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The road less traveled: The Chiefs can draft a quarterback in 2017

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NFL: Kansas City Chiefs-Training Camp Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
--Robert Frost

As a team that hasn’t drafted a first round quarterback since 1983, or even drafted a quarterback that garnered significant playing time since 1983; the Chiefs have continued to take the road less traveled by Super Bowl winning teams.

Some of the Numbers are Just Absurd

As usual I did some research and I’m just going to throw out a few numbers I found along my travels...

Since 1983 70.6 percent of Super Bowls have been started by quarterbacks who were drafted by the team they were playing for.

If you were to remove Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Kurt Warner from the equation a non-Hall of Fame retread quarterback hasn’t started in a Super Bowl since 2005. That’s 12 years ago folks, and it was Matt Hasselbeck who lost to the Steelers first round quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

The simple fact is teams who don’t develop their own quarterbacks are far less likely to win or even play in a Super Bowl than other teams who do. Unless of course you get lucky and land a future Hall of Fame quarterback in free agency (see Manning, Peyton). Good luck with that.

More stats...

When you take each team’s most recent first round quarterback selection since 1983, 29 percent of them have played in the Super Bowl, and 17 percent of them have won a Super Bowl for the team who drafted them.

Did you know there have been 428 quarterbacks drafted since 1983? Of those 428 quarterbacks 35 have played in a Super Bowl. This means roughly 8 percent of quarterbacks drafted since 1983 have made it to the Super Bowl.

So in-house first round quarterbacks are three times more likely to play in a Super Bowl than an average quarterback taken anywhere in the draft, playing for any team.

It’s interesting to note there have been 34 Super Bowls since 1983, with 68 open starting quarterback spots, but only 35 quarterbacks have filled those spots. Parity my ass.

More stats...

The Chiefs have drafted one first round quarterback since 1983. Every single expansion team that was formed in 1995 or later has drafted as many or more quarterbacks than the Chiefs have during that time span.

The remaining teams who have only drafted one quarterback since 1983 are the Cardinals, Cowboys, Giants, and Steelers. The Cardinals screwed the pooch with their pick like the Chiefs, but the Cowboys, Giants, and Steelers all drafted a quarterback who won multiple Super Bowls (Troy Aikman, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger.)

Only one team has drafted less first round quarterbacks than the Chiefs since 1983 and that is the Saints who have had Drew Brees under center for a number of years. The Saints haven’t drafted a single first round quarterback since 1983, but they somehow have one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, go figure.

What I’m saying is, the time to draft an early round quarterback, and develop them was YESTERDAY.

Maybe It’s Been Bad Luck?

Obviously this lack of drafting a quarterback can’t be based on sheer suckitude? .... Can it? I mean no team could literally pass up nine quarterbacks in the first round, could they?

Chiefs fans may think the Chiefs have simply avoided taking a quarterback in the first round on purpose. Chiefs fans may even judge their team for this and think things like the following: If drafting a first round quarterback were somehow as bad as smoking crack, the Chiefs would be the poster child for Quarterbacks Anonymous.

I wanted to see if the Chiefs are really as bad as their fans make them out to be in terms of drafting a first round quarterback. I went back and looked at each of the years the Chiefs had a top 10 draft pick and whether or not a solid QB was available when the Chiefs made their selection.

The numbers in the parentheses are the overall pick in that year’s draft.

1983 - Chiefs drafted QB Todd Blackledge (7th)
Other QBs available: Jim Kelly (14th), Dan Marino (27th)

We all know how this pick went ... The Chiefs blew it in 1983.

1984 - Chiefs drafted NT Bill Maas (5th)
QBs available: No QB was taken in the first round.

The Chiefs made a decent pick here as Bill Maas played in two Pro Bowls and was an eight year starter for the Chiefs. Since there were no great quarterbacks available this falls under bad luck for the Chiefs.

1986 - Chiefs drafted G Brian Jozwiak (7th)
QBs available: None

Jozwiak was a horrible pick and didn’t even play a single season for the Chiefs as a primary starter. There also was not a viable option to draft at quarterback. Bad pick and bad luck for the Chiefs.

1988 - Chiefs drafted DE Neil Smith (2nd)
QBs available: None

Once again bad luck for the Chiefs as no top tier quarterback was available for the Chiefs to draft.

1989 - Chiefs drafted LB Derrick Thomas (4th)
QBs available: None

Once again not a single quarterback was available for the Chiefs to pick. Derrick Thomas was drafted fourth overall by the Chiefs and we really can’t complain about the outcome ...

2002 - Chiefs drafted DT Ryan Sims (6th) LOL
QBs available: Patrick Ramsey was drafted 32nd overall, but was not considered a top tier QB pick.

The Chiefs seem to have terrible years to pick early in the draft in terms of quarterback talent available.

2008 - Chiefs drafted DT Glenn Dorsey (5th)
QBs available: Joe Flacco (18th)

Flacco would have been a bit of a reach and he hasn’t really dominated in the NFL. The Chiefs continue to not have an option for selecting a viable quarterback early in the draft.

2009 - Chiefs drafted DE Tyson Jackson (3rd)
QBs available: Mark Sanchez (5th), Josh Freeman (17th)

The Chiefs could have pulled the trigger on Sanchez or Freeman, but it was a good thing they didn’t.

2010 - Chiefs drafted S Eric Berry (5th)
QBs available: Tim Tebow (25th)

Once again, no available highly talented quarterbacks.

2013 - Chiefs drafted T Eric Fisher (1st)
QBs available: EJ Manuel (16th)

Notice the trend here?

After the Chiefs draft blunder in 1983 they have drafted in the top 10 nine times, but each time no viable quarterback option was available to draft.

The Chiefs have been extremely unlucky in terms of quarterbacks being available at the right time. After looking at these drafts, none of us should blame the Chiefs for not drafting a quarterback in the first round.

People can bring up second or third round quarterbacks and how the Chiefs have missed out on them, but no second or third round quarterback can be labeled a ‘sure thing.’

Given the information above I can’t be angry with the Chiefs franchise for their lack of drafting a first round quarterback, if anything I pity their misfortune.

Can 2017 Be the Year?

Now that we’ve looked at the Chiefs bad luck in the past, I wanted to take an honest look at the Chiefs chances for drafting a viable quarterback in the first round in 2017.

The Chiefs have the 27th pick and finding a viable quarterback will not be easy. Here is a list of all the teams who draft ahead of the Chiefs and may be interested in taking a quarterback:

Cleveland (1st, 12th)
San Francisco (2nd)
Chicago (3rd)
New York Jets (6th)
San Diego (7th)
Buffalo (10th)
New Orleans (11th)
Houston (25th)
Kansas City (27th)

The Browns, 49ers, Bears, and Jets are all very likely to be in the market for a quarterback. The Bills new coaching staff may be looking to trade Tyrod Taylor and draft their own QB. The Chargers and Saints have aging quarterbacks who may be interested in grooming another quarterback for the future. The Texans should be looking for a cheap option to compete with Brock Osweiler.

First round grade quarterback options in 2017 (As of now according to Walter Football):

Mitch Trubisky
Deshone Kizer
Deshaun Watson
Patrick Mahomes II

Now you may see there are eight teams who pick ahead of the Chiefs who may be in the market for a QB, but there are only four quarterbacks with projected first round talent.

The Chiefs are screwed again, right?

WRONG

In the last 20 years, four or more quarterbacks have been selected in the first round only 25 percent of the time. I would put good money on one of these quarterbacks being available for the Chiefs to draft at 27th overall.

Of course if you’re going off the Chiefs luck over the course of history all four quarterbacks will be taken before the Chiefs get their chance to pick one.

The Chiefs are in Prime Position to Develop a QB

The Chiefs have a good, very bright quarterback in Alex Smith who will be on the Chiefs roster through at least 2017. The Chiefs have the luxury of drafting a quarterback and then letting them sit for a period of time to develop while still remaining competitive.

Of the quarterbacks from the list I believe both Kizer and Trubisky are the most pro-ready. While I’m not very high on Deshaun Watson, I believe in Andy Reid and John Dorsey and if Watson is their guy then Chiefs fans should also be on board.

Lastly Patrick Mahomes may have the highest upside of all the available quarterbacks, but he will also require the most polishing to be ready to start in the NFL. Since the Chiefs have the time to develop a quarterback I believe Mahomes would be the best and most realistic option for the Chiefs to draft 27th overall.

The Road Less Traveled

So while we’re at home watching two homegrown quarterbacks play in the Super Bowl this weekend, the Chiefs should look at the fork in the road ahead and tell themselves: We don’t have to take the road less traveled.

The Chiefs don’t have to continue to wander in the woods on an unpaved surface while other teams in the NFL take the express lane to the Super Bowl. The Chiefs with John Dorsey at the controls have the power to alter their fate in the 2017 draft and finally take a quarterback in the first round.