Using Picks For QBs … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

This NFL week started with a one of the league’s most established quarterbacks changing teams as Donovan McNabb was traded by the Eagles to the Redskins for a pair of draft picks.

On Tuesday, the subject was the most likely player to be chosen with the first selection in the 2010 NFL Draft – QB Sam Bradford. The Rams, whether at home in Los Angeles or St. Louis, have not drafted a quarterback in the first round in 46 years.

That’s the longest drought without drafting