As crazy as it might sound and believe me it does sound crazy, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that the Kansas City Chiefs could take a QB in the first round of the NFL Draft.
I know it is very, very improbable but hear me out.
What got me thinking about this was a post today from Pro Football Talk. In the post, PFF siting a source, claims that Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick has received an invitation to attend the NFL Draft. This is an honor usually reserved for potential first round picks. PFF goes on to say that the source also claims that one AFC West team has Kaepernick listed as the #1 QB on their draft board.
An explanation and a conspiracy theory after the jump.
Don’t worry Addicts, I haven’t lost my mind. There are a few things we have to consider when we pose the question I ask in the headline of this post. Matt Cassel is coming off a Pro Bowl season and it is highly unlikely that the Chiefs are going to try to replace him after the way he played last season.
Also, the PFF report that Kaepernick is the #1 QB on an AFC West draft board isn’t even necessarily true and even if it is, it doesn’t mean that the team is the Chiefs. Even if it is the Chiefs, being the top QB on the board doesn’t mean Kaepernick is the #1 player on the board.
We know that there is a good chance the Chiefs are going to take a QB in this draft if the right guy falls to them at the right time. They have worked out a number of QB’s and chances are they are shopping for a capable backup to replace Brodie Croyle. That means they aren’t going to be wasting a first round pick on a backup QB. They probably won’t wast a second rounder on one either. In fact, I would be surprised, but not shocked, if the Chiefs took the Chiefs took a QB before the 4th round.
That being said, we can’t ignore the possibility, however slim, that the Chiefs could shock us and draft a QB early.
Trading for Matt Cassel was a gamble. He had played very well in New England but he still was vastly inexperience and unproven. Scott Pioli got great value for Cassel with a second round pick and the move was a no-brainer. Cassel has shown obvious improvement over the last two years and if he continues to develop he could very well lead the Chiefs to a Super Bowl.
But what if he doesn’t continue to develop?
Cassel was given a long term contract by the Chiefs but the contract was weighted so that most of the big bucks were paid to him int he first couple of years. While Cassel is still well paid, his contract is pretty friendly to the organization the rest of the way. If the Chiefs needed to get out of Cassel’s contract in the next couple of years it would not be a financial disaster.
Both Scott Pioli and Todd Haley have mentioned in interviews recently that they still consider Cassel in the early stages of his development. They’ve mentioned that although Cassel has been int he NFL for a while, he never started in college. He then had one season in New England before coming to KC to learn a new system and work with a new coach. Thus far the results have been pretty good but they admit that he has to continue to get better.
Scott Pioli is smart. Looking around the league it is pretty obvious that the teams that have done a good job stocking the QB position are the ones that succeed. The teams that don’t often find themselves in a world of trouble.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were able to weather the storm without Ben Roethlisberger because of some solid backup QB play. The Green Bay Packers just won the Super Bowl because they didn’t wait until Brett Favre retired to draft Aaron Rodgers. The Philadelphia Eagles have a very bright future because they had Mike Vick and Kevin Kolb all while they still had Donovan McNabb. Now Vick is back and playing at a high level and the Eagles will likely be able to trade Kolb for pretty good value.
On the other side of the coin, the NFL landscape is littered with teams who failed to find solid depth at the QB position. The Miami Dolphins and in particular, the Arizona Cardinals are excellent examples. They bet on the wrong guys and now their organizations are stuck in limbo. The Cleveland Browns have been throwing QB’s at a wall for ten years hoping one of them would stick. Who is going to be the QB of the Vikings? They have a very talented roster and no QB.
With the KC QB depth chart as it stands right now, the Chiefs are in bad shape. If Matt Cassel gets injured, the Chiefs’ season is over. If he starts playing terribly, the Chiefs’ season is over. If they go in on Cassel and he doesn’t pan out they could be stuck with a talented team and no QB. They might then have to waste years developing a rookie or sifting through the NFL QB scrap heap.
The Chiefs have a lot of holes to fill but the smartest thing they could do is get themselves not just a backup QB, but a guy they absolutely believe could be a potential NFL starter. I’m not saying they should draft Kaepernick at #21 and throw him out there as the starter. What I am saying is that it might be smart to take a talented QB early and start grooming him behind Matt Cassel.
It would be a win-win move for the Chiefs. If Cassel continues to develop and starts leading the Chiefs to playoff victories then KC has a solid backup QB in case of disaster. If something happens to Cassel then the team has a very solid insurance policy. There might be a time when Cassel gets injured for a spell and this guy come sin and plays well and bolsters his NFL stock. At that point the Chiefs might be able to flip him to acquire draft picks or player pieces that could put them over the hump.
If Cassel doesn’t pan out then at least the Chiefs have a viable option ready to go. Cassel is getting at least next year as the starter. There is no question about that. In fact, unless he is an absolute disaster next year or has a career ending injury, he will probably start the 2012 season as the starter as well. By 2012 the Chiefs should be ready to make a Super Bowl run. Their youth will be grown up and they will have a solid group of talented veterans in their prime. If Cassel flames out or gets hurt and the Chiefs don’t have a plan they could miss their shot at a SB Championship.
If Scott Pioli really does have Kaepernick as his #1 QB, he could very well take him early. Will he do it in the first round? Maybe not. But what if he slips to the Chiefs in Round 2? What about Round 3?
It depends on how good Pioli thinks the QB’s in this draft are and when each QB falls to him. There is a chance that the Chiefs really want to take a QB but won’t because the right guy will never fall to them at the right time. Pioli has said he drafts with a combination of need and best player available. It could workout that the right situation just doesn’t come along and the team doesn’t take a QB at all.
But what if Pioli and his scouts are really, really impressed with Kaepernick? What if they have serious doubts about Cassel? What if they are still spooked by the whole appendectomy disaster? What if they are worried that Cassel can’t hold up against top defenses?
What I am getting at is that if the right combination of circumstances present themselves to the Chiefs at #21, it isn’t toally crazy to think that they might not seize the day. What if they have a guy like Kaepernick ranked really, really high. What if they can’t trade back and they only have only have say, 20 guys with a first round grade and 19 of them are gone when their number gets called? Should they reach way back to get a WR they feel might be available when they pick in Round 2 just because they have Matt Cassel? Or should they grab the QB if they really believe in him?
I know this is way out there. I know that there is a 99.9999% chance the Chiefs will take any position but a QB in the first round. But I am interested to know what you guys think? Could it happen? Is there anyone worth it?
Should make for a fun weekend discussion. Sound off.