Could Syracuseâ€™s Nassib be a fit for Chiefs?
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Jon Gruden has been good friends with Andy Reid for years, dating back to their days together on the Green Bay Packers’ coaching staff in the 1990s.
But Gruden, analyst for ESPN’s Monday Night Football, doesn’t claim to know what Reid will do with the Chiefs’ No. 1 pick.
Yet if Reid is looking for a quarterback past the first round, there’s one prospect that stands out in Gruden’s mind: Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib.
“I really like him as kind of a sleeper in the draft,” Gruden said. “He’s athletic. He’s smart. You know, they changed the offense at Syracuse before the season started and he adjusted quite well.
“He’s tough. They were 2-4 at one point, trailing Stony Brook College at halftime. And he took over, got them to a bowl and to a bowl win.”
Nassib, 6 feet 2, 227 pounds, might fit the mold of the new-age NFL quarterback.
“You look at the NFL right now and (Colin) Kaepernick and Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III and you see mobile, athletic quarterbacks who run the read-option,” Gruden said. “And you have Chip Kelly coming into the NFC. You’re looking at different types of systems now.
“…Ryan Nassib is a guy who is very versatile. He can run the option. He can run the pro-set. He can run the no-huddle. He learned under an NFL-style coach in Doug Marrone.”
Nassib isn’t projected in the first round, and certainly not at No. 1. But the Chiefs, who already have their top two quarterbacks set in Alex Smith and Chase Daniel, could be looking for a prospect to develop, one they could draft in the second round or beyond.
That’s where Nassib comes in.
“I’m a guy who made a living out of mid-round picks,” Gruden said, “so I’m biased.”
Nassib has been criticized at times for not being authoritative enough on the field, but Gruden says he believes Nassib could command an NFL huddle.
“I think so,” Gruden said. “I don’t see a lot of type-A personalities in quarterbacks. I like cool customers and I think he’s that.
“They gave him a lot of freedom at Syracuse. He was all business there, all the time. He got his degree early.”
Gruden also likes Nassib’s physical skills translating to the NFL.
“He threw some tight-window completions,” Gruden said. “You don’t see that in college very often, especially under duress. And no disrespect to Syracuse, but he didn’t have a great supporting cast.
“He had to make things happen there for his team to win….I really like his body of work at Syracuse.”
The Chiefs, though, likely will go with a left tackle with the first overall pick, and the choice seems to come down to Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M or Eric Fisher of Central Michigan.
“I don’t know what Andy will do there,” Gruden said. “Joeckel is the guy I would take. He played for two different coaches, played in two different systems and excelled at both.
“But if he took Fisher, no one would second-guess him. He is very versatile. Played guard, tackle. But I would rate Joeckel No. 1 and Fisher a close second.”
Interestingly, reports have surfaced that the Chiefs are trying to deal left tackle Branden Albert, who was franchised last month and is under a one-year deal for $9.8 million. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King reported that the Chiefs are looking for a high second-round pick for Albert, which could replace the second-round pick the Chiefs surrendered to acquire Smith.
One scenario could have the Chiefs taking Joeckel or Fisher with the top pick, dealing Albert for a high second-round pick, and using that pick to select Nassib.
That would give the Chiefs a potential quarterback for the future, and a left tackle to protect him.