The only saving grace to the Chiefs’ train wreck of a season is that they’re headed for the No. 1 overall pick in next spring’s NFL draft.
And normally that would be cause for great excitement among a Chiefs fan base which has been clamoring for the team to select a quarterback high in the draft for years, though none more so than this year. The Chiefs haven’t taken a quarterback in the first round since 1983 when they picked Todd Blackledge.
But it looks like that streak may continue, at least if NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. is correct.
Kiper said in a conference call Wednesday that he doesn’t think there’s a quarterback worthy right now of going that high.
“When you look at their needs, you obviously have to look at the quarterback position,” Kiper said. “But … you look at having the top pick and there’s not a quarterback to take. You thought Matt Barkley (USC) would be the guy. You thought Logan Thomas (Virginia Tech) could be the guy. Or Geno Smith (West Virginia). But it hasn’t happened.
“That’s why you go back to last year and see how fortunate Indianapolis was. Peyton Manning’s only significant injury in his career happens during a year where you have Andrew Luck in the draft. Unbelievably good fortune for the Colts to have the No. 1 pick with Luck in the draft.
“The Chiefs are in the same situation with maybe having the No. 1 pick. The problem is, there isn’t a quarterback for the No. 1 pick. You can’t take a quarterback (there) just because you need one. There has to be a guy worthy of being the No. 1 pick.”
Kiper said it would be a stretch for the Chiefs or any other NFL team to look at picking any quarterback that high based on his projections.
“Right now I have Barkley at No. 14 on the big board and Geno Smith at 15,” he said. “I have Logan Thomas at 29. These are guys that could have gone that high and it hasn’t happened.
“Now, you can always trade down and look for offers. But right now there’s not a quarterback worth taking No. 1 or No. 2 or No. 5 or even No. 10. That’s just the way it is.”
As if Chiefs’ fans haven’t suffered enough this season, they now may not get their version of Andrew Luck.
“You have to evaluate the quarterbacks on how they’re playing,” Kiper said. “You can’t force it. Barkley has had his ups and downs, and Smith has had ball security problems. Now the defense is horrible at West Virginia so that puts a lot of pressure on Smith, so you take that into consideration. He’s not a runner or a scrambler, he’s a pocket guy, a cerebral guy.
“And Barkley, there are questions about the arm strength.”
The good news? The Chiefs could do some wheeling and dealing with their high pick and still get their value with a quarterback in the second round.
“Some of these guys may not go in the first round,” Kiper said. “There are some who think Barkley may not go until the second round. I don’t necessary think so but it may happen. It’s happened before. Andrew Dalton was a first-round projected pick who went in the second round. Drew Brees ended up in the second round. You go all the way back to Boomer Esiason who was supposed to be a first-round pick and he went in the second round.
“So Matt Barkley and Geno Smith, who knows? They may fall to the second round. The Senior Bowl is going to be so important for those guys. Tyler Wilson out of Arkansas could be a second-round guy. Mike Glennon out of N.C. State has had some good games and some so-so games. He could be in that discussion. Tall, good pocket passer.”
Wilson and Glennon could be intriguing possibilities for the Chiefs in the second round.
Wilson (6-foot-3, 220 pounds) has been hurt part of the 2012 season and tried to play through injuries.
WalterFootball.com says of Wilson, “He has the look of an NFL quarterback. He stands tall in the pocket and reads defenses well. The decision making the junior displayed last season was very impressive. Has a strong arm and is an accurate passer.”
Glennon doesn’t have the overall talent of Logan Thomas, but does have similar size (6-foot-6, 230 pounds) and a big arm. According to scouting reports, Glennon manages the game well and could be worthy prospect.
Kiper believes there are other candidates, too, who have fallen under the radar.
“Landry Jones out of Oklahoma has been inconsistent especially when he gets pressure but he could be a guy in the second or third round,” Kiper said. “E. J. Manuel from Florida State is another guy who’s gotten better and could be an early-round guy.
“Then you have the juniors in Tyler Bray from Tennessee and Derek Carr from Fresno State. Logan Thomas, too, could go in the first but maybe he falls to the second round…Point is, there are possibilities beyond the first round.”
As Chiefs fans think about Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn and Ricky Stanzi, they hope Kiper is right and that there are a lot of possibilities beyond the first round.