<
>

'Second draft' of 2013 still providing benefits to Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs stood first in line for waiver claims to begin the 2013 season and brought in seven players that year who were discarded by their teams in the final round of roster cuts. Those seven players had one thing in common as they joined their new team in what the Chiefs now call their second draft of that year.

"The Chiefs obviously really needed all of us," said one of those players, defensive lineman Jaye Howard.

When general manager John Dorsey and coach Andy Reid joined the Chiefs in 2013, the Chiefs were strong at the top of their roster. They sent six players to the Pro Bowl after the 2012 season.

But the Chiefs were coming off a 2-14 season because they had little depth. The Chiefs wanted to improve the bottom of their roster and perhaps grab a few prospects they could develop.

That second draft worked out better than the Chiefs dared to hope. They claimed Howard and safety Ron Parker from the Seattle Seahawks. Both players have since been rewarded with lucrative new contracts from the Chiefs and will start for them on Sunday when the season begins against the San Diego Chargers.

A third member of that group, outside linebacker Dezman Moses, is a backup and special teams player for the Chiefs. He came from the Green Bay Packers.

Even some of those no longer with the Chiefs gave them some help for a brief time. Cornerback Marcus Cooper started some games for Kansas City before being traded to the Arizona Cardinals this summer for a conditional draft pick. Tight end Sean McGrath caught 26 passes in 2013 and will play against the Chiefs on Sunday as a member of the Chargers.

"After we got them and we got to see them practice, I remember thinking, ‘Hey, these are pretty good football players,' " defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. "For that many guys to come in and be involved that soon and then really make some major contributions to our team for an extended period has been really impressive."

Cooper and McGrath in particular played a lot that first season with the Chiefs, in 2013. But the Chiefs were content to be patient with the others, Howard and Parker in particular. Howard played in just three games that season and Parker played mostly on special teams.

Those two may have eventually become productive players for the Seahawks, but the Chiefs were the ones willing to wait for it to happen.

"They were the first team to really give me a shot," said Parker, who before joining the Chiefs was cut eight times, five by the Seahawks. "Any other team, I don't feel I ever got a fair chance. I never really got the chance to step on the field and play. When I got over here, Coach Reid and his staff believed in me. They threw me out there and wanted to see what I could do."

Parker and Howard each became starters in 2014, their second seasons with the Chiefs. Moses hasn't started for the Chiefs and in fact was released by them last September. But they eventually brought him back and he will play on Sunday on special teams.

He joined the Packers in 2012, their final year with Dorsey as their college scouting director before he joined the Chiefs.

"We had a relationship when I was in Green Bay," Moses said. "He's a personable guy. He would come into the locker room, speak to everyone. He'd give it to me straight. There were times he'd tell me I needed to pick it up and there were times he'd tell me I was playing well. You get that type of honesty in this business, it goes a long way.

"I was thankfully I had somebody here who would believe in me. That helped the transition for sure."

Parker and Howard didn't have a previous relationship with Dorsey, or anyone else in Kansas City. They made it the difficult way, after being discarded by their previous team.

The Chiefs are better off that they did.

"I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world," Parker said. "If I had to do it over, I'd take exactly the same route. It made me a better person, a better man, a better football player the way I came up.

"It made me appreciate what I have now a lot more. I think I love what I do even more."