time. It can operate as an endorsement and statement of values.
Fifth round picks don’t work out too often. Some contribute. Some will round out rosters, a handful become starters. The Minnesota Vikings selected Moritz Bohringer, a German player who was the first selected from Europe without playing college football in this country, in the fifth round. The Baltimore Ravens selected Keenan Reynolds, the versatile athlete who played quarterback for Navy. The Chiefs selected a guy on probation for punching a pregnant girlfriend. We may never hear from any of them again, but we’ve heard too much about it now, and deservedly so.

 

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