Of all the problems the Kansas City Chiefs have had this season, the quarterback position is by far the biggest. Matt Cassel has had ample opportunity to be a starter and has failed miserably, Brady Quinn hasn’t fared much better, and the Chiefs don’t appear to be willing to give Ricky Stanzi a chance. That means the Chiefs will be shopping for a quarterback in next year’s draft, where they’ll be picking quite high. Let’s take a look at some of the college quarterbacks the Chiefs will be eying:
Matt Barkley, USC – Barkley was once considered the slam-dunk choice to be the first overall pick in next year’s draft, but now that’s far from a certainty. However, even after a senior year that has been far from the dream season he had in mind when he decided to return to school, Barkley might still be the best available quarterback.
The Chiefs will definitely be taking a good long look at him and it’s possible if they like what they see they could make him their first-round pick. Of course, the Chiefs may be wise to consider the track record of former USC quarterbacks in the NFL – a list that includes one of their current quarterbacks.
Geno Smith, West Virginia – Smith was the Heisman frontrunner in September, but his accuracy wasn’t particularly impeccable during his team’s five-game losing streak in the middle of the season, and he quickly fell out of contention.
Still, he could challenge Barkley as the first quarterback taken in the draft and will likely end up being an early first round selection, which means both the Chiefs could also take him under consideration. He has the arm to play in the NFL, but whether he can come in and turn a franchise around remains a question mark.
Tyler Wilson, Arkansas – Wilson is another guy who did not have the kind of senior season he wanted to, but he’s definitely someone with the talent to play on Sunday’s. When Wilson has time to throw he is a deadly accurate passer, in addition to being a team leader and one of the toughest quarterbacks around.
The Chiefs could hold off on a quarterback in the first round and hope Wilson is still around early in the second round, which is a possibility. But it’s also possible that a team becomes smitten with Wilson and he quickly moves into the upper half of the first round, much like Ryan Tannehill last year.
E.J. Manuel, Florida State – Manuel is arguably the most athletic quarterback in this year’s class, which makes him an intriguing possibility. He can make plays with his legs, and at 6’5’’ he’s much taller than the other athletic running quarterbacks in the NFL like Mike Vick and Robert Griffin III.
Whether he has the throwing accuracy to be an NFL starter is something scouts will debate, but he’ll most likely be available in the second and possibly third round, and if the Chiefs want to take a shot with an athletic quarterback Manuel could be the way to go.
Tyler Bray, Tennessee – Bray could become a wildcard in this year’s draft now that he’s chosen to leave school a year early. He has as much talent as any quarterback in the draft with a big arm that’s capable of making all the throws. However, he may not be ready to come in and start right away, especially for a team like the Chiefs with so many problems across the board.
Bray has lacked leadership and maturity in college, and at times hasn’t valued the football and been turnover prone, which could hold him back from being a first round pick. If Kansas City wants to play the high risk-high reward game they could take Bray, especially if they plan to hold onto Cassel until the end of his contract.