If the Kansas City Chiefs believe a quarterback is the best player available to them when they pick 23rd in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday, then they should take him. Absolutely. I'm signing on to that idea here and now. It's never a bad idea to draft a quarterback, if the team that selects him truly believes he will eventually become a great one.
It's a horrible idea to draft one for any other reason, even need. This is precisely why it's troubling if the Chiefs are considering selecting a quarterback in the first round, which according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, they are. Negotiations with starting quarterback Alex Smith on a long-term contract extension aren't going well and, Rapoport says, the Chiefs would consider drafting Smith's replacement because of it.
I'm having trouble getting my arms around this one. One minute the Chiefs consider Smith their long-term solution at quarterback and want to sign him to the extension, as chairman Clark Hunt has said. The next they're ready to find his successor?
This isn't how Hunt, general manager John Dorsey and coach Andy Reid wanted to operate the Chiefs. They have a long-term plan they will adjust as they see fit, but not because they're having trouble signing a key player 10 months before he's scheduled to become a free agent.
That type of move smells not of anything in a long-term plan, but of panic. Make no mistake, if the Chiefs draft a quarterback based on what they believe will be a need next year, that's a panic move. They made a commitment to Smith by trading for him last year and they're ready to scrap him at the first sign of trouble?
And if they panic on this, it follows the Chiefs will panic on other things to come. If they do that, don't plan on another Super Bowl for the Chiefs for a lot of years to come.
No, the Chiefs need to continue to build their team the best way they see fit, regardless of where they are in their negotiations with Smith. If a quarterback is available to the Chiefs on Thursday, they should take him if they believe he's going to be great.
If not and he's merely Plan B in case they can't re-sign Smith, forget about it. Move on to another player at another position.