When the 2012 NFL season ended in a disappointing 2-14 record for the Kansas City Chiefs, the one silver lining was the fact they had earned the first overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. While the class of quarterbacks is significantly lower than recent years (read: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Cam Newton, etc.) the Chiefs were certain that no matter who was running the show at One Arrowhead Drive, they would draft a quarterback. When the new head coach was introduced as Andy Reid, fans rejoiced at the news, knowing Reid’s history and what he could do with young quarterbacks (read: Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick.) When Clark Hunt introduced his new general manager as John Dorsey of Green Bay Packer fame, fans practically began salivating at the thought of Geno Smith in a Chiefs jersey. After all, this was the guy who drafted Aaron Rodgers. Right?
With news of the Alex Smith trade with the San Francisco 49ers, along with a Dorsey press conference where he downplayed the caliber of college quarterbacks in this year’s draft, the hopes that the Smith starting under center this season would be wearing #12, and not #11 were dashed. At that point, everyone was pretty certain what the Chiefs would be doing in the draft. Add this to the fact that the duo had signed Drew Brees’ understudy, Chase Daniel, to hold Alex Smith’s clipboard this season, and the chance of the Chiefs drafting a QB in any round higher than four are pretty much nil. While some still hold onto hope that Dorsey and Reid will call Smith’s (Geno that is) number on April 25th, I think we can all call that a pipe-dream at this point.
The consensus from most draft experts on who will be picked number one has focused mainly on the exceptional crop of offensive linemen in this year’s class. Most experts are convinced the Chiefs will either draft Luke Joeckel from Texas A & M, Eric Fisher from Central Michigan or Lane Johnson from Oklahoma. This theory has gained even more steam after the Chiefs released Eric Winston. However, in a surprising move, the Chiefs leadership signed offensive tackle Geoff Schwartz from the Vikings at the end of the week. This may have been a depth move as Schwartz hasn’t been a full-time starter in the NFL as of yet, or perhaps the duo of Dorsey and Reid may see something in him that other teams haven’t and have him pegged as their “day one” starter at the right tackle position. With the young talent already on the offensive line in Kansas City, it would seem a waste to bring in another lineman, regardless of the talent level in the draft.
So as the free agency period has gone from shopping at Macy’s to shopping at K-Mart in the level of talent and value, the ultimate question remains. What do the Chiefs do with the coveted number one overall pick? While many think the Chiefs will draft the best player available, signs seem to be pointing more and more to the Chiefs trading out of the number one slot. Who should they trade with and what could that trade bring? Let’s take a look at some possibilities.
In examining possible trade scenarios one would have to think that unless the deal was overinflated and too good not to pass up, the Chiefs would probably not want to trade out of the top ten picks. Looking at the teams in the top ten, there are a few who have a significant need at quarterback. While it’s been said again and again Geno Smith isn’t worth the number one pick, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To a team without a starting caliber quarterback, it would seem that not picking up a signal caller is more risky than over-reaching and drafting one with the top pick. Of the teams in the top ten, four teams (Jacksonville, Oakland, Arizona and Buffalo) have a significant need at quarterback and a fifth team (Philadelphia) has expressed great interest in Geno Smith.
The Jacksonville Jaguars drafted signal caller Blaine Gabbert two years ago, in 2011, with the tenth overall pick in the draft. His performance has been less than inspiring. As such, they may be ready to scrap the Gabbert experiment and move on to another quarterback. As the Jaguars draft in the number two position, the only way they would trade to move up is if they were that desperate to dump Gabbert (which I’m not 100 percent sold on) and if they seriously thought the Chiefs might draft Smith away from them. The eventuality of both of these scenarios is slim, not making them a likely trade partner.
The next team with a quarterback need is the Oakland Raiders drafting in the third position. I will only say that if Reid and Dorsey trade with the Raiders and allow them to get Smith, their career in Kansas City will most likely end before it starts. The goal here should be to keep Smith away from Oakland as much as anything else.
The Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback woes have been about as well publicized as the Kansas City Chiefs’. Just like the Chiefs, they had more than one starter at quarterback last year. Just like the Chiefs, they just released one of those starters from last season, Kevin Kolb. And, just like the Chiefs, they used the off-season to bring in another quarterback. The free agent they signed is Drew Stanton, former back up to the rookie phenomenon Andrew Luck in Indianapolis. Whether or not Stanton is to be the future of the Arizona franchise remains to be seen. However, the team has indicated Stanton was brought in to start, especially considering the ties Stanton has with new Cardinals’ head coach, Bruce Arians whose previous job was offensive coordinator with the Colts. All in all, the Cardinals don’t seem willing to give up the farm to trade into the number one position.
There have been reports this last week, that the Philadelphia Eagles were not only present at the West Virginia pro-day, but put Geno Smith through a “grueling” workout. The Eagles, under new leadership of Chip Kelly, seem to be collecting quarterbacks. Previous starter, Michael Vick is still under contract as is second year man Nick Foles who was drafted by the Chiefs’ own Andy Reid during his tenure there. Additionally, the Eagles signed quarterback Dennis Dixson, a former Kelly protégé, indicating they are full at the QB position. All these factors point to the fact that their pro-day interest in Smith is nothing more than a bluff, as they likely won’t spend a high, first round pick on a quarterback.
A trade with the Buffalo Bills offers a mutually beneficial scenario. In case you aren’t glued to Twitter and the NFL Network like I’ve been the last week (much to my wife’s chagrin, by the way) you may not know that the Bills cut their starting quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The move leaves the Bills with Tarvaris Jackson as their starting quarterback. In a QB starved market the Bills will likely be looking to the draft to find their hope. The only problem is, currently they’re scheduled to draft eighth overall. This could create a problem for them in getting the best QB available, which I think at this point everyone universally agrees is Geno Smith, because Jacksonville, Oakland, Philadelphia and Arizona draft in front of them and all three could potentially have interest in and draft Geno Smith.
The Bills are desperate at this point and could potentially be the most likely trade partner with the Chiefs in order to snag their franchise QB. In doing this, the Chiefs could stand to gain a substantial amount of picks. If you use last year’s trade for the #2 overall pick between the St. Louis Rams and the Washington Redskins as a guide, the teams swapped picks in the first round and the Redskins gave up their second round pick as well as their 2013 first rounder and their 2014 first rounder.
Now, I don’t think the Bills are quite as desperate to get Geno Smith as the Skins were to draft RGIII, but I don’t think swapping first rounders, a second rounder this year and next year’s second round pick are completely out of the question. That could put the Chiefs in a pretty good spot moving forward. Dorsey and Reid have both said they intend to build this team through the draft. This would be the way to do it. As an added benefit, the sting many fans are feeling from the two picks spent on Alex Smith would be significantly lessened if we gained these picks back in a trade out of the top spot.
If the Chiefs pulled off this trade, they would still most likely be able to get one of the linemen they’ve had their eye on throughout this process. Lane Johnson is projected to go at around the 11th pick, so they would be able to get their hands on him, at least. Depending on how the rest of the board fell, they might even be able to swing Fisher. Regardless, it would be the best possible scenario for the team to fall into.
I know there are potentially dozens of scenarios that could play out in the month and a half leading up to the draft. If there’s one you think more likely than outlined here, please let me know. I’d love to hear some of the ideas that are floating around out there.
Whichever way this shakes out, it’s going to be interesting to watch. It’s not even April yet and I already can’t wait to smell wings cooking and taste ice cold beer on a Sunday afternoon. I went crazy with my predictions last year and how I thought the Chiefs were going to perform after what I thought was a great free agency. I’m cautiously optimistic this year, but I’m not declaring us Superbowl bound quite yet. I’ve come to learn, as many of you have, that the truth is in winning football games. We haven’t had a whole lot of truth around here in a while. Here’s hoping this year we don’t get lied to again.
That’s how I see it Addicts. What say you?