Chiefs made head-scratching move

By Steve Sell
April 28, 2017

Tell me again why the Kansas City Chiefs felt the urge to trade up 17 spots to take a quarterback they probably could have landed had they stayed at No. 27?

The Chiefs made one of most jaw-dropping moves of the opening night of the NFL draft when they traded their own pick, plus next year’s precious first-round pick, plus one of their third-rounders this year to choose Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Mahomes was regarded as a late first-rounder by most of the draftniks or early second-rounder. But something lit the Chiefs’ fuse to move up and choose him, eschewing the more renowned Deshaun Watson of national champion Clemson. Watson went No. 12 to Houston and let’s hope he doesn’t develop into an All-Pro since he’ll probably start from Day One.

This is a bold move for a franchise that’s known for playing it close to the vest. Mahomes played on a mediocre Texas Tech team that often put up pinball numbers in the defenseless Big 12, where basketball scores are more the norm.

Mahomes is the first quarterback the Chiefs have picked in the first round since 1983, when they totally botched the No. 7 pick and went with Todd Blackledge, bypassing future Hall of Famers Dan Marino and Jim Kelly. Blackledge was an unmitigated bust who admitted he was surprised when he was picked so high. That shaped the Chiefs for the next 10 years as they were mostly terrible until Marty Schottenheimer finally righted the ship.

For Chiefs fans expecting the second coming of Dak Prescott, forget it. Mahomes — who is a terrific athlete — is going to be carrying a clipboard next year and wearing a headset, unless something happens to incumbent Alex Smith.

However, if the Chiefs cut Smith after next season (if they deem Mahomes ready), they would save id="mce_marker"7 million against the salary cap. The Chiefs have been financially strapped the last couple of years because of some forgettable deals that were made more on lifetime achievement  than current production. 

So it may be until 2019 before we know if the Chiefs mortgaged their future for dust in the wind. Mahomes played in a spread offense at Tech and has to learn to take the ball from under center. That may not sound like much, but you’d be surprised how difficult it is for college spread quarterbacks to make the transition.

Andy Reid is considered somewhat of a quarterback guru. Apparently he saw enough in Mahomes to push GM John Dorsey to pull the trigger on the Chiefs’ most aggressive move that anyone can remember. They are coming off a 12-4 season with Smith at quarterback, but he’s proven he can’t get the Chiefs deep into the playoffs. He’s a game manager, not a game-winner — a guy who’s going to make plays like a Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers to win a game. He’s not the biggest piece in the Chiefs’ puzzle, more like a best supporting actor.

Mahomes has all the physical attributes and certainly looks the part. Let’s hope he can play because the stigma of the Blackledge disaster still hangs over this franchise. If he’s a bust, the Chiefs will be set back another 10 years.