To Draft Or Not To Draft: Brady Quinn

This week, Warpaint Illustrated Publisher Nick Athan previews five players that might be available when the Chiefs pick at #23 on Saturday. Today, he looks at Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn.

I admit, the possibility of the Chiefs grabbing Brady Quinn is slim. But when I asked head coach Herman Edwards last Friday about the possibility of Quinn dropping to the Chiefs at #23, he said without hesitation, "we draft him."

With that knowledge in hand, I asked Chiefs Vice President of Player Personnel, Bill Kuharich, about what Edwards told me. "We draft him," Kuharich said with a grin.

That started an impromptu conversation with Kuharich. Our little chat convinced me that Quinn's name has come up in the team's draft meetings the last month.

Currently the Chiefs have five quarterbacks on the roster. Last year's starter, Trent Green, will be dealt to the Miami Dolphins sometime this week.

Second-year man Brodie Croyle is the heir apparent. He'll get every available opportunity to become the starter in 2007. Damon Huard signed a contract to be the backup for the next three years. He'll get a chance to beat out Croyle but it might not be a great opportunity when it's all said and done.

Two other guys fill out the depth chart - Casey Printers and Omar Jacobs. Neither has any NFL experience and neither will get an opportunity to do anything but carry the clipboard.

That's why I'm intrigued by the conversations I had with KC's brass about Quinn. The Chiefs have never been able to develop a rookie quarterback into an NFL stud. Other teams have had success, but for some reason, in the entire history of the organization, the Chiefs have always brought in veterans.

Edwards isn't ready to do that, however. That's why he's willing to cut ties with Green and hand the offensive reigns over to Croyle, despite his lack of experience.

Why not hedge that bet with two young quarterbacks? I say the Chiefs should go for it, despite a plethora of other needs.

At the beginning of the 2006 college football season, Quinn was heralded as a preseason All-American candidate with an outstanding opportunity to lead the Fighting Irish to a National Championship. But that didn't happen.

He ended his career in the Sugar Bowl against LSU, watching JaMarcus Russell outplay him and steal his status as the top quarterback prospect in the upcoming draft.

Quinn's stock has fallen, but in his mind he's still the best player and the best quarterback in this year's class. He believes he should be the top pick. But NFL Scouts are fickle, and to some he's fallen out of favor.

"He's a winner," said Kuharich of Quinn. That's good enough for me.

And it might be good enough for the Chiefs, who aren't afraid of his lackluster record (3-8) in college against top competition.

Since the end of the NCAA season, Quinn has worked his tail off. He currently has a chip on his shoulder bigger than the one Larry Johnson carries around. He's ready to prove the scouts wrong and is ready to wow any team that drafts him.

Looking at the NFL Draft, in my opinion there are only two teams that have a sure need to draft a player of Quinn's abilities before the Chiefs are on the clock. One is the Cleveland Browns, who briefly flirted with Green this month but reportedly desire LSU's Russell, despite the fact Quinn lobbied them to draft him.

The Miami Dolphins are also reportedly interested in Quinn, but if they acquire Green they could instead take Penn State left tackle Levi Brown, who fills the void left when Damion McIntosh defected to the Chiefs in free agency.

If those two teams pass, it's quite possible Quinn is sitting on the board when the Chiefs are on the clock in the first round.

Kuharich told me he doubts that Quinn will fall to the Chiefs. But he did say he believes Quinn will be a great NFL quarterback.

"It depends on who drafts him," said Kuharich. "In the right system he'll either be another Kerry Meier or Tom Brady. If he comes to a team like the Chiefs he has a great running back behind him in Larry Johnson and the game's best tight end in Tony Gonzalez."

If Quinn is still on the board when the Chiefs make their first round selection on Saturday, we'll find out what Edwards and Kuharich really think of him.

Tuesday: Justin Harrell
Wednesday: Ted Ginn, Jr.
Thursday: Chris Houston
Friday: Ben Grubbs

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