That's right, even Lenny Dawson was a bust before he got to Kansas City (Dallas Texans). Egadst. Another post comparing Alex Smith to a great quarterback when he's going to turn out to be Matt Cassel...wrong! Reid said he wanted to find the next Len Dawson and historically speaking, Alex Smith is the closest thing we could find to a Len Dawson story to bring to the Chiefs.
Len Dawson was drafted 5th overall in the 1957 NFL Draft and was a BUST. He started 19 games in his first three years and totaled 96 yards. Not yards per game, yards total. Sure the NFL was different back then, but Johnny Unitas, Y.A. Tittle, and Norm Van Brocklin all passed for over 2,000 yards and are currently in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The 4th best quarterback in 1957 was Earl Morral for the 49ers who passed for 1,900 yards, and then went on to become one of the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL. So even back when the NFL was all about running, 96 yards from the 5th overall player in the draft was considered a major BUST. He then went to Cleveland where he threw for 108 yards over the course of 2 seasons. Then, he became a Kansas City Chief (1st year was as a Dallas Texan) and he passed for 2,759 yards in his first year and took the Chiefs to their first AFL Championship, and is now inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The trade for Matt Cassel was a flop. He's a great guy, but not a great football player. Fast forward 4 full years and we are making the same trade for Cassel again...except Cassel was a 7th round backup he played one season with one of the best offenses in the history of the league, and Alex Smith started for teams that ranged from downright awful to Super Bowl Caliber Teams. Alex Smith's first seven years are posted below as reference to show Alex Smith's comparison to Len Dawson when he was 27.
Len Dawson was a BUST with a capital B until he was 27. Alex Smith was considered a BUST with a capital B until he was 27. When Matt Cassel was 26 and came off the bench to play for the Patriots did anyone consider him a BUST? NO, because he was a 7th round draft pick. Will Alex Smith turn out to be the next Len Dawson, very doubtful, but will he turn out to be as bad as Matt Cassel? Only time will tell. But I think Alex Smith's past success makes me way more excited than I would have been had I been alive and been a Texans fan in 1962 when they picked up Len Dawson.