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Old 02-18-2013, 09:29 PM   #3183
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It’s a widely held belief that any team’s season is a failure if they fail to win the last game of the NFL season – the Super Bowl. As lofty as these expectations may be, it is hard to dispute that anything less of this goal is a success. However, if any season whereby a team fails to reach the Super Bowl is considered a failure, I think it goes without saying that finishing a season with a 2–14 record is considered to be a colossal failure. But, with colossal failure comes great opportunity.

The light at the end of a 2–14 season is the possibility of having the first pick in the NFL draft in April. The number one pick is by far the greatest instrument that a team can employ to dramatically improve their team.
The Kansas City Chiefs own the number one pick, and the Jacksonville Jaguars own the number two pick. With matching 2-14 records, these two teams were – to put it simply – very bad. As it is every year, it’s heavily speculated early on in the talent evaluation process, that the number one overall pick will be spent on a quarterback – as it has been 10 out of the last 12 drafts. The only exceptions being Mario Williams (2006) and Jake Long (2008). Often, the only thing separating a two-win team to a competitive team is the addition of a young, talented signal caller.

Is anybody worthy?
Although it’s still early in the process, there appears to be no quarterback clearly worthy of the number one pick, with only few even being considered worthy to have first-round talent. Geno Smith – expected to go in the top five or even top 10 – is the most favoured quarterback. In recent weeks, both leading up to the Super Bowl and the days since, I have noticed an increasing number of mock drafts suggesting that the Chiefs (who own the number one selection) will pass on drafting a quarterback. In many mock drafts, the team selects a player at a less-risky, albeit less impactful position. Modern draft trends suggest that the best quarterback in any draft class will be expected to be a part of the conversation to go number one, as, since 2001 only two non-quarterbacks have managed it. If the Chiefs really do pass on a quarterback, I believe the Jacksonville Jaguars would jump at the chance of drafting the highest rated quarterback with the number two selection.

The Luck consideration.
I believe the Jaguars would draft Geno Smith at number two because of last year’s number one draft pick, Andrew Luck. It’s because of Luck that the Chiefs have the pick and the Jaguars do not, even though both teams they shared the same 2–14 record. Allow me to elaborate.
The Strength of Schedule Statistic (total wins – losses comparison of the teams that each team plays) indicates that because the Jaguars’ opponents (138-118) won a total of 6 more games than the Chiefs’ opponents (132-124), they are the better team. This indicates that the Jaguars went 2-14 against better teams (SOS = 0.539), and the Chiefs went 2-14 against worse teams (SOS = 0.516).
Although the six game difference could be attributed to a large number of factors, I attribute the difference to not only one team, but also one player (Luck). Whilst the Jaguars reside in the AFC South with Houston, Indianapolis and Tennessee, the Chiefs are a part of the AFC West with Denver, San Diego and Oakland. The Broncos won the AFC South division title with a 13-3 record making the playoffs, while the Chargers sat in second place at 7-9. In the AFC South, Houston won the division title at a record of 12-4, whilst the second ranked Indianapolis Colts also made the playoffs with an 11-5 record. I suggest that the difference between the Chiefs and the Jaguars SOS is the fact that the Colts were a playoff team when really they were not expected to be.
I propose that the difference between the two teams’ strength of schedule – the reason why the Chiefs have the number one pick and the Jaguars do not – is the number one pick of the Indianapolis Colts in last year’s NFL draft. I am of course making reference to rookie sensation, Pro Bowl quarterback Andrew Luck, who managed to turn a dismal 2-14 team in 2011 to a playoff calibre 11-5 team, only to lose in the playoffs to the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
It’s safe to say that the Jaguars have seen first hand what a rookie quarterback can do (having Andrew Luck in their division) and would swoop on the top-rated Geno Smith if the Chiefs passed on him. Although Geno Smith is not the only draftable quarterback available come April’s draft, it is clear that he is the only quarterback worth a top 10 selection. Thus, trading and moving back in the hopes of finding a talented quarterback later in the first round is not a safe bet for the Chiefs. If the Chiefs are going to draft a potential difference-maker at quarterback, it will need to be with the number one overall pick.
Which QBs came first (in round and number)?

When debating whether the Chiefs should perhaps reach slightly on a quarterback like Geno Smith, or select a player from a less risky position, it is enormously insightful to look back at past drafts. Since 2001, 10 quarterbacks have gone with the first overall pick. Although some would argue that Alex Smith was a unsuccessful draft pick (a “bust”) considering his draft position, I would rather propose that the only quarterbacks who have had no success in the league are David Carr (2002) and JaMarcus Russell (2007).

Year and 1st overall QB:
2001 Michael Vick
2002 David Carr
2003 Carson Palmer
2004 Eli Manning
2005 Alex Smith
2006 Mario Williams
2007 JaMarcus Russell
2008 Jake Long
2009 Matthew Stafford
2010 Sam Bradford
2011 Cam Newton
2012 Andrew Luck
Exceptions proving the rule?

