Could Andy Reid-led Chiefs employ Redskins’ draft strategy?
The Redskins were widely lampooned (including, cards on the table, by yours truly) after using multiple picks on the quarterback position in the 2012 draft — Washington used the No. 2 pick on Robert Griffin III, then spent a fourth-rounder on Kirk Cousins.
The move paid off huge, as Cousins delivered a pair of key wins in relief after Griffin suffered a knee injury.
And now, with Andy Reid reportedly on the verge of taking over in Kansas City, the Chiefs should consider employing a similar strategy this April.
The obvious: Kansas City is in desperate need of quarterback help. Matt Cassel’s days are numbered, even if the team has to eat some of the remaining $16.5 million on his contract; Brady Quinn is an unrestricted free agent, following a disappointing 2012; and neither Ricky Stanzi nor Alex Tanney appears to be a Pro Bowler in the rough.
That glaring hole at QB looks problematic heading into a draft thin on prospects at the position. It also clashes with Reid’s reputation as a quarterback guru — he helped along Brett Favre’s career in Green Bay, revived Michael Vick’s career, then reportedly told the Cardinals he could “fix” Kevin Kolb.
Of course, Reid also rolled the dice back in 1999, after being named head coach of the Eagles, by picking Donovan McNabb over Ricky Williams in the draft. McNabb went on to win more than 90 games for the Eagles, while guiding them to a Super Bowl appearance along the way.
Job No. 1 for Reid should he take the Chiefs job, then, will be to solve the quarterback conundrum.
Maybe he convinces Vick to follow him to Kansas City or makes a play for guys like Kirk Cousins, Matt Flynn or Alex Smith. The smarter money is on Reid using the first overall pick in 2013 to take a quarterback that’s all his own.
Geno Smith would be the odds-on favorite for that project — he had been penciled in by many as the Chiefs’ choice come April, even before the Reid-to-KC rumors began. He does not, however, have scouts abuzz the way that Andrew Luck or RGIII did last year at this time.
So, unless the Chiefs keep Cassel as a very expensive stopgap/backup or Reid feels he can turn Stanzi into something, the need will be there for the Chiefs to have a second option behind whoever they draft early.
And this is, for better or worse, a draft class that might be heavy on mid-round quarterback prospects. Georgia’s Aaron Murray potentially could be around late on Day 2/early on Day 3, should he turn pro. The same goes for Tennessee’s Tyler Bray or four-year players such as Florida State’s E.J. Manuel, Oklahoma’s Landry Jones or Miami (Ohio)’s Zac Dysert.
One of the best-kept secrets surrounding the Chiefs right now is that they are much more talented than their 2-14 record indicates — enough so that their glaring holes could be fewer than people expect come the draft.
Jamaal Charles gives Kansas City an elite threat out of the backfield, and the offensive line could be in decent shape if it stays healthy. On defense, meanwhile, Tyson Jackson and Dontari Poe form a threatening duo up front, with Tamba Hali, emerging star Justin Houston and Eric Berry behind them.
If the Chiefs uncover a productive quarterback (plus a couple more pieces here and there, like a receiver to help replace Dwayne Bowe), their turnaround might not take all that long.
The biggest leap forward has to come at the game’s most important position. Following the Redskins’ success in 2012, the Chiefs — with Reid at the helm — might double-down in the draft to ensure that happens.