NFL Draft 2012: Ryan Tannehill Is Not the Answer for the Kansas City Chiefs

Jeremy SickelContributor IIIApril 12, 2012

COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 24:  Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Texas A&M Aggies throws a pass against the Texas Longhorns in the first half of a game at Kyle Field on November 24, 2011 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Darren Carroll/Getty Images)
Darren Carroll/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs are notorious for shying away from using high draft picks on quarterbacks. Since overlooking Jim Kelly and Dan Marino on their way to selecting Todd Blackledge with the seventh pick in the 1983 draft, they have only drafted three quarterbacks inside the top three rounds (Mike Elkins—second round 1989, Matt Blundin—second round 1992, Brodie Croyle—third round 2006).

For an organization that has never been successful at drafting its franchise quarterback, you would think that they would place more emphasis on the position come draft time.

Sure there have been names like Len Dawson, Joe Montana and even Trent Green that would fit the bill, but each of those quarterbacks either found success after making stops with other teams or were well past their prime when finally making their way to Kansas City.

This year's draft class is believed to contain two players that are labeled as franchise type signal callers in Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, both of whom are projected to be the first two players off the board. However, there is another quarterback shooting up the big board that could be drafted as high as the third pick.

Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been the talk of the draft recently with several organizations seeking their next on-field general.

Often times, the effortless desire to acquire a franchise quarterback clouds the calculated process that is imperative to selecting the right fit.

It is all but guaranteed that Luck, Griffin and Tannehill will all be off the board by the time the Chiefs are on the clock with the 11th pick. Therefore, with Indianapolis and Washington standing pat, the Chiefs would have to trade up to the third pick with Minnesota to guarantee the opportunity to draft Tannehill.

But with a position that has had so many busts over the years, why would an organization trade up to draft a guy that is still considered a project by some?

Tannehill began his college career as a wide receiver at Texas A&M and wasn't converted to quarterback until midway through the 2010 season. Although he has shown good acumen and the ability to lead an offense, there are still questions about his decision making due to his limited exposure.

Whether you like him or not, current Chiefs' starting quarterback Matt Cassel deserves another shot at proving he can lead Kansas City to another playoff appearance, building off the success he had during the 2010 season.

Giving up multiple high draft picks to draft Tannehill, which is a gamble at best, would be counterproductive for an organization with several holes to fill throughout its roster. Not to mention that the Chiefs bring back the bulk of its roster, led by Cassel, from the 2010 team that was AFC West champions.

Last season's additions of Steve Breaston and Jonathan Baldwin, coupled with this offseason's signings of Eric Winston, Kevin Boss and Peyton Hillis give Cassel more weapons at his disposal. Let's not forget that he threw for 27 touchdowns and only seven interceptions in 2010, so it is reasonable to assume that he can at least match that with a better cast of players surrounding him.

Can the Kansas City Chiefs use some quality depth at the quarterback position? Certainly. But trading the farm for a player, in Tannehill, that would need a couple years of seasoning is not the answer.

There will be value at the quarterback position later in the draft. As a result, come draft time, the Chiefs are better off continuing to address more pressing needs with their higher picks.


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