Having the first overall pick in the draft is a big deal, and this year that “honor” belongs to the Kansas City Chiefs. Unlike last year when the Colts picking Andrew Luck was a no-brainer, the Chiefs are going to have to exercise some brainpower in figuring out which player they should take. So, what are their options?
Option 1, a quarterback: There’s no denying that the Chiefs need a quarterback, as Matt Cassel does not appear to be the answer, neither does Brady Quinn. Geno Smith of West Virginia and Matt Barkley of USC have long been considered the top quarterback prospects available this year, but both have seen their stock fall considerably since the college season started, and neither may be deserving of the number one overall selection.
If the Chiefs are set on taking a quarterback with their first pick, they would likely look beyond just Smith and Barkley, and consider Mike Glennon of N.C. State, Ryan Nassib of Syracuse, and Tyler Wilson of Arkansas as well. However, none of those choices warrant the number one overall pick. Whichever player they go with would be far from a sure thing, and carry a considerable amount of risk.
Option 2, the defensive line: Kansas City has some talented linebackers and is in decent shape in the secondary, but they could certainly use some help up front. Defensive tackle Star Lotulelei of Utah is the top defensive lineman available and would give the Chiefs the kind of punch they’re looking for up front, but it’s unprecedented to take an interior defensive lineman with the first overall pick. There are also two outside players that are a possibility in Damontre Moore of Texas A&M and Bjoern Werner of Florida State. Both are great pass rushers that could play on the outside of the line or standing up as a linebacker. The Chiefs already have a strong pass rush, but there’s no such thing as having enough versatile athletes that can get after the quarterback, and both Moore and Werner would give them one more. Neither one screams “top overall pick”, but both will be top-5 picks, and wouldn’t be much of a stretch to go number one overall.
Option 3, the offensive line: Just like they need help on the defensive line, the Chiefs also need help on the offensive line. If that’s the route they choose to go then the only viable choice for the top overall pick is Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M. Joeckel went head to head with the best pass rushers in the SEC all season long, and would give the Chiefs a cornerstone piece on the offensive line for a lot of years to come. It’s not sexy to go after offensive linemen with the top pick, especially with a new head coach in place that’s trying to make a splash, but Joeckel would be deserving and would immediately improve the Chiefs on offense.
Option 4, a trade: This may be the best move, as the Chiefs have plenty of needs to fill and may be better off collecting as many picks as possible. With several needs and a lot of possibilities on who to take with the first overall pick there’s a lot of pressure to make the right choice, and falling back in the draft order would make those decisions a little easier. Of course, without a consensus number one pick like Luck was last year, there’s less interest in trading for the pick, which decreases the value the Chiefs could get in return if they decide to make a trade.
Whatever choice the Chiefs end up making with the first overall pick, it better be the right one. There’s a lot of pressure on new head coach Andy Reid to turn things around quickly after a two-win season, and the first pick in the draft will be the ceremonial starting point for that turnaround, so the Chiefs can’t afford to make the wrong decision.