From the FanPosts. -Primetime
There's been a lot of buzz around Arrowhead Pride and other Chiefs fan sites the last couple of weeks about how the Chiefs should acquire a young quarterback. Last week it was Brady Quinn...the backup for the Cleveland Browns that many Kansas City fans grit their teeth that we missed in the 2007 draft (although Dwayne Bowe is not a bad consolation prize). Personally I was never behind that since a) I'm not all that convinced that Brady Quinn is going to be a good pro quarterback, because b) he's looked utterly underwhelming in the playing time he has gotten, and c) as Derek Anderson is not looking like he's going to be replicating his 2007 season we would have had to pay through the nose for Quinn even if he was available (which he apparently never was).
But there is a young QB out there that I think we should be seriously considering acquiring...Brian Brohm.
Going into the 2007 season, Brian Brohm was being touted as the "can't miss" prospect for the 2008 draft. He was the son of a former Louisville quarterback (Oscar Brohm) and the brother of another (Jeff, who'd also played in the NFL). He'd averaged 3,000 yards, 17 TDs (and only 5 INTs) per year, with a 66% completion percentage. Under the tutelage of Bobby Petrino, Brohm had turned Louisville into a football powerhouse, with Brohm and Michael Bush leading a potent attack. Basically, Brohm was Peyton Manning with a solid but unspectacular arm and was projected to go in the top 10 of the draft (possibly ending up with his old mentor, Bobby Petrino, in Atlanta). A year later, he was a second round pick, after which he got buried as the 3rd stringer on a depth chart behind a far less touted rookie. So what happened during that time?
The answer appears to be...nothing. Brohm's season in 2007 was almost identical to the two previous seasons, except that in 2007 he was Louisville's primary offensive threat. He passed for over 4,000 yards. He completed 65% of his passes. He threw for a career high 30 TDs (with only 12 interceptions). He played in a solid conference. He stayed healthy. But his team, under new coach Steve Kragthorpe, went 6-6 and the rest of the squad fell apart. His team's leading rusher ran for less than 700 yards. His team's defense wasn't able to hold any opponent to single digits in points (and gave up 20 or more points seven times in 12 games). Basically, he became a great quarterback on a bad team...and even though his performance didn't drop off at all, it appears that scouts and teams started to wonder if maybe he wasn't part of the problem. All of his flaws (non-cannon arm, knee injury his sophomore year, thumb injury that caused him to miss a month his junior year) became magnified. Then he had an underwhelming preseason draft camp. Teams apparently talked their way out of drafting the can't miss prospect...so he ended up falling to the middle of the second round, and now he's currently the 3rd string QB for the Green Bay Packers, largely because he played like a rookie in training camp (which shouldn't have been unexpected, although the Packers coaching staff raved about his ability to absorb the playbook) and because Mike McCarthy took a liking to Matt Flynn.
So the question is, why is this kid worth the risk? Why should he be on our wish list when everybody else soured on him? And the answer is, because he didn't really do anything to hurt his own draft stock. Brohm's performance in college was nothing short of spectacular. Brohm's numbers at Louisville measure up well to Peyton Manning's numbers at Tennessee, and Tom Brady's numbers at Michigan. They were better than Carson Palmer's numbers at USC, and Jay Cutler's numbers at Vanderbilt. And because when it comes down to it preseason draft camps can't be trusted to judge a prospect's potential. Every year some so-so college player rockets up the charts because he's able to jump really high, or bench press a lot of weight, or run a fast sprint (Mike Mamula being the most prominent example of this)...and then when that player gets to the NFL he goes back to being a so-so player because having physical tools is not the same as having football skills. And the reverse is also true, every year some prospect drops down the draft list because they didn't wow anyone in camp, because they were good players on bad teams, or great players in schools that no one pays attention to, or great players who just happened to make the wrong comment or to pick up an injury at an inopportune time, or who just happened to have a bad day when the scouts just happened to be watching. And Brian Brohm was one of the unlucky ones.
And none of this changes the fact that Brian Brohm is one hell of a quarterback prospect, who's demonstrated both the tools and the skills to be able to make it in the NFL. He's quite possibly a better quarterback prospect than anyone who'll be available in the 2009 NFL draft. And there's a chance he could be available right now at a reasonable price. Green Bay right now is a team competing to win the Super Bowl, and they've got two weaknesses...cornerback (now that Al Harris' agent has apparently announced that his client just tore his spleen and is out for the year) and backup quarterback (where the only QBs sitting behind a somewhat injury-prone Aaron Rodgers are two rookies). And we just so happen to have a solid veteran cornerback and a decent backup quarterback available to trade, as well as a very high draft pick in the first round in 2009 (which would actually be a bargain for us because we would be getting a QB who's still a first-round caliber prospect at a second-round player's salary, which means our risk is greatly minimized...and quite possibly we could snag their first rounder out of the deal in return). There's very little not to like about a trade like this...for either the Packers or us.
Now, if we trade for Brohm, will he be able to come in and turn the offense around this year? Realistically, no. He's given no indication he's ready to play this year and there are so many problems with the offense that Peyton Manning could come in and we'd probably still be horrible (mainly because we have a terrible line and a terrible head coach who calls terrible plays). In fact, it's probably not advisable to even make Brohm the starter this season. He's a rookie, rookie QBs usually need time to develop, and we don't want him learning on the job behind this offensive line. He'd get killed (his injury history is nowhere near Croyle's but he's also not Brett Favre) and we'd be out a top five draft pick and a backup QB and cornerback. But he'd possibly be able to start next year and there's a great chance that (if he follows a standard QB progression) he'll be the Chiefs starter in 2009 and hopefully far beyond. And right now, he's about as "buy low" as you're ever going to see in a top QB prospect.
This is a deal worth making. And even if Brohm's not ready to start next season, if the Chiefs grab a stop-gap QB in J.P. Losman and re-sign Croyle to a reasonable deal to be the second or third-stringer, I don't think it's much of a leap to say that the quarterback position will go from our team's biggest weakness to our team's biggest strength in the course of just one year. And that is the way that smart football teams address their problems...looking for creative ways to improve your club in the short-term that build the club for the future based on managed risks that won't cripple your club for years.