KANSAS CITY, Mo. — You wanted Matt Barkley. We get that.
We get that you’d have been happy with Ryan Nassib, because he was universally touted as being a “first-round” talent — that is, right up until the part where the first round actually happened. And, heck, wasn’t Tyler Wilson supposed to fit, hand-in-glove, with a West Coast Offense?
But get this, kids: Between 1991-2011, a healthy sample size of 20 seasons, 185 quarterbacks were taken in the NFL Draft after the second round. Of those mid-to-late round flyers…
+ 91 never made a regular-season start in their entire NFL career, or 49.2 percent.
+ 55 never even saw the field during a regular season in their entire NFL career, or 29.7 percent.
+ 144 never spent a season as their team’s primary starter, or 77.8 percent.
+ 171 never made a Pro Bowl, or 92.4 percent.
+ 122 made six or fewer regular-season starts over their entire NFL career, or 65.9 percent.
+ 1 — Tom Brady, the ultimate draft fluke of his generation — was ever selected to the All-Pro team.
That’s not to say the Chiefs whiffing on a quarterback Friday or Saturday in the 2013 NFL Draft, when there were allegedly perfectly capable (if unspectacular) one to be had, was a healthy thing. Or even a particularly good idea.
But by the same token, it wasn’t a hate crime against Pop Warner or an affront against your season-ticket deposit, either.
Think about it: You’re growling because the Chiefs’ brain trust didn’t spend a pick on a player who has a 50 percent chance of ever starting a game, and 22 percent chance of ever starting more than eight games over the course of a season. You’re bellyaching over a No. 3 quarterback, the clipboard’s best friend.
And besides, the Chiefs drafted a quarterback. They took Alex Smith in the second round.
OK, OK, not literally, of course — Smith was acquired from San Francisco in March for a second-round draft pick — but the principle was the same.
The better question to ask yourself is this: As the calendar turns to May, which Smith would you rather have at the top of your depth chart — Alex, 19-5-1 as an NFL starter over the past two seasons, or Geno, last seen struggling to grip the stinking ball at the Pinstripe Bowl?
Look, no one the Chiefs could’ve drafted this past weekend was going to be given a realistic chance to supplant Smith or Chase Daniel, or rise higher than second, realistically, on the depth chart. Not this fall, health-permitting. Not next fall, either. A quarterback tapped in Round 3-7 this year is a quarterback being groomed for, oh, 2015. Maybe.
Coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey cast their respective lots with Smith, for better or worse, six weeks ago. Smith has two years left on his deal; Daniel, the former Missouri star, three. The Chiefs finished their quarterback shopping — serious quarterback shopping — by St. Patrick’s Day. They’d done the rounds at the Senior Bowl, Shrine Game, NFL Combine, the usual; given the expediency of the Smith swap and the Daniel contract, it’s safe to say they were discouraged, if not horrified, by the rookie options on hand.
There it was, the Chiefs’ biggest and most painfully glaring position of need, in a year when the franchise FINALLY controlled its own quarterbacking destiny, and the offerings were too ripe, too bruised or too damaged to warrant that kind of investment. It’s always something, isn’t it? The Curse of Todd Blackledge lives on and on, like a stinking weed.
Besides, the Chiefs weren’t alone in turning up their noses on the young pups. Oakland traded for Matt Flynn. Arizona traded for Carson Palmer. Buffalo signed Kevin Kolb.
That gulch was so dry, teams scrambled for sloppy seconds. When the market forced them to shop for retreads, the Reid and Dorsey salvaged the best retread (Smith) they could. Barkley vowed to prove the world wrong when he slipped all the way to the Eagles in the fourth round, yet it could be months — or even years — before that platform actually presents itself.
But back to the sample size for a second. Yeah, 70 percent of those mid-to-late-round flyers will end up seeing the field, and that’s the part that sort of — OK, completely — freaks you out. The more you think about free-agent signee Tyler Bray getting meaningful reps, by some stroke of awful fortune, the less sleep you get at night.
And, granted, if Smith or Daniel get hurt, that third quarterback the Chiefs chose not to upgrade becomes a heartbeat (or torn ACL) away from seeing actual, live, game action. Before long, you’re having all sorts of Brodie Croyle flashbacks, and the sharp, pointy objects start coming out in earnest.
But for your sake (and Reid’s), put them away. Put them away, and keep something else in mind. Of those 185 mid-to-late-round quarterbacks between ’91 and 2011, only 61 — 33 percent — wound up making seven or more career starts. Of those 61 signal-callers, just 10 — 16.4 percent — posted winning records as a starter over the course of their careers. Kansas City fans may be tired of shuffling recycled material under center, but better that than having to live with someone else’s fresh garbage.
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at email@example.com