5.) No one expected Kansas City to come away from the draft with a quarterback. However, the question must be asked: At what point should the Chiefs consider drafting and grooming a legitimate backup?
As the second round of the NFL draft ticked along, many viewers were surprised when the Philadelphia Eagles stepped up to the proverbial podium and selected Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts. Why, when a team has already invested heavily into a 27-year-old franchise quarterback (Carson Wentz), would they spend a second-round pick on Hurts?
I wondered before the draft began at what point Kansas City might consider a player such as Hurts, should he find himself in a draft freefall. Would Veach have even considered him at pick 63? What if he had fallen to pick 96? At some point, you can justify the selection, regardless of how firmly entrenched your quarterback is.
No prospect could ever come into One Arrowhead Drive and even sniff a quarterback controversy. It’s not happening. So the Chiefs don’t have to concern themselves with that. There’s even a model of success with investing in prospects and trading them away, with the Patriots drafting Jacoby Brissett and Jimmy Garoppolo before sending them to other teams in exchange for higher picks.
There’s also the question of how-good-is-too-good with a backup quarterback. You don’t want to pay big money to a guy that you know is going to be carrying a clipboard. And we’ve all heard the infamous quote from the Colts’ Tom Moore regarding the way the Colts never practiced their offense without Hall-of-Fame quarterback Peyton Manning. (I won’t quote it here, but let’s just say you shouldn’t let your kids look up that quote in your search engine of choice.) Back to the premise of the comment: Moore refused to practice any circumstance in which Manning wasn’t in the lineup, because he had conceded that the team was out of contention without Manning. Period. End of story.
The Chiefs caught lightning in a bottle in 2019, scrambling for two victories (in Denver and against Minnesota) without Mahomes, but what if, instead of deploying a midnight journeyman third quarterback off the street in Matt Moore, the team had had a decent prospect at their disposal? We’ll never need the answer to that question, but for the team’s future, it becomes more and more important that the team emphasizes not just Mahomes, but his backup, in their pursuit of multiple Super Bowl championships. There are too many coulda-been-championship teams in NFL annals that have had entire seasons derailed because of one injury. The Chiefs have the responsibility to insure against that.
Chad Henne will again serve as the backup in Kansas City. He missed his window of opportunity in 2019 because of a broken ankle suffered against San Francisco in the preseason. (Does anyone remember that they actually played the 49ers back in August?) Henne is now in the twilight of his career and will need to be replaced in the near future. On Monday, the team released second-year quarterback Kyle Shurmur. Not gonna lie, this was probably the right decision to do this based on the fact that Shurmur’s dad, Pat Shurmur, is now the offensive coordinator of the rival Broncos and the younger Shurmur was going to be on the outside looking in at a roster spot with this year’s Chiefs.
Kansas City also signed XFL quarterback Jordan Ta’amu, who played collegiately at Ole Miss. The 6’3″ 220-lb. Ta’amu is a mobile quarterback who will be a very good protege for Mahomes. He has great character and a repertoire of some of the same non-traditional mechanics that Mahomes has in his throwing motion, though not the same caliber of passer, of course. (Who is!?) With time to learn and develop under Reid and Mahomes, Ta’amu could eventually show some promise.