The only two players drafted first overall who were not quarterbacks were Williams in 2006 and Long in 2008. Both players were considered to be among the best players at their respective positions during their time with their teams – with both players making All Pro teams (Long in 2010, 2009; Williams in 2007, 2008). One would think that these two players are the perfect example for making an argument about why (if there is no clear-cut quarterback available worthy of the number one pick) taking the most talented non-quarterback in the draft is not always a bad thing.
That is not necessarily true though. Despite their apparent individual successes, Williams was not offered a second contract by the Texans last offseason, and all signs indicate that Long will not receive a second contract from the Dolphins this offseason. From a team impact standpoint both players combined for a lone playoff appearance – during Long’s rookie season. This indicates that although both players had successful years at their respective teams, they both failed to impact the team in a dramatic fashion – the way a quarterback would.
As a result, they were eventually deemed as expendable by their teams. Additionally, in taking Jake Long, Miami passed on top-rated quarterback (but not necessarily best player in the draft) Matt Ryan. Ryan was drafted number three, started every game his rookie season and has led the Falcons to a playoff appearance in four of the five years he has been in the league.
I would suggest that drafting a quarterback and him not producing is just as costly as failing to draft a good quarterback. The two quarterback “busts” taken number one overall (Carr (2002) and Russell (2007)) had almost zero production in the NFL, and their performance – or lack thereof – has aided in creating a climate of fear around using the number one overall pick on a quarterback.
The big busts came with big risks ($).

It’s widely believed that if a team drafts a quarterback in the first round and this player underperforms (or does not perform at all as in Russell’s case); the franchise’s potential rise will be set back years. I believe that this was not so much about the under performance of the player, but rather the contract given to these two players. Prior to the implementation of a rookie wage scale in 2011, the first overall picks that came out of college were immediately given contracts which made them some of the highest paid players in the NFL, despite never having played in a single game.
This means that when Carr and Russell were drafted, not only did their lack of ability affect the team, but the two teams were also financially hamstrung when it came to retaining other players, and bringing in free agents. Fortunately for the Chiefs, the wage-scale puts less financial pressure on the teams, making it easier to move on from a bad draft pick. Drafting a quarterback with the number one overall pick does not guarantee their success in the NFL, but should they fail to produce results at the next level, the financial risk is lower than it has ever been.
Less risk in modern NFL.
In NFL history, there have been 47 Super Bowls played – won by 30 different quarterbacks. Nearly a third (8) of those 30 quarterbacks who have won a Super Bowl were drafted with the first overall pick in their drafts – accounting for 16 Super Bowl wins between them.
Additionally, over half (17 of the 30) quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl were drafted in the first round. The overwhelming success of not only first pick quarterbacks, but also first round quarterbacks in the Super Bowl indicate that a talented quarterback is a key piece of a Super Bowl team. The best chance of obtaining a talented quarterback by taking one with a first round draft pick, most ideally the first overall. What these statistics tell us is highlighted by the successes of recent first round quarterbacks (Stafford, Newton, Luck, Griffin III, Tannehill), whose successes suggest that young college quarterbacks are entering the draft more ready than ever to lead their team, and compete at the next level in the pursuit of a Lombardi trophy.
One might suggest that the Kansas City Chiefs are lucky to have the first overall pick and that luck stems from the Colts drafting Andrew Luck first in last year’s draft. If they had not drafted him, they would not have been a playoff calibre team and the Jacksonville Jaguars would likely be selecting first overall come April’s draft.
If the Chiefs hope to experience the same kind of turn around the Colts had last year (going from 2-14 in 2011 to 11-5 in 2012), it starts with adding a talented, franchise-calibre signal caller. Although a couple of first overall quarterbacks in the past have been busts (Carr 2002, Russell 2007), taking a risk on a talented quarterback is, in my opinion, a better option than selecting a player at a less risky, albeit less impactful position (Williams 2006, Long 2008) – irrespective of how well they perform.
With the current rookie wage scale, the risk of investing in a first overall quarterback is as low as it has ever been, and rookie quarterbacks are currently entering the league and performing greater than levels of any rookie signal callers in the past.
Now is not the time to take a player at a less impactful position, nor is it the time to trade back and attempt to find a quarterback of value in the later rounds. The Kansas City Chiefs need to take a risk now, in order to avoid another colossal failure of a season. Take a risk now and perhaps sometime in the future the Chiefs will have a truly successful season.
Perhaps we can fly. All of us. How will we ever know unless we leap from some tall tower? No man ever truly knows what he can do unless he dares to leap.

Originally Posted by Mavericks Ace View Post
I have completely given up on Alex Smith as a qb. Its painful to watch. Like, worse than watching Colt McCoy.

Last edited by Sorter; 02-18-2013 at 09:38 PM..
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