Should the Chiefs draft Geno Smith?
Let’s assume that Clark Hunt drops the axe on Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel after this season (a fair assumption), and that Marty Schottenheimer returns to Kansas City as the new GM. Let’s also assume that Mike Sherman, who was #1 on the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator wish list before the organization settled on Brian Daboll last offseason, is brought on as the new head coach.
Burdened with an untradeable pick, in a draft that is the most muddled since the ’08 edition and devoid of a sure-fire franchise QB, Schottenheimer and Sherman decide to sign the serviceable Matt Moore shortly after the free agency market bell rings. Sherman is familiar with Moore, who happens to be the only impending free agent QB worth spit. (You don’t need me to tell you that Joe Flacco isn’t going anywhere.) Satisfied with Moore as the stopgap solution, Schotty and Sherman pass on Geno Smith in favor of Utah behemoth Star Lotulelei, a relatively safe option who would serve as the cornerstone to the rebuilding of the defensive line. On the second day of the ’13 NFL Draft, the new K.C. brain trust opts for a second-tier, developmental quarterback like Tyler Bray, Ryan Nassib, or Landry Jones. That sounds feasible right? It’s feasible…but unlikely.
The most obvious snag with the above-mentioned scenario is that it simply reeks of recent Kansas City personnel failures, i.e., bringing in “your guy” (Matt Cassel) as a stopgap solution, and drafting “safe” guys (Glenn Dorsey, Tyson Jackson) instead of strapping on a pair and targeting risky, “upside” QBs (Joe Flacco, Josh Freeman). Ultimately, Moore, or any similarly uninspiring acquisition (Matt Flynn, Matt Hasselbeck, etc.), would be just another one of those backups in starter’s clothing (Cassel, Trent Green, Steve Bono, Elvis Grbac, Steve DeBerg, Bill Kenney) that the Kansas City fanbase has endured since the days of Len Dawson. It’s a bad movie that Chiefs fans have seen too many times.
At the top of the aforementioned 2008 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins had the opportunity to select Matt Ryan. Similar to the current situation in Kansas City, Miami fans had suffered through a mini-parade of middling signal-callers since the retirement of Dan Marino. Like Geno Smith, Ryan was considered an excellent prospect, but fell just short of that all-important “elite” category. Miami went the safe route with Jake Long. Do you think for a second that ‘Fins fans wouldn’t mind a do-over?
We here at NFL’s Future have been at this long enough to know that a prospect’s draft stock can fluctuate dramatically between November and April. One day Da’Quan Bowers is the next Bruce Smith, the next day he’s looking up at teammate Jarvis Jenkins in the second round. It’s folly to assume anything this early in the predraft process. For all we know, a toolsy QB prospect like San Jose State’s David Fales could declare and make a meteoric rise to the top of the 2013 NFL Draft. That’s a bridge that guys like Brad Clark and I will cross if it comes to pass, but as of right now, Geno Smith is the best option available at quarterback, and while he may not be Andrew Luck or RGIII (few are), he possesses the physical tools, leadership, and work ethic to emerge as a Ryan/Flacco-level NFL starter. The Chiefs can’t afford to pass that up.