A Quarterback will be chosen by the Chiefs in 2012 this much is clear. Scott Pioli said as much after the draft this past April.
Chiefs GM Scott Pioli said following the draft that the team wanted to get to the point where they're drafting quarterbacks every year, which is an interesting statement.
(ten points for the first person to point out what journalist reported that)
A popular opinion around these parts is that the Chiefs will be drafting a QB in the first round in 2012. It makes enough sense. The Chiefs are QB needy, this is a QB loaded draft, and the rest of the Chiefs aren't nearly as pressing. Still, for the sake of pick position, job security, and veteran availability I'm (sadly) confident the Chiefs will NOT be drafting a QB in the first in 2012.
This is the easiest way to not get a franchise signal caller in the first. Win six games. Although this draft is loaded with QB talent it's very top heavy. Luck is obviously going with the first pick, that's a given. By the looks of it the Redskins, Dolphins, Cardinals, and Seahawks, all teams with a pressing need at QB, may finish the season with worse records than the Chiefs. Effectively taking Robert Griffin III and Matt Barkley out of the conversation for the Chiefs.
All you're really left with is Landry Jones and Ryan Tannehill. Both of which seem to have more questions than answers. Even if Jones and Tannehill show up big time at the combine there are still some reasons to believe Haley/Pioli would pass on them.
Cruel reality time, the NFL is only in existence for profit, and you can only field a bad product for so many years in today's ADD society, before the shine of your newly hired GM and HC wares off. Scott Pioli have two bad seasons to go with one good one, and currently have another bad one in the making. That will be a 75% failure rate as the most important pieces in the organization. To be frank, if they haven't already been fired by April, Pioli and Haley are in danger of losing their jobs all next season. I'm pretty confident Haley and Pioli will be around for the draft so lets assume that is the situation in April.
When GM's and Head coaches are in a sticky situation they revert to win at all costs mode, which usually means you're going to be sticking with your guy at QB or going after a veteran either familiar with your offense or one who has experienced success in another town. Sometimes it works and you end up winning in one of the toughest divisions in football with Jay Cutler at the helm, other times it fails miserably and you go 0-16 with Daunte Culpepper leading the way.
Either way, a coach and GM will not put their "make or break" season into the hands of an unproven player at it's most important position. Which Brings us to our next topic.
The obvious front runner to start under center next year is Matt Cassel. Haley/Pioli would secure their jobs for a long time if they can re-animate Matt Cassel's career. He has shown flashes of being at least a capable QB, but lacks the consistency for anyone to have faith in him. The only person currently on the roster that could prevent another Cassel led Chiefs squad is Kyle Orton.
Orton was probably more of a strategic move for the draft than it was for our offense. Unless Orton revitalizes the Chiefs season and puts them into playoffs, both the Front Office and Orton will be disinterested in furthering their marriage beyond this season. My guess? The Chiefs miss playoffs by a mile and the Chiefs collect a 6th round compensatory pick in 2013. Outside of Orton there are actually still some options worth looking at, starting with a name AP is (painstakingly) familiar with as of late.
- Peyton Manning. We all know the story, The Colts are more than likely going to be nabbing Luck in the draft and Peyton Manning suddenly isn't so comfy in his "QB til' I die" position in Indy. If the Chiefs somehow got Manning to KC you would have to instantly consider the Chiefs super bowl contenders, with Jamaal Charles and our slew of receiving options all complimenting our stellar defense it would be worth a first and some seconds, or a pair of firsts to make it happen. The only issue here is that neck. Would Haley/Pioli invest their futures in such a huge gamble of a player? Maning is the ultimate boom or bust prospect next off season. If he has fully healed you get 4-5 years of the greatest QB to ever play the game, if the neck is unstable, you just bet the farm and lost it all.
- Brian Hoyer. Patriots connection! As if we haven't had enough of that. Hoyer, in a very similar offense to our own, has been a pre-season rock star out in Foxborough. I'm not sure Haley/Pioli would be willing to risk looking like fools on another NE backup though.
Jason Campbell. Pioli has traditionally plucked talent from division rivals, and if he feels strongly enough about it, could grab Campbell as a stop gap. I know more than a few of you are rolling your eyes right now but seriously sit back and consider his season up until his injury. Yeah he wasn't playing all world but he was managing games well. Hand the ball off to McFadden and kill em' with a play action pass. Substitute McFadden with Charles and you have something to believe in. He's also a Zorn guy so there's that.
- Matt Flynn. Here's a longshot, but he's worth mentioning. Chances are a Packers coordinator or positions coach (Joe Philbin the offensive coordinator being the most likely) gets a shot at a Head Coaching job next season, and you can bet that Matt Flynn is going to follow that coach wherever he goes. Still, let's assume Kansas City picks him up. The potential is certainly there, but potential is not what Haley/Pioli need at this point. They need a guy they are confident can hammer out 9 or more wins and get them off the hot seat. The only evidence we've seen that Flynn can be that guy is his lone go against the Pats last season. The offense ran seamlessly, but how hard is it really? Running the Packers offense...
Others worth mentioning. Shaun Hill, David Garrard, and Josh Johnson. At this point in the list Cassel is the better option.
The point here is that stop gaps will be available next off season should they decide cutting Cassel is going to rejuvenate some of the franchise's talent.
Above all else the number one reason we will not draft a QB in the first next year is simple. It's because we're the Chiefs, and as football Gods have clearly outlined, "the Chiefs shall never draft and develop a QB, only from the bench shall their QB come and go as a harlot back to free agency shortly thereafter. Hated and worthless among all other teams." While I would love to see the Chiefs pulling a name like Matt Barkley or Robert Griffin III off of the board, to me it just seems unrealistic no matter how the rest of this season unfolds.