Much has been made about the Kansas Chiefs appearing to pass on drafting a quarterback in the first round of the draft. The conversation was furthered today in a piece by Joe Posnanski who mentioned the statistics about the Chiefs not selecting a quarterback in the first round since 1983, the Chiefs affinity for San Francisco quarterbacks, and the trend of trading high draft picks for someone’s unwanted quarterback. While all of this is true, the situation now is different than in the past.
At some point the Chiefs will need to draft a quarterback in the first round when they identify the guy that makes the most sense for their team. General manager John Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid are willing to spend first round picks on quarterbacks – Aaron Rodgers and Donovan McNabb being the two picks – so there doesn’t need to be a fear that trades like the one for Alex Smith are going to become common place under this regime. The question isn’t really why the Chiefs won’t spend a first rounder on a quarterback, it is a question of when it will happen.
We know this: This is not the year the Chiefs will go quarterback in the first round. And that’s okay, given the available quarterback and where the Chiefs are drafting. But it does not mean the Chiefs will ignore the quarterback position in this year’s draft. Reid and Dorsey have a long history of selecting quarterbacks and have proven to get a lot of value out of mid and late round quarterback selections.
Andy Reid’s Quarterbacks Selected in the Third Round or Later from 1999-2012
John Dorsey’s Quarterbacks Selected in the Third Round or Later from 1997-2012
1997: Ron McAda, 7th round
1998: Matt Hasselbeck, 6th round
1999: Aaron Brooks, 4th round
2002: Craig Nall, 5th round
2006: Ingle Martin, 5th round
2008: Matt Flynn, 7th round
2012: B.J. Coleman, 7th round
In 30 combined drafts, Reid and Dorsey overseen the selections of 14 quarterbacks, 10 of them being in the third round or later. Not only are the Chiefs going to be drafting quarterbacks, they are going to be getting value out of many of them.
The famous one of the 10 above is Matt Hasselbeck, who led the Seattle Seahawks to a Super Bowl in 2005. He is the rare modern age starting quarterback who is capable of leading your team to a Super Bowl who was drafted in round three or later. We remember the Hasselbeck’s and Tom Brady‘s who were drafted late and would become great players. The reality is most quarterbacks drafted in the third round or later never amount to much.
Of the 114 quarterbacks drafted in the third round or later since 2000, only 20 have managed to start 16 games or more. And of the 20 quarterbacks to start 16 games or more only five – Brady, Matt Schaub, David Garrard, Kyle Orton, Russell Wilson – have winning records as starters. Brady is the only quarterback to have at least 10 more wins than losses.
So, no, the odds Kansas City will find a starting quarterback in the later rounds are not great, but Dorsey and Reid have had success in finding solid quarterbacks. Dorsey and Reid found three starting quarterbacks between Hasselbeck, Brooks, and Feeley. Reid got 24 starts (9-15 record), 28 touchdowns and 31 interceptions from his late round quarterbacks. Dorsey helped find two starting quarterbacks who started 90 games or more (Hasselbeck and Brooks) to go along with solid backups like Flynn and Nall. The four quarterbacks to have appeared in a game for Green Bay (or someone else) all have thrown more touchdowns than interceptions.
Combined, five of the 10 quarterbacks to be drafted in the third round or later made a start. They are a combined 128-140 as starters.
For perspective, the nine quarterbacks the Chiefs have drafted in the third round or later from 1980 to 2012 have gone 9-26 with 29 touchdowns and 48 interceptions. The last two to start, Brodie Croyle and Steve Stenstrom, were a combined 1-19 with 12 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.
This isn’t a knock on previous Chiefs administrations. Finding an average quarterback in the mid to late rounds is a hard thing to do. Dorsey and Reid have just been that good at finding average quarterbacks or better consistently. Yes, coaching, scheme, rosters, and luck are among the variables Reid and Dorsey had going for them, but at some point you have to give credit to Dorsey and Reid for recognizing the talent and developing it.
No, the quarterback problem the Chiefs have will not be solved this season. But you can be assured Dorsey and Reid know what they are doing when it comes to quarterbacks.