Nuts and bolts
Chiefs add at least two prospective players
Posted: Sunday April 18, 1999 08:08 PM
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- It was one of the most exciting and glamour-filled draft parties in years, and Kansas City was merely a wallflower.
While other teams were dancing off with high-profile quarterbacks and wheeling and dealing for Heisman-winning running backs, the Chiefs quietly collected an offensive tackle from Brigham Young with their first-round pick.
In the second round, they traded not up, but down, dropping 11 spots before taking a running back who counts among his claims to fame the distinction of once being prep player of the year in that famous football hotbed of Rhode Island.
Then, with the first of their only two choices in the final four rounds on Sunday, they took Larry Parker, a wide receiver who worked in a rotation at Southern California. In the seventh and final round, they took Eric King of Richmond, who played quarterback as a freshman, tight end as a sophomore and fullback as a junior before winding up his senior season as a guard and long snapper.
But exciting is not always good. With tackle John Tait and running back Mike Boston in the first two picks, the Chiefs appear to have filled two of their biggest needs. Both are older and brighter than most rookies and both could provide immediate help when Gunther Cunningham rolls out his first team as a head coach next season.
"We apologize that our first pick is not a glamour position. But we know this is an important position and we're pleased with the selection," said president and general Carl Peterson.
The Chiefs' two third-round choices also offer promise, linebacker Gary Stills of West Virginia and safety Larry Atkins of UCLA.
"I'd like to think of our six picks, four are going to help us in the very, very near future. It would be great if all six did also," said Peterson. "There's always that aspect that we all know -- it's humans judging humans and we're not all perfect."
Two needs the Chiefs did not fill, a cornerback to replace Dale Carter and a somebody to back up cornerback Elvis Grbac, now become major priorities in the free agent market. The Chiefs have worked out 42-year-old Warren Moon and could sign him as early as this week to be No. 2 behind Elvis Grbac, who has missed significant time because of injuries the past two years.
"We'd hoped to get at least one corner out of this draft," Peterson said. "It just didn't fall that way. That is a position we'll look back once again at free agency and possible trades."
Altogether, the Chiefs took four offensive and two defensive players. Tait, a 24-year-old, 311-pounder and the speedy and versatile Cloud seem particularly exciting.
But Cunningham, who moved up from defensive coordinator when Marty Schottenheimer retired last January, said cornerback may not be the crying need many fans think it is. The Chiefs have already signed veteran Carlton Grey.
"We've still got Carlton Grey. The heat's on the rush element, and we'll take care of that," he said. "I saw Carlton Grey for what I like. I told somebody, 'You guys better start ducking. I'm putting my coaching gear on Monday. I'm looking forward to that. I want to go on now. I want to coach a football team."
Stills will be tried at stack linebacker. The other third-round pick, UCLA safety Larry Atkins, 6-2, 230, is coming into one of the most secure position groups on the team, where two-year starters Jerome Woods and Reggie Tongue appear to be coming into stardom.
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