Everybody, and nobody. Somebody?
There’s no greater insult to this year’s draft class than the number of teams eager to either sign or trade for stop-gap options at the position. Since they were terrible, the Chiefs were given the opportunity to draft the best available player. This is how the draft works: bad teams get the opportunity to become better — and often immediately — at the position of their choosing.
Yet the Chiefs sent a second-round pick to San Francisco for Alex Smith, seemingly committing to him for the short term. Geno Smith visited Kansas City as part of his world tour this week, a stop that was accompanied with heavy billowing black smoke.
But what of those other potential and likely Smith destinations in the first round? Quickly, it’s looking like Buffalo, or…?.
Smith is this year’s quarterback with several shades of gold on his arm. Must be nice, because I only have shades of white. So much white.
The difficulty with this draft, though, is that there’s no anchor at the top, a role usually assigned to the top quarterback. Last year, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III split those duties, and two years ago it was Cam Newton. This year, Smith isn’t nearly as highly coveted, especially after a week of shuffling in which all the quarterbacks moved somewhere.
Let’s look at the possible future places of employment for Smith early in the opening round on April 25, and let’s do it listicle style.
Some may even call this a ranking.
1. Buffalo Bills (No. 8)
Yeah, I know about Kevin Kolb. Do you? He’s not that great (#analysis), and he may only be a slight upgrade over Ryan Fitzpatrick. But for the Bills right now at quarterback, that’s OK, because Kolb was paid an affordable price (a contract that maxes out at $13 million over two years), thus making him either a fine bridge to Quarterback X, or a mildly expensive backup.
If Smith makes it past the Jaguars and Raiders (see below), he will be Quarterback X, and he’ll almost definitely start immediately. And in the incredibly unlikely event that Smith isn’t deemed ready for the starting spot right away, then Kolb is a fine placeholder behind a much better offensive line than what he dealt with in Arizona, even after the departure of Andy Levitre. Last year Kolb was sacked 27 times over just six games, and once every 6.7 drop backs. That makes my bones hurt.
The most important takeaway here is this: Kolb in no way, whatsoever, at all even remotely keeps the Bills from drafting Geno Smith. If anything, he may add motivation to take Smith since the rookie could be eased in if desired.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 2)
The Jaguars attended Smith’s Pro Day workout, an act that may mean absolutely nothing, or everything.
Bailing on Blaine Gabbert following his still very moderate time as a starter (24 career starts) after he was a first-round pick just two years ago is scary, especially when the Jaguars would be doing it for a quarterback whose projections are scattered at best. Despite the allure of Smith and the need to acquire insurance if Gabbert continues to flop, a pass rush that recorded a league low 20 sacks is desperate for a premier presence.
That’s why Dion Jordan should be the Jags’ pick if they don’t trade out of the No. 2 slot. Then if they so desire, a quarterback can be selected when Jacksonville begins the second round with the 33rd overall pick. Plenty of quality talent (Ryan Nassib, Mike Glennon, and maybe E.J. Manel) will still be on the board.
3. New York Jets (No. 9)
In the — again — highly unlikely event that the Bills pass and maybe look towards pairing Nassib with his college head coach Doug Marrone in the second round, the Jets will have an incredibly difficult decision to make at No. 9.
They signed David Garrard, and sadly he’ll have a legitimate chance to start over Mark Sanchez. Combine that with Sanchez’s infamous albatross of a contract that will pay him $8.25 million next year and $20.5 million guaranteed total, and Smith just doesn’t make much sense logistically. Yet still, if somehow he’s there, serious consideration may be given to either trading or axing Sanchez, and starting over.
Your immediate response to that will be “why the hell would anyone trade for Mark Sanchez????!!!!1″. If the Browns could find any trade market at all for Colt McCoy, there will be a buyer for Sanchez.
And then, everyone else…
The Chiefs are busy trying to convince us that drafting Smith is a real thing they might do. But after they traded a second-round pick in this year’s draft to San Francisco for Alex Smith, taking the other Smith would mean that their first two picks are invested in two quarterbacks, and the Chiefs then wouldn’t draft a non-quarterback until 64 other players are off the board. That’s…not good.
The Raiders? Maybe, but here we encounter a similar problem with wayward draft investment. If Smith is selected with the third overall pick a few weeks after two picks over the next two years were given away for Matt Flynn, four picks would then be invested in three players at the quarterback position (the other being the second-round supplemental pick given up for Terrelle Pryor). And amazingly, that would come only a few years after Oakland gave up first-and second-round picks for Carson Palmer, and he’s already playing his football elsewhere.
Drafting Smith would communicate that the Raiders have no idea what they’re doing at the most important offensive position since they would be giving up on Palmer, trading for Flynn, and then spending a top three selection on a QB within the span of one month. It’s a communication from management that Raiders fans are quite familiar with.
The Browns aren’t a fit either since they’re only a year removed from using a first-round pick on Brandon Weeden, and now Jason Campbell is behind him after Colt McCoy was shipped out. And for abundantly obvious reasons, the Cardinals are out after they acquired Palmer.
So rejoice, Bills fans. By default, you’ve likely found your quarterback.