Chiefs, QB Trends, Kiper & McShay

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The Kansas City Chiefs have never  had he first pick in the draft before. So, this is not only unfamiliar territory but there’s a bit of the “chicken-with-his-head-cut-off” atmosphere circling the Arrowhead teepees. Chief among the headless chickens has been Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay of ESPN.

Recently Kiper stated that the best QBs in the 2013 draft, “are not good enough to take with the first pick and so the Chiefs would be best served by trading back in the draft.”

However, look at the teams picking 2-10 and ask yourself.. .is a there a high likelihood that any of these teams will jump at a chance to draft the best QB in this draft? I have to say yes… to almost every single team.

Here they are:

2. Jaguars (Gabbert), 3. Raiders (Palmer, 33 yrs. old), 4. Eagles (Vick — 33 this year & a one yr. contract), 5. Lions (Stafford), 6. Browns (Weeden- 30 yr. old sophomore), 7. Cardinals (rivals Chiefs QB Apocalypse), 8. Bills (Fitzpatrick? Fitz-putrid!), 9. Jets (Sanchez = Epic Flail), 10. Titans (Locker or old man Hasselbeck, he’s 38 this year… this is no choice at all & Munchak knows it).

Obviously, Matt Stafford of the Lions is the exception. It’s curious though… that every other team drafting past the tenth pick.. doesn’t need a QB.

If almost every other team in the top ten needs a QB… then who are the Chiefs supposed to trade with?

If… the Chiefs trade back… and miss out on a top QB in this draft… what good is it to pick up extra picks in the draft to select players at other positions besides QB, even if those players turn out to be HOFers?

Todd McShay recently rated Geno Smith as a 90 on a scale of 1-100. The question is… is Geno Smith really so bad, compared to all the other top talents, and no way deserves to be considered a top ten pick?

Miami QB Ryan Tannehill was drafted 8th overall in the 2012 draft and so… is Smith worse than Tannehill? Tannehill, who played in the same exact system in his senior year of college, with a 134.2 QBR, as he did his rookie NFL season, with a 76.1 QBR? He supposed to be a better prospect than Geno Smith and his 153.5 QBR?

Tannehill was 42/21 TDs to INTs in his entire college tenure (2 seasons). Smith was 98/21… and 42/6 in his senior year… and Smith has four years experience.

So, the 8th pick in 2012 is a better prospect than Geno Smith?

Gill Brandt says there are no QBs he rates in the top 25.

That raises the question: how many years have there been no QBs taken in the top ten. Here’s the breakdown showing the  total number of QBs taken each year, for the  past 20 years.

In the years that no QB was chosen, the following QBs were taken later in the draft and considered misses by the teams not taking them early:

Jake Delhomme
Mark Bulger
Tom Brady

This may be the reason that teams began taking QBs early in the draft as evidenced by the 12 straight years in which a QB was taken with a top ten pick. This may also be the best indicator of exactly when the NFL passed into the modern age of passing.

Beyond that, it’s difficult to imagine that the following QBs, who were all taken with a top ten pick of the draft… would rate higher than Geno Smith does today.

Ryan Tannehill, Jake Locker, Mark Sanchez, JaMarcus Russell, Vince Young, Matt Leinart, Byron Leftwich, Joey Harrington, David Carr, Tim Couch, Aliki Smith, Ryan Leaf, Heath Shuler, Rick Mirer, and Trent Dilfer (may have made the Pro Bowl in 1997 but, his 55.5 career completion percentage is pedestrian at best and it wasn’t much better in college -59.1. His current analysis for ESPN is strong but, he wasn’t much of a player). Geno Smith’s career completion percentage is 67.4% (71.2 in 2012).

Call it the Luck & RGIII effect… or whatever you want to call it… but, it’s entirely possible that the standard with which the pundits are now using to gauge and rank QB prospects coming out of college is skewed to such an extreme degree that it can not be reached by Superman himself.

I’m always glad to hear Mel Kiper when this part of the football year rolls around… but, I don’t take him too seriously because I don’t recall many instances in which “Mel got that right.” Todd McShay seems to more accurately manage the player breakdown process but only by a small margin.

However, it’s obvious that neither McShay nor Kiper do enough background research to make accurate predictions about the Kansas City Chiefs. They do a good job of understanding star players and GM patterns and tendencies but, often don’t have a clue about what the whole team, or whole organization, is needing.

Using Kiper or McShay to predict top ten picks in the draft is like using a baby to predict stock market success.

Literally.

In an article from the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective written by Kevin Meers and Scott Sherman called, “Equally Inaccurate: An Analysis of Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay’s Draft Ranking” it’s pointed out that after following the statistical success of players in the league that they have ranked,

…you could take Kiper’s “Big Board” or McShay’s Top 25 and ask any random person to put them in any random order, and on average, that person’s rankings will be about as accurate as predicting future NFL success than any of ESPN’s two experts.”

After compiling data for several years on a draft picks progress in term of actually NFL career value (CAV) and then comparing that to the draft board of both Kiper and McShay… Meers and Sherman show they have been off by a dramatic number of draft spots (or ranking spots),

…the average errors… (show) that the gurus’ rankings are off by around 35 spots when compared to the player’s actual performance.  In other words, a player Kiper or McShay ranked as the 5th-best player in the draft is most likely to actually have been the 40th-best based on CAV (Career Approximate Value) to this point in their careers.

The Meers and Sherman report also focuses on who made the largest average error per prospect over a five year span: Kiper or McShay? The answer is they are eerily similar because their average error is 35 (spots) for Kiper and 35.1 spots for McShay. In other words, when a player matures and finds his real value and rank based on his actual play in the NFL, that players rank is on average is 35 (Kiper) or 35.1 (McShay) spots different than where they ranked them before the draft.

That kind of accuracy won’t inspire the confidence of the masses but, Kiper and McShay can be entertaining nevertheless.

What does that mean for the Chiefs and predicting who will be taken with the first pick in the draft? I predict, and with greater confidence than Kiper or McShay can claim, that Geno Smith will be taken in the top 34 picks in the draft. See what I did there.

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