With Draft Day almost upon us (finally!!), the raging debate among Kansas City Chiefs fans still revolves around the quarterback position.
Some feel, like I do, that Alex Smith puts us in a position to win the AFC West and then try our luck in the playoffs. It follows, then, that we should draft Luke Joeckel or another positional stud because the QB position is filled for now. Others are convinced that Alex Smith is simply Matt Cassel 2.0, and desperately want the Chiefs to draft Geno Smith, who will go on to a Hall of Fame career and bring multiple Super Bowl wins to Kansas City.
Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing which camp is right. Alex Smith has certainly played like a top ten quarterback these past two years, but his previous six years in the League were mediocre. Geno Smith is, in my opinion, the best quarterback in this Draft class, bar none. But Geno didn’t even make the Big 12 First Team— he lost out to Colin Klein from K-State. And his West Virginia Mountaineers finished the year in the bottom third of the conference with a pedestrian 7-6 record, including 4-5 in the Big 12.
The good news is that both Smiths would do well under Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid, who has a penchant for getting the most out of his quarterbacks. Alex Smith’s rejuvenation began when Jim Harbaugh took over to coach the 49ers. With Reid and Offensive Coordinator Doug Pederson, Alex Smith should do the same here, and Geno Smith, if drafted, would flourish under their tutelage as well.
All in all, I have to admit that there is an equal amount of risk for either Smith. Geno has more upside but simply did not lead his team to victory in 2012 and is, in my opinion, being hyped beyond his talent level because he is the best among a weak quarterback class. On the other hand, Alex is a proven top-ten quarterback, but I don’t know if the past two years were a fluke.
But there’s one clear and compelling reason why I think the Chiefs made the right decision with Alex Smith, and why they shouldn’t spend their first round pick on Geno Smith: 2014.
Here’s a short list of the quarterbacks that may well be available in 2014, in my rough order of preference, 365 days out:
- Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
- David Fales, San Jose State
- Tajh Boyd, Clemson
- Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
- Derek Carr, Fresno State
- AJ McCarron, Alabama
- Aaron Murray, Georgia
- Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech
That’s eight quarterbacks, all of whom are legitimate first rounders, with five or six potentially going in the top half of the first round. While I expect the Chiefs to improve dramatically on their 2-14 record this year, I don’t think we’ll finish 13-3. That means that we will be in a position to take one of these quarterbacks outright, or trade up just a few slots to land a Quarterback of the Future for the Chiefs. If Alex Smith flames out, then we will have a new starter in 2014. If Alex Smith plays at a Pro Bowl level, then we don’t have to rush our 2014 quarterback into action but will have secured our quarterback for the next decade.
Whomever the Chiefs pick this year, whether it’s Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher at left tackle, or Ezekiel Ansah or Shariff Floyd on the defensive line, or Dion Jordan at linebacker, I believe this pick is much smarter than selecting Geno Smith. Next year is the year to take a quarterback. Picking Geno Smith now makes no sense in the short and long-term. In the short-term, if you are trying to pick a quarterback that gives you the best chance to win in 2013, I would argue that Alex is a better choice than Geno. In the long-term, if we pick Geno now, we’ll lose out on a key positional player that we need in 2013, and will have wasted that pick for an even better option in just twelve months time.
Addicts, we’ve talked a lot about the need for a Quarterback of the Future, and whether or not we should take Geno Smith our first round pick. Where do you stand now, Addicts?!!