The Chiefs have been waiting 29 years

Malcolm Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

The Chiefs desperately need to draft a signal-caller in the first round for the first time since 1983.

Todd Blackledge.

I blame that man for all of the problems the Kansas City Chiefs have suffered through for the 29 years since he was drafted out of Penn State. Well, I don't really blame him for every problem, but certainly the biggest one facing this organization going forward.

The Chiefs haven't pulled the trigger on a quarterback in the first round since they selected Blackledge with the 7th overall pick. Why? Because apparently the thinking is every quarterback Kansas City drafts from 1984 until the end of time will be a carbon copy of Blackledge; underwhelming and most terrible.

It's not that the Chiefs haven't had the need or opportunity to take a top-flight passer since that time. Look at Marty Schottenheimer's years in Kansas City. What was the one thing that team needed more than anything? Offense, and more to the point, a franchise quarterback.

Granted, Schottenheimer enjoyed a few good years with Steve DeBerg and then two famous ones with Joe Montana, but both were past their prime and not a long-term solution.

Great defenses were wasted while Schottenheimer tried his hand with Steve Bono and Elvis Grbac, all while Rich Gannon showed promise and then left for the Oakland Raiders, where he became great.

Since 1983, there have been a number of oversights at the QB position. By 1991, Kansas City was competitive but in need of a franchise QB. With the 21st overall selection, it took Harvey Williams. Only 12 picks later, Brett Favre was taken off the board.

Of course in recent times, the Chiefs have passed on a litany of quarterbacks to take players at other positions. Some have worked out, and some, well, not so much.

This year, it's almost a certainty Kansas City will have one of the top two picks. Regardless of what draft experts like Mel Kiper Jr. or Todd McShay crow about, the Chiefs have to take a quarterback with their first pick.

I don't want to hear about guys in the top of the second round. First of all, nobody knows if they will be there at that point. All it takes is a couple trades or one team picking a quarterback unexpectedly in the middle of the first, and then the run is on.

Kansas City could be left holding the bag once again. Clark Hunt and his new general manager can't take that chance.

I can live with it if the Chiefs take Geno Smith, or Matt Barkley, or Mike Glennon and it doesn't work. It wouldn't be a good situation, but at least Kansas City would've been bold and gone for the brass ring.

It's so much easier in life to walk away knowing you took a shot, tried to make something happen even it if ultimately fails. When you have the chance to make your break and stand there friozen, that's the worst feeling in the world.

When the Chiefs are on the clock this April, they need to think long and hard about whether that supposed can't-miss defensive tackle is really going to make that much of a difference if they still have a lousy field general.

Kansas City, please don't play it scared. Don't worry about Todd Blackledge.

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