Chiefs should have traded up for Quinn

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Never mind that the Chiefs should not have been in a position to draft Brady Quinn with the 23rd pick in Saturday’s NFL Draft. That’s not important. The fact is, they were, and as Quinn tumbled out of the top 10 and continued to free fall, the Chiefs should have made a move to get him.

Like everyone else, I expected the Chiefs to draft a defensive player or a wide receiver. The names were out there, and the areas of need were obvious. However, all of that should have been tossed aside the moment the Miami Dolphins passed on Quinn with the ninth pick.

Carl Peterson, the Chiefs’ general manager, should have ripped up his draft board and started working the phones. He needed to do whatever it took to get Quinn in a Chiefs uniform.

Not only would Quinn provide the Chiefs with long-term stability at a position in which they haven’t had it since the days of Len Dawson, but also he single-handedly could have changed the fortunes of the franchise. Peterson has tried many things in his tenure as general manager, but he’s never had an opportunity to draft a quarterback in the first round. This was his chance.

And he blew it.

Peterson will tell you the price of getting Quinn was too high, and the Chiefs’ goal coming into the draft was to stockpile draft picks rather than trade them away. He’ll give you the runaround about getting younger players, creating depth and drafting positions of need.

Since when did this strategy take effect?

Peterson has been liberal in the past in regard to trading draft picks. He gave up a second-round pick for Patrick Surtain two years ago, and in 2001, he gave up a third-rounder for Dick Vermeil, a coach, before ponying up a first-round pick for a past-his-prime Trent Green. There are numerous other examples.

So why is it OK to give up a first-round pick for an aging veteran with an injury history, but suddenly absurd to think he would offer the same for a polished college quarterback who’s NFL-ready? (And I’m not convinced it would have cost the Chiefs a first-rounder had they been able to secure a spot ahead of the 22nd pick, where Quinn eventually was selected).

The teams that win Super Bowls in the NFL are generally the ones that have franchise quarterbacks. Look at the names in the last 20 years: Montana, Simms, Aikman, Young, Elway, Favre, Brady, Manning. Those names have accounted for 15 rings during that stretch. Sure, the occasional Trent Dilfer or Brad Johnson comes along, but I don’t anticipate the Chiefs ever building a defense as good as those Ravens or Bucs units.

I also don’t anticipate Brodie Croyle reaching all of his alleged potential once it’s his turn to become the starting quarterback after Damon Huard expires. If he does, consider me wrong.

The Chiefs haven’t won a playoff game since 1993, and haven’t made an attempt at rebuilding since Peterson arrived in 1989. It’s long overdue.

With a roster that’s among the oldest in the league, and with the team’s most talented players in contract disputes, the draft was as good a time as ever to start over. That wasn’t the plan coming into the draft, but it should have been once the possibility of drafting Quinn became realistic. Quinn is going to be a good NFL quarterback.

He could have been a Chief.

Jeff Rake is a junior in print journalism. Please send comments to sports@spub.ksu.edu.

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