December 31, 2012 by Charles McDonald
The Kansas City Chiefs finished the 2012 regular season with an abysmal 2-14 record. The Jovan Belcher tragedy added anguish to the season but now it is time for the Chiefs to focus on the 2013 NFL Draft. For the first time in a few years there is no consensus number one overall pick, a franchise changer, somebody who can lead your team for the next ten to fifteen years. Most teams in this position would take a hard look at the quarterbacks that were available to them as the disastrous combination of Brady Quinn and Matt Cassel were constantly outplayed week to week. However, there is no quarterback worthy of the first pick this year.
Before the start of the season University of Southern California Quarterback Matt Barkley was projected to win the Heisman and waltz his way into being the new face of a franchise, but injuries and inconsistency derailed his senior campaign which ended two games early due to a shoulder injury. Then there’s West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith who started off the year on fire with a game for the ages against Baylor where he completed a sick 45 of 51 pass attempts for 656 yards and EIGHT touchdowns. That’s a 4:3 touchdown to incompletion ratio. However, a struggling defense and cooled off play hindered Smith’s Heisman campaign and draft stock but he still is viewed as the top quarterback in this draft. With no true “franchise quarterback” in this draft the Chiefs have four options.
1) Reach for Geno Smith
Desperate times call for desperate measures and the Chiefs may have to pull the trigger on Geno Smith. If they feel that he is the savior for their organization after the Combine, Pro Day, Individual workouts, and Team Interviews then they should pull the trigger. The NFL has become so quarterback driven that teams are reaching for quarterback prospects every year e.g. Christian Ponder with the Vikings and Brandon Weeden for the Browns.
2) Pick a defensive player
The 2013 NFL Draft is loaded with stars on the defensive side of the ball. If they choose to go defense they have two options in my opinion: Manti Te’o, inside linebacker for Notre Dame, and Star Lotulelei, defensive tackle for Utah. The Chiefs could use an upgrade next to stud linebacker Derrick Johnson in the middle and someone to help mask his coverage deficiencies would be ideal for the Chiefs to help take their defense to the next level. Te’o had a Heisman worthy senior campaign notching seven interceptions this year which was good for second in the nation. Star Lotulelei could be a great addition for the Chiefs defensive line but they have already used three first round picks on defensive linemen in the past four years in Glenn Dorsey (2008), Tyson Jackson (2009), and Dontari Poe (2012). Adding another first round pick to that list would be too many resources invested into one position group.
3) Draft Texas A&M Offensive Tackle Luke Joeckel and pick a quarterback on Day 2.
The third option the Chiefs have is to draft standout offensive tackle Luke Joeckel. Joeckel and his teammate Jake Matthews paved the way for Heisman Trophy Winner Johnny Manziel this year. He is stout on both run and pass blocking and controls the line scrimmage. If the Chiefs draft him they could put Branden Albert on the right side and kick Eric Winston into the guard position to replace Jeff Allen who was an absolute abomination this year. Draft Joeckel would allow the Chiefs to upgrade multiple spots along the offensive line and keep whoever is playing quarterback for them next season upright.
There are a number of quarterback prospects that make sense for the Chiefs to draft on Day 2. Matt Barkley, Tyler Wilson, Mike Glennon, Tyler Bray, Landry Jones, and Ryan Nassib make a lot of sense if the Chiefs decide to go with Joeckel number one overall.
4) Trade down
This option may make the most sense for the Chiefs. Geno Smith is not worth taking number one overall and the value for a middle linebacker isn’t enough to take Te’o number one overall. Joeckel would make a lot fo sense, but there are quality offensive tackles such as Jake Matthews, Eric Fisher, and Taylor Lewan later in the first round. A team could talk themselves into thinking that Geno Smith is the answer for their franchises woes and make a trade with the Chiefs for the number one overall pick. These teams include: Oakland, Jacksonville, Buffalo, Arizona, New York Jets and Philadelphia. They could pick up extra picks to further add depth to their team to try and be more competitive next year.
What a tough year to be a Chiefs fan.