I’ve stated on Arrowhead Addict before that I believe the best course of action for the Chiefs to take when the draft comes around is to select offensive tackle Luke Joeckel and trade back into the first round for a quarterback. With Joeckel, you replace Brandon Albert with a guy that won’t command such a hefty salary and is also seemingly the best player available. As far as trading back into the first round, it allows the Chiefs to select a quarterback without passing on the best player available.
Do I want the Chiefs to draft a quarterback? Absolutely. But the thought of the Chiefs drafting a quarterback first overall and the quarterback being a bust scares me to death. Getting a quarterback in the second round does not, but I just don’t know what quarterbacks are going to be left at the 34th pick, and lest we forget the Jaguars pick before us in the second, and I could see them taking a guy that Chiefs fans are salivating for on the second day of the draft.
Would there be anything wrong with waiting for the 34th pick to take a QB? Conceptually no. Taking a second round quarterback doesn’t include quite the commitment that a first round quarterback would require. Don’t believe me? Ask Jimmy Clausen (but the guy does have his own website). And over the last couple of seasons, several good quarterbacks have come out in the second round: Andy Dalton (#35 in 2011) and Colin Kaepernick (#36 in 2011) mark some examples. But what must be stated is that both those picks came in what was a large, if not particularly exciting draft class. And for every Dalton or Kaepernick, there are Clausens and Brian Brohms. It doesn’t help that this year’s quarterback class is slim pickings, so waiting for the pick might not be the best option to solve the quarterback situation in Kansas City.
Trading back into the first round would be an aggressive move by the Chiefs, but it would also allow for the team to judge how the draft is shaking out, and if there is a sudden run on quarterbacks, the Chiefs could give up a couple of picks and get one of the guys they want before they are left with Tyler Bray or Mike Glennon.
What would the Chiefs have to give up? Well that obviously depends on how far they want to jump. Let’s take a look at some examples:
Two teams that drafted in the top seven picks traded back into the first round last year: Tampa Bay and Minnesota. Minnesota, who held the 4th overall pick, drafted Matt Kalil with the selection and then traded their 2nd (35th overall) and 4th (98th overall) to jump up and take Harrison Smith with the 29th overall pick. Tampa Bay, who took Mark Barron seventh overall, traded their 2nd (36th overall) and 4th (101st overall) to Denver for its 31st pick and its 120th pick. The Bucs selected Doug Martin with the selection. Even New England got in on the action, trading the 27th and 93rd picks to jump to 21 where they grabbed Chandler Jones. Examples can go on and on, but it seems like these are good precedents to go by, especially for teams that pick early in each round.
These are all recent examples, and the new CBA makes trading up and down the draft board more flexible, but what you have to like the most is the ability for teams to draft multiple guys in the first round if the price is right. The Chiefs hold one of the top two draft picks in all the rounds, so maneuverability is an advantage. If the Chiefs wanted to move a 2nd and 4th to jump up and take a quarterback in the late first round, I would not have a problem with that and would even prefer it. If the Chiefs were planning on using the 2nd round pick on a QB anyway, then why not just pull the trigger early and throw a 4th in and don’t think twice.
The last time the Chiefs traded back into the first round was in 2008 when Carl Peterson took Glenn Dorsey with the 5th overall pick and then traded an additional first round pick – 17th overall – as well as a third and a fifth round pick to jump two slots to fifteenth overall where he selected Branden Albert. While this seems like a lot, remember the Chiefs had a ton of ammunition as far as draft picks go after trading future Hall of Famer Jared Allen to the Vikings. While Dorsey never quite lived up to expectations, Albert has exceeded his and might hit the open market just because of how well he has performed during his time as a Chief and how expensive he has made himself become.
Sure, not all trades back into the first round work out. The Browns gave up a future first round selection and a second round pick to take Brady Quinn number 22 overall. Obviously, in hindsight, that was the wrong move; but it still isn’t as bad as if they had taken him number three overall that year. I feel like teams with top five draft picks need to take the best player available while teams with picks in the second half of the draft can take some more risks on players that have question marks, or players that they see a lot in and don’t want to risk them going before they pick again in the second round (the Chiefs taking Jon Baldwin in 2011 at #26 is a good example of that). According to most analysts, a quarterback in the first round would be a risky move, but the risk is lessened when you trade back in. While you lose a couple of draft picks, you also take the draft into your own hands instead of waiting for it to come to you.
While I am by no means a General Manager, and have yet to lead my fantasy football team to the promised land, I believe I speak with logic and purpose when it comes to trading into the first round. Obviously, it depends on how the draft’s shaping up, but if it looks like the team needs to make a move to get a quarterback they favor, I am all about being aggressive.