This is the worst year ever to have a top 3 pick.
Matt Stafford doesn't measure up to last year's 3rd overall pick, Aaron Curry lack of pass rushing skills are well documented, I don't no anyone who has actually seen Jason Smith play, Eugene Monroe doesn't have a high ceiling, Michael Crabtree isn't as athletic a receiver as usually goes in the top five, and Mark Sanchez couldn't stay healthy in the Pac 10. And last year's #3 pick was signed to a contract making him the third highest paid player in the NFL and was actually worth it. Wherever Curry goes he'll be the highest paid linebacker in NFL history. With the draft's lack of a lock Pro Bowler and the burden of signing a top pick, it's possible that every team with a top 8 pick is looking to trade down.
So what could Kansas City expect to receive by trading down? Last year's first round trades in the top 10 are palatable: Jacksonville gave up two thirds and a fourth to move from 26 to 8, and New Orleans traded the 10th pick and a third for the 7th pick and a fifth. Note that these deals worked out incredibly well for the teams trading down: New England still ended up with the defensive Rookie of the Year and Baltimore won two playoff games and seems to have finally found there quarterback. But the bottom of the top 10 ain't the top of the top 10 and – get this – no team has traded into the top five since 2003. And remember, at least two teams in the top three are looking to trade down. So what if teams start passing on picks, and should the Chiefs give it a try?
I don't think the idea is so radical, although no team not employing Mike Tice (at least the Chiefs got Ryan Sims. Oops.) has ever tried it in the first round. For those that don't know, when the clock expires on a pick than the next team then can turn in their pick at any time, but so can the team for which the clock ran out. Princeton alum Ross Tucker thinks Detroit should do it, and I've been hoping, like Jim Rome was hoping they go 0-16, that they listen to him, because it would make great television. Let's say Detroit says we want Stafford – St. Louis and Kansas City certainly won't draft a quarterback, let's wait until Seattle is on the clock to turn in our card and save some money. Then St. Louis says we want either tackle, lets wait until Smith or Monroe goes before we turn in our card and save some money. How great would that be to watch! A game of hot potato to avoid being the first team to drop $40 million on a draft pick in the world's worst economy since the dark ages! Would you want Pioli to blink first?
How about something that is slightly more likely to happen: Stafford and Smith go 1-2, and the Chiefs have no preference between Monroe and Curry. Last year's third pick Ryan got 6 years, $72 million, $34.75 guaranteed. McFadden at 4 got 6 years, $60 million, with $26 million guaranteed; K.C. gave fifth pick Dorsey five years, $51 million, $22 million guaranteed. Granted Ryan is a QB, but you know the agent for the third pick is going to look to come close to those numbers. So what if the Chiefs can save $1 million a year by being the first team to purposefully pass on a first round pick? In order to not be ridiculed by the myopic sports media, the general manager that tries it would have to be respected, preferably having won Super Bowls (check), and the team would have to be in a market with generally positive media (check). Pioli is the only guy who should pass on their pick that can pass on their pick.
Saturday's Zach Thomas gives the Chiefs options in draft, because Curry looked like an obvious pick on Friday with their lack of linebackers and 31st ranked defense (not that Thomas should be expected to significantly affect the latter). I believe the pass rush knock isn't fair, but linebacker is the most fungible position besides your second best safety (I'd say running back is third and fullback doesn't count). On the other hand, above average left tackles are rarer than hens teeth and even stiffs in free agency make top 10 pick money. So while I didn't love the signing on the surface because they've added two starters at LB with a lot of mileage, I do like the fact that it gives them options at 3. And the option I think they should take is passing.
About the Author
Written by Ryan Cleaver
Ryan Cleaver was born in Björk’s house in Iceland and grew up on Easter Island, where his parents were giant stone heads. He has the ability to fire beams of tacos out of his hands and he can turn his legs into tigers. On Sundays, Ryan enjoys reading Family Circus and traveling through time. His favorite color is greenish-transparent and his favorite movie is the one you just watched.