An effective QB would improve the Chiefs more than an upgrade at any other position. There are four QBs expected to enter the upcoming draft that are considered good enough to start in their first season: Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley, Robert Griffin, and Landry Jones. This article, which was co-written by a friend, examines the likelihood of one of those players being available at the Chiefs draft slot.
- The draft order will likely change. For example, Seattle has been playing well and has an easier schedule than we do to close out the season.
- The QBs have yet to be fully analyzed, which could insert new players into the mix or cause one of the top 4 to nosedive.
Needs Perspective: Teams Who Need a Starting QB
In determining draft order, the first tiebreaker is strength of schedule, so we calculated these values to date. If the draft was tomorrow, the top 15 order would follow the table below (I believe the Bills and Seahawks would flip a coin to break their tie).
Four teams ahead of us (Colts, Redskins, Browns and Dolphins) and one team tied with us (Seahawks) have an obvious need at QB and haven't spent any currency on one recently. In contrast, the Rams, Vikings, Jaguars, Panthers, Buccaneers, Cardinals and Bills have either signed a player or drafted a player with a high pick in the last few years (most surprisingly, the Bills gave Fitzpatrick a large extension). The Eagles and Chargers have good QBs.
Assuming a static draft order and that teams that need QBs pick them, if the draft was tomorrow and the Chiefs stood pat, it's unlikely we'd get any of the top 4. The Colts are widely expected to take Luck, and it seems unlikely that Griffin, Barkley and Jones would make it past three other teams that need a QB. However, there is the scenario where the Browns are comfortable with McCoy and the Dolphins are happy with Henne and Moore competing. If we assume one of the two is true (likely the former), the Chiefs would be able to take the fourth QB (which right now is Landry Jones).
As far as teams trading to get ahead of us and take a QB, there are two likely candidates. The most obvious threat is the Seahawks: Tarvaris Jackson isn't viewed as a long-term starter, the Seahawks are in a good position to minimize trade cost, and Carroll is entering his third year and hasn't yet drafted a QB. The Broncos are the other team: both Elway and Fox have expressed dissatisfaction with their QB situation, although their move surely hinges on how well Tebow progresses with his passing. Either of these scenarios would make it ever harder for the Chiefs to get one of the top 4 with the 12th pick.
Historical Perspective: QBs Picked in the First Round
We also need to consider that losing teams generally have many needs in addition to QB. Other common picks (and presumably needs) among top 11 drafters are WR, OT, DT, DE and DB.
The table below shows how many QBs were taken in the top 11 (the picks prior to the projected Chiefs pick), and how many in the first round.
|Year||Top 11||Top 32|
Last year represented a heavy investment in early-pick QBs, with three taken in the first 11 picks (and Christian Ponder taken at pick 12). However:
- On average, only two QBs are taken in the first 11 picks.
- In all of the past ten drafts, at least one of the top four QBs was available at pick 12.
- In seven of the past ten drafts, at least two of the top four QBs were available at pick 12.
Unless the QB situation in the league is worse than the typical situation of the past 10 years, these data indicate that the Chiefs have a decent statistical chance of having the opportunity to draft a highly touted QB in the first round.
What are the Chiefs Prospects?
The needs and historical perspectives are at odds, with the former painting a bleak picture and the latter providing hope. To come to a conclusion, we can look at specific past drafts with comparable QB prospect hype, namely those in 2006, 2009 and 2011 (I don't remember the 2004 draft). In two of those years, three QBs ended up going in the top 11 picks. I think we'll see something similar this year; it's not that league-wide the QB position is worse than in the past, but rather that three guys (Luck, Barkley, Jones) were considered high-caliber NFL prospects coming into the season and now Griffin has dazzled as well. Combine that with teams that definitely need a QB and I'd guess three of these guys will be gone by the current Chiefs pick (12th overall).
Of course, we could always move up, there's a fourth prospect and as described above, there are multiple reasons to think at least two of the top four will be available at our pick. So if you really want the Chiefs to take a QB in the first round, you have plenty of reasons to believe they'll have the opportunity.