The Kansas City Chiefs have employed their share of rag-tag quarterbacks over the years.
Aside from the franchise’s best quarterback, Len Dawson, the brief love affair with Joe Montana and the Trent Green years, the Chiefs have been void of quarterback play that the team or the city can be proud of.
However, the Chiefs have no one to blame but themselves.
Kansas City drafted Todd Blackledge out of Penn State with the seventh overall pick in the 1983 NFL Draft. Since then, the Chiefs have taken a quarterback in the first three rounds just three times (Mike Elkins, second round in 1989, Matt Blundin, second round in 1992 and Brodie Croyle, third round in 2006).
By failing to identify, draft and develop young talent at the quarterback position, the Chiefs have been forced to roll the dice with the Bill Kenneys, Dave Kreigs, Steve Bonos, Elvis Grbacs and Damon Huards of the world.
If you muttered an emphatic “who???” to any of those names, join the club.
Few rookies enter the NFL as a sure thing, and even fewer at the quarterback position. Since most of those names surface at the top of the first round, no one can blame the Chiefs for looking elsewhere that early, especially before the rookie pay scale was instituted.
But Kansas City’s hesitancy to pull the trigger on ANY quarterback early in the draft in recent years has held the franchise back.
The elite teams are led by guys that can carry them through the thickest and the thinnest of times. Furthermore, those guys can be found outside of the top five picks.
This year’s quarterback class was led by Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. And while there seemed to be a huge drop-off in talent after these two, the remaining cast of arms certainly wasn’t void of talent in their own right.
Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden might have been reaches in the first round. But Kirk Cousins and Nick Foles have unquestionably outplayed their draft position, and either would fit quite nicely behind—or even in front of Matt Cassel in some circles—in a Chiefs uniform.
While Cassel has looked good so far this preseason completing 18-of-24 passes for 209 yards and one touchdown, Ricky Stanzi—who is battling Brady Quinn to be the primary backup to Cassel—has looked awful, completing only 5-of-11 passes for 66 yards and one interception.
Quinn has looked decent, going 12-of-19 for 151 yards with one touchdown and one interception, but has shown nothing over his career to suggest that either Cousins or Foles couldn’t come in and be an upgrade as Cassel’s backup.
Both Cousins (27-of-45 for 338 yards, three touchdowns and one interception) and Foles (24-of-38 for 361 yards, four touchdowns and one interception) have looked incredible this preseason and both were drafted in the third round or later this past April.
While the majority of fans do not envision Cassel as the long-term answer at quarterback, if you take him off this year’s team, the Chiefs would be in bad shape and the high expectations for the 2012 season would quickly turn into major disappointment.
It isn’t the Chiefs’ lack of talent at quarterback over the years that has been the problem; it is the lack of trying to bring in talent through the draft that makes it difficult to watch guys like Kirk Cousins and Nick Foles succeed in the NFL.