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Saturday, April 20, 2002
Chiefs trade up for defensive tackle
Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- With a 150-pound assistant equipment manager running interference in New York, the Kansas City Chiefs got their 300-pound defensive tackle.

Making a last-second trade with Dallas to move up two spots from eighth to sixth, the Chiefs got North Carolina defensive tackle Ryan Sims Saturday -- the man they coveted since his dominating performance in the Senior Bowl.

"He's a complete player," coach Dick Vermeil said. "Within time, he will be an impact player at that inside position."

For a few confused seconds, however, it looked like the Minnesota Vikings might slip in and get the 6-foot-4, 311-pound tackle.

Dallas was on the 15-minute clock, ready to exercise the sixth selection in the first round, as Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson hammered out details of a trade.

With 90 seconds left, they finally agreed that in return for swapping first-round spots, the Chiefs would give the Cowboys their third-round pick this year and their sixth-rounder in 2003.

But before they could get word of the trade to NFL official Joe Bussert, the clock read 0:00 and the Vikings, picking seventh, were approaching the podium with Sims' name written on their card.

Peterson said assistant equipment manager Allen Wright was standing at the podium with Sims' name written on his card and would not get out of the way. The Chiefs later corrected themselves to say it was assistant equipment manager Chris Shropshire, not Wright.

"It's still Dallas' pick. But then frankly, I looked at the TV also and they were down to zero-zero and (the trade) still hadn't been confirmed," Peterson said. "It said Minnesota was standing behind them. But they didn't allow them to make their pick.

"As soon as Joe said there's been a trade, then we could give the card and make the announcement.

"Allen Wright did a great job in New York. He wouldn't let the Vikings behind him get in front of him."

The Chiefs, who ranked 27th in the NFL last year in run defense, paid a steep price for Sims, a third-round pick in an unusually deep draft class.

"We know him real well," Vermeil said. "I don't think there's any flaws. What he needs is experience and a lot of hard work. He's got the strong lower body, the power, the explosiveness to get around a guy quickly. He gets to the quarterback in a bad mood."

As the clock ran down on Dallas' pick, Sims' heart was racing just as fast as everyone's in Arrowhead Stadium.

"My agent tapped me on the side with about a minute left for Dallas to pick and told me that Kansas City was about to move up," he said. "I thought they were a top 10 team and why would they trade up two spots. I was like, `Oh, my goodness, I am going to be a Kansas City Chief."'

For inside information on Sims, the Chiefs leaned heavily on North Carolina coach John Bunting, a former Kansas City assistant.

"I was thinking about being a Chief for awhile since coach Bunting put a lot of good things in my head about how great a coach Vermeil was," Sims said. "He is a great coach and I am sure I'll have a wonderful experience."

Although sometimes overshadowed by North Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers, the second player taken overall, Sims made a name for himself as the season wore on. Then he exploded into prominence in the Senior Bowl.

"At first I really did not want to play in it because I figured I had already shown everybody what I needed to show them in the Peach Bowl," he said.

But then he was told that none of the other three defensive tackles who were also being rated as first-round material would be at the Senior Bowl.

"I was thinking if they are not going, they must have something to hide," Sims said. "I did not want teams to think that I had something to hide. I wanted to show the teams and prove to myself that I could compete against the top competition."