With the 2016 NFL Draft getting closer by the day, the anticipation continues to grow among all fans, players, teams and front offices alike about who could be potentially be taken in the first round of the annual draft on April 28th.
For general manager John Dorsey and the Kansas City Chiefs, this means having the 28th-overall pick, which is the lowest that the team has picked in the first round in franchise history. This will be the fourth draft of the Dorsey/Andy Reid era of the Chiefs as they hope to continue to build on their winning culture that has seen the team enjoy winning seasons in each of their first three years at the helm, along with capturing the franchise’s first playoff win in 22 years last season.
When Dorsey and Reid first got to Kansas City, one of the first things that they did was trade for then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith, which helped to address a large position of need for the franchise at the time. In his three seasons as the starting quarterback for Kansas City, Smith played well, throwing for more than 10,000 yards, completing 63.6 percent of his passes and having a 3:1 touchdown to interception ratio.
Smith also helped lead the franchise to their first playoff in 21 years last season. With all of that aside, Smith is also going to be 32 years old in May and likely isn’t the long-term answer at quarterback for the Chiefs considering that he will be pushing mid-30s once his current contract ends. Add in his inability to throw the ball downfield and put the team on his back when he needs to in crunch time, and it’s time to look elsewhere.
That brings us to this year’s NFL Draft, and the Chiefs will likely be faced with many different options when their turns comes up with the 28th-overall pick. As far as this year’s quarterback class goes, one option is ex-Memphis Tiger Paxton Lynch. Another is former Michigan State signal-caller Connor Cook. Cook is one of the top quarterback prospects in this year’s class and at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, he is already NFL sized and possesses the football IQ to be able to step in and play if he needed to this season.
While playing in East Lansing, the Hinckley, Ohio native amassed nearly 9,200 passing yards while scoring a combined 74 touchdowns for Sparty while leading them to two Big Ten championships along the way. He also has a very strong arm, and is accurate not only in the short and immediate passing attack, but also throwing downfield.
Although Cook has his obvious physical strengths, there seems to be some questions about his character as well. Fortunately for Kansas City, it possesses one of the best and most respected coaches in the NFL in Andy Reid, who has the skills and patience to work with players who do have some character issues, especially at the quarterback position.
If the Chiefs do pick Cook at No. 28, they could potentially develop their own franchise quarterback that the organization has been starving for for decades. In this situation, the 2015 Johnny Unitas Golden Award winner would likely be groomed behind Smith, but learning from a veteran like Smith and a great offensive mind like Reid could be what the doctor ordered for Cook and his future NFL career.
It’s also possible that the Chiefs could still be looking into current backup Aaron Murray or third-strong quarterback Tyler Bray as their quarterback of the future. Even with these in-house options, Cook still appears to the best NFL prospect out of these three despite the fact that he has yet to even play a down in a preseason NFL game to this point.
Either way, it will be interesting to see who the Chiefs ultimately go with in the first round of this year’s version of the draft, but selecting Mr. Cook would could possibly set the team up for the long-term future by getting a player at arguably the most premium position in today’s NFL.
What do you think, Addicts?