With two months to go before commissioner Roger Goodell steps to the lecturn to open the NFL draft, I have a prediction: The Kansas City Chiefs don't choose a quarterback with the first pick.
Yeah, I know, they need one like L.A. needs mass transit, and they'd take one if there were an Andrew Luck or Matt Stafford available.
But there's not.
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In fact, there's nobody even close, and if you think I'm kidding you weren't listening to what Frank Scelfo, Jacksonville's quarterbacks coach, said about Blaine Gabbert the other day -- namely, that if he were in this year's draft he'd be the No. 1 choice.
That should tell you something about the field. It should also tell you what the Chiefs' first move should be -- namely, anywhere but quarterback.
With the first choice you don't draft for need; you draft the best player out there. You go in one direction and one direction only, and that's for the sure thing. You absolutely, positively must be sold that whomever you choose steps in, starts and becomes the foundation of your franchise for the next 5-10 years.
So tell me which of these guys fits that description: Geno Smith? Matt Barkley? Tyler Wilson? Tyler Bray? All have holes in their games, and none is worth choosing with the first, second or third picks.
So that makes Kansas City's options easy: Either stay where you are and choose the best player -- a pass rusher, maybe, or a left tackle -- or find your quarterback with a later choice. The bottom line is that the Chiefs must be true to their board, choosing the guy at the top ... and I can't imagine any of these quarterbacks is anywhere near there.
In fact, one guy I trust who studied this class of quarterbacks thinks it's so underwhelming he's not sure there's a legit first-rounder in there.
That doesn't mean there won't be a quarterback taken in the first round. Of course there will. There will be more than one. It's a passing league, and clubs that don't have good, young quarterbacks can't wait to get their hands on one. So they reach, just as teams did in the 2011 draft when four quarterbacks went with the first 12 picks, leaving Andy Dalton to Cincinnati in the second round.
Dalton is the only quarterback in that class to make the playoffs his first two seasons, and there's a lesson there for Kansas City: Don't overdraft the position.
"We never reached (when I was at Dallas) -- except for one time," said former Cowboys executive Gil Brandt. "We were supposed to take Joe Montana (in the third round of the 1979 draft), but we had three veteran quarterbacks, and (then coach) Tom Landry said, 'I can't carry four quarterbacks.' So we took Doug Cosbie instead."
Cosbie was a decent tight end who was named to three Pro Bowls, but Montana was a Hall-of-Fame quarterback who won four Super Bowls.
Everyone knows the Chiefs need someone to replace Matt Cassel, but not with the first pick of the 2013 draft they don't. They can find one by trading out and moving down or by staying put and choosing a quarterback at the top of the second round, much as San Diego did in 2001. Instead of taking Michael Vick with the first selection, the Bolts that year traded the pick to Atlanta, then tapped running back LaDainian Tomlinson with the pick acquired from the Falcons and quarterback Drew Brees at the top of the second round.
The problem for Kansas City is that it chose the wrong year to bottom out. The 2012 draft was the time and place to find a quarterback with a high draft pick, with Luck and Robert Griffin III the first two choices. It's not just that they were the two best quarterbacks out there; it's that they were at or near the top of everyone's boards. So Indianapolis took the best player in the draft; Washington took the second best, and that's the way it's supposed to go.
Which means you can scratch Kansas City from choosing a quarterback with the first pick for one very important reason: That player should be the best player in the draft, and there's not a quarterback who qualifies.