Cassel had a solid, efficient, and sometimes even impressive season, but let's face it: you could never call him great. Very few are. But if the Chiefs want to win a championship in the near future, they need to stick with the mindset that good is simply not good enough. Something tells me we don't need to worry about Pioli's mindset.
If the Chiefs, with their 21st overall pick, have what they believe to be a "quarterback of the future" on their final draft day board, they need to think long and hard about pulling the trigger.
This year's best are Missouri's own Blaine Gabbert and Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton of Auburn. Unfortunately, both will surely be gone well before the Chiefs make their selection. But Kansas City will have their pick of the rest.
Ryan Mallett is one that should be available when the Chiefs make their selection on day one, but the 6'6", former Razorback comes with more than a few off the field issues – none more concerning than his issues on it.
Mallett looks phenomenal on paper. In his two years starting for Arkansas, Mallett averaged 31 touchdowns and only 9.5 intercepts per season. But the fact that a quarterback can play that well and never be voted team captain is a red flag. Considering the Chiefs' affection for team leaders, I can't foresee a scenario where the Chiefs bring in Mallett on day one or two.
Washington Huskies QB Jake Locker continues post workout slide.
Locker appears to have the arm of Elway, the accuracy of Brees, and the impromptu stylings of Brett Favre, so I think a lot of negative talk on him may simply be posturing. Locker is a no-brainer in the second round, but I doubt he makes it out of the first.
Regardless of how high they have him rated, Pioli and his Chiefs would have a PR nightmare if they drafted a QB in the first round and a full on rift in the locker room as well. Considering how much the Chiefs have invested in Cassel to this point, I highly doubt they take the risk of setting him back.
Brodie Croyle has manned the back-up duties for multiple seasons now, but when given the opportunity in 2010, he had a miserable showing (8-19, 38 yds, 1 int, 4 sacks). Due to the lack of a CBA, Croyle is currently a free agent, and if I had to bet, I would say Croyle is not a Chief in 2011.
But the Chiefs can address the need for a young backup QB without creating a full on quarterback controversy.
Chiefs have not tipped their hand about the future of Brodie Croyle.
Dalton, on the other hand, could be a commodity on day two. Dalton air mails enough passes to scare you off, but his intangibles are through the roof. He has the stats to back up his price tag, and even though he played in the spread, his 27 touchdowns to just six interceptions should garner him some good long looks from the Chiefs, who have already met with him.
But if indeed the Chiefs are targeting a future backup, not a future starter, the ideal time would be between rounds 3-5. This would be the soft spot in the draft that would not carry the same high-risk/high tension situation as rounds 1-2.
Possible candidates that fit these criteria would be Nevada's Colin Kaepernick, Alabama's Greg McElroy, Delaware's Pat Delvin, and Iowa's Ricky Stanzi.
Stanzi's is the name I'm seeing more and more as we approach draft day, and considering Pioli's ties to Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, the pieces seem to fit. Personally, I don't see a lot in Stanzi that gets me excited. Stanzi's career touchdown to interception ratio is 31:25, and in just two years as the starter for the Hawkeyes he was sacked 45 times. In fact, every eight times that Stanzi dropped back to pass, he was either sacked or intercepted.
Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi could be reunited with KC Tight End Tony Moeaki.
There are plenty of dark horses in rounds 6-7 and two of my personal favorites are Minnesota's Adam Weber and Idaho's Nathan Enderle. Both of these guys have cut their teeth in NFL type systems and have shown the toughness and grit it takes to be a backup in the NFL. These guys are long shots, but so was Tom Brady.
In 2011, Matt Cassel will be the Chiefs' starting quarterback without question but I fully expect the Chiefs to bring in a rookie QB. Whether that is on day one, two, three, or even the first wave of free agency, only the Chiefs know. But after it all shakes out, I am confident a veteran QB signing will shortly follow.
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Will KC make a run for another QB in Round One?
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