Luke Joeckel (center) lifting up quarterback.
That does go against convention—after all, 10 of the last 12 top overall picks have been quarterbacks.
But going with convention, especially when it's not necessary, can return a team back to the cellar. The Chiefs need to buck convention and select the right player.
That right player is Luke Joeckel. The 6'6", 310-pound lineman from Texas A&M is one of the best left tackles to come out in years and is the best player on the board for many prognosticators.
The Chiefs have one of the worst offensive lines in football, so selecting Joeckel is the right step.
However, many fans will be clamoring for a quarterback. It's understandable. Matt Cassel threw for 1,796 yards, six touchdowns and a whopping 12 interceptions in nine games. His replacement, Brady Quinn, wasn't much better, throwing for 1,141 yards, two touchdowns and eight interceptions.
So yes, quarterback is a need. But the alternatives in the draft are not sure-fire superstars.
Geno Smith, who is probably the best one available, is not a franchise-savior. While decent, he's coming from a wide-open spread system that inflated his numbers, and he struggled against good defenses like Kansas State and Syracuse. The risk with Smith is that he's only a system player and cannot make the transition to the NFL.
While that was said about Cam Newton, the difference between the two is that Newton was—and is—a transcendent talent with remarkable arm strength and the speed of a wide receiver. Smith doesn't possess either of those.
The other quarterbacks, like Matt Barkley of USC, Tyler Wilson of Arkansas, Mike Glennon of North Carolina State and Ryan Nassib of Syracuse, are not worthy of the No. 1 pick. They are, at best, mid-first rounders.
The Chiefs are in a bind, but there are solutions. They can draft Joeckel and shore up the offensive line for years. They can acquire someone like Alex Smith or Kirk Cousins and draft a quarterback in the middle rounds. Someone like Alex Carder of Western Michigan could do the trick.
Kansas City shouldn't draft blindly, nor should it draft based on what the fans think. The Chiefs need a lot of help. They need to select the best player available. While quarterback is a need, a quarterback is not the best player available. The best player available is left tackle Luke Joeckel. Selecting him would be the best thing the Chiefs can do.