Let me say right now that I don’t hate QB Aaron Murray. I’m sure he’s a fine person and looks like he was a great signal-caller for Georgia. However, his selection in the 5th round this year was the first draft pick under the regime of GM John Dorsey that I disagree with.
The problem is that Murray was a luxury pick for a Draft in which the Chiefs needed to be thrifty.
After about the 3rd round, all quarterback selections fall into two categories — future backups, or lottery tickets. By far the cheapest way to get yourself a backup in this league is to draft one in the mid-rounds and, of course, everyone is hoping to find the next Tom Brady in the rough.
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But, the Chiefs don’t need a backup, and if they sincerely thought Murray was the next Tom Brady, they wouldn’t have waited to grab him with one of their last three picks.
The Chiefs already have a developmental QB with high upside in Tyler Bray, for whom they waged a competitive bidding-war to bring in as a UDFA last year.
At backup, the Chiefs currently have Chase Daniel, who has so far done everything asked of him. In his one game as starter, he finished 21/30 for 200 yards, a TD and a QBR rating of 82.9. In case you’re wondering, Alex Smith’s QBR for the season was 49.4. In fact, he didn’t even match Daniel’s rating in his franchise-best playoff performance. That game has been erased from my memory after hours of psychotherapy, but ESPN tells me finished with a QBR of 81.9.
Sure, Daniel is a bit on the expensive side, but the Chiefs invested in him because he’s a refined player, a great scheme fit and Smith has had injury issues in the past. As Reach pointed out in his breakdown of Murray (which I highly recommend), cutting Daniel would only save the Chiefs $1.4 million in cap space and leave the team with two unproven backups.
The one case you could make for Murray is that he fits HC Andy Reid’s scheme and the Chiefs may have been targeting him as a potential replacement for Smith. If that were truly the case and the Chiefs felt that he had the sort of talent to dislodge the guy they just traded two 2nd-round picks for, then they wouldn’t have risked him falling this deep in the draft. My guess is that he was simply the best player on their board at the time so they pulled the trigger for value.
Generally, I’m okay with pure value picks. But QB is not like a lot of positions where you can keep in a bunch of bodies there for special teams, situational fronts and depth. You can keep a maximum of four quarterbacks on your 53-man roster, and the only teams that do that are those without a clear starter that are expecting a QB carousel during the season.
There’s always the practice squad, but when you move a player to the practice squad, any other team in the league has the opportunity to offer them a roster spot and you will almost certainly lose them. This would definitely be the case if the Chiefs tried to “practice squad” any of these three backups.
It’s not like Murray is going to be covering kickoffs, so the only possibilities here are that he forces the team to cut one of its other backups — which it doesn’t need to do — or cut him, making him a wasted pick.
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Meanwhile, the Chiefs let slip many prospects that could have instantly seen the field this season, guys like Wisconsin WR Jared Abbrederis, Wyoming WR Robert Herron, or my personal favorite Penn State G John Urschel. They would all be gone in the 20 picks that followed.
Don’t get me wrong. I hope that Murray is the first QB that the Chiefs succeed in drafting and developing in the past 40 years. As I wrote a few weeks ago, I wouldn’t have been against the Chiefs going with QB Teddy Bridgewater at #23. But, unless he truly is the jackpot lottery ticket, this pick was a waste in my opinion.