Chiefs top draft choices display their enthusiasm
By KENT BABB
The Kansas City Star
The Chiefs’ first-round draft picks stood Monday at Arrowhead Stadium and held up their new jerseys. Offensive lineman Branden Albert held up a No. 76 jersey. Defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey held up the No. 72, and that made him smile.When it was time to return the jersey to a team employee, Dorsey wasn’t ready to let go.
“Take care of it, man,” he said to the employee.
For the next nine months, everything about Dorsey and Albert will be handled with care. They are the face of the Chiefs’ youth movement, a shift away from some of the familiar faces of years past and a new philosophy — less emphasis on free agents and more emphasis on draft picks — the Chiefs hope will dull the pain of last year’s 4-12 record.
The signs hung around Arrowhead say the Chiefs are spending this offseason “Laying the foundation.” Albert said Monday he thinks the team began by snagging a pair of linemen in the first round.
“We all know where it starts at; it starts in the trenches,” he said. “It starts in the offensive line and the defensive line.”
Dorsey and Albert possess enthusiasm, and they have attracted high expectations. The Chiefs traded up two spots to draft Albert with the No. 15 overall pick. Dorsey was selected No. 5 overall. He was rated by some draft experts as the best defensive player in the class — and maybe the best player overall. He admitted Monday that he was nervous before the draft that he would slip down the draft board.
Dorsey has a bad leg, or had one if you ask him about it. He said he has been healthy for months, even if he was the only person at the NFL scouting combine who trusted the right leg Dorsey fractured two seasons ago when he was at LSU.
“I knew I wasn’t hurt,” he said, “but it seemed like everybody else didn’t know I wasn’t hurt.”
It was enough that four teams backed off Dorsey, and there he was Monday landing in Kansas City, climbing into a limousine with Albert and stopping only for some barbecue on the way to Arrowhead.
Perhaps Dorsey wasn’t in town long enough Monday afternoon for him to hear about the Chiefs’ 2007 season. He said he didn’t know much about the team’s worst season in 30 years and the team’s plans that such a season won’t happen again.
But he had heard enough from coaches and executives during a predraft visit to Kansas City to learn last season yielded little worth talking about.
“I’m not really concerned about last year,” Dorsey said. “This is a new year. We’re bringing in new players. Coaches are fired up; they’re telling me I can make an immediate impact. I’m just looking forward to the future.”
Both players nodded Monday when asked whether they hope to sign with the Chiefs as soon as possible. Sure, they would — but then, so did Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe, last year’s first-round pick. He didn’t sign until last August, after he had missed 10 days of training camp.
Bowe said Monday that he spoke with Dorsey, Bowe’s former teammate at LSU, about what the next few months will be like.
Bowe called the time “stressful” Monday but said he told Dorsey that it was the job of his agent, Joel Segal, to shoulder the stress of Dorsey’s contract. Dorsey’s job, Bowe said, will be to smile as much as possible — like what he was doing Monday at Arrowhead.
Bowe said there is more to smile about these days. He said he sensed a renewed optimism around the stadium after the draft. He said the Chiefs’ newest faces are proof the team’s new philosophy is a good one.
“Everything is starting to come to one now,” Bowe said. “It’s all one family, and we’re all ready to get together and work. We’ve got everybody here now; now we’ve just got to put the pads on.”
If Dorsey had his way, he might still be holding that Chiefs jersey.
“I’m just ready to get to work,” he said, smiling again.