How to wrap our minds around John Dorsey’s impact on the Browns and Chiefs – Terry Pluto – cleveland.com
CLEVELAND, Ohio – In back-to-back years, this man drafted Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield.
That alone would say a lot about John Dorsey. He has that distinction of selecting the two QBs who will face off in Sunday’s playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cleveland Browns.
And Dorsey will probably be watching from his home, as he has been fired by both teams.
Dorsey was the general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017 when they traded up to take Mahomes with the No. 10 pick. Some in Kansas City will say the choice was driven by assistant GM Brett Veach, the man who now has Dorsey’s old job with the Chiefs.
Head coach Andy Reid also pushed hard for Mahomes.
Nonetheless, Dorsey was the GM. He did engineer the trade. And he also was wise enough to take the opinions of others into consideration.
Dorsey once told me how he became enamored with Mahomes. The Texas Tech QB looked intriguing on video because of his strong arm and remarkable athleticism.
But Dorsey was sold when he watched Mahomes on the white board with Reid and other KC coaches. They kept throwing plays and questions at Mahomes, who quickly digested the material and could explain the X’s and O’s. Quarterbacks have to be smart and able to digest information fast.
That also was something that appealed to Dorsey about Mayfield.
MAKING BIG MOVES
The following year, Mayfield was the surprise No. 1 pick in the draft by the Browns. Dorsey fell in football love with Mayfield before being hired to run the Browns.
While many thought the Browns would pick Sam Darnold or Josh Allen, Dorsey called the name of Mayfield.
He also surprised draft experts with the selection of Denzel Ward with the No. 4 overall pick in 2018. Ward has been a Pro Bowl cornerback while Mayfield has led the Browns to their first playoff appearance since the end of the 2002 season.
Here are a few facts, some of which I received from an NFL source:
1. In the last 10 years, 11 of 54 draft picks by Dorsey have become Pro Bowlers. That’s 20%.
2. Next is Dallas (16%). The NFL average is 10% of draft picks making a Pro Bowl since 2010.
3. With the Browns, Dorsey had 16 picks in 2018-19. Nick Chubb and Ward have been Pro Bowlers. Mayfield, Mack Wilson and Austin Corbett (with the Rams) have developed into starters.
4. In his five drafts with Kansas City (2013-17), nine players have gone to the Pro Bowl.
5. When with Kansas City, he took Kareem Hunt in the third round. After Hunt was released by the Chiefs following off-field problems, Dorsey signed the running back to a contract with the Browns in 2019.
In fact, the announcement came soon after Reid received a contract extension. One reason for the dismissal was some salary cap issues in Kansas City. Other whispers were Reid and Dorsey were having some disagreements.
Veach was promoted to take Dorsey’s place.
Dorsey was hired by the Browns on December 7, 2017, to replace Sashi Brown. Thanks to Brown, he inherited a treasure chest of draft picks and salary cap room. I wrote about Brown’s influence last week.
The media and many fans tend to dwell on Dorsey’s big deal with the Giants for Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon. But his best trade was adding Pro Bowl receiver Jarvis Landry from Miami for fourth- and seventh-round picks in 2018.
One of the knocks on Dorsey was his willingness to take chances on players with character issues. In Kansas City, he had a strong coach in Reid to help sort out the players and keep order.
Several factors led to Dorsey being dismissed by the Browns after the 2019 season. He was not a fan of the analytics department headed by Browns Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta, So there was an internal split.
But the biggest mistake was hiring Freddie Kitchens as head coach over Kevin Stefanski, who was favored by DePodesta. Kitchens was overwhelmed by the job as the Browns finished 6-10 last season.
Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam became discouraged by the conflicts within the front office. They fired Dorsey and Kitchens, allowing DePodesta to head the search for a new GM and coach.
That led to Andrew Berry (who’d worked under Sashi Brown and a year under Dorsey) to return as GM in 2020. And this time, the Browns did hire Stefanski.
Would the pairing of Dorsey and Stefanski have worked? We’ll never know. But the Kitchens disaster finished Dorsey with the Browns.
AN EYE FOR TALENT
Dorsey needs someone over him to say, “We are not drafting Antonio Callaway after he was suspended and missed all of his final season at Florida.”
Greg Robinson was another troubled soul who was signed by Dorsey and flamed out.
I still think the Beckham trade was an over-reach. Dorsey loves to collect talent and let the coach sort it out, sometimes that is a challenge.
But the rosters of the Browns and Chiefs have both been enhanced by the Dorsey touch.
A small move was trading for Buffalo’s Wyatt Teller for a fifth- and a sixth-round pick in 2020. It was a steal, Teller emerging as an exceptional guard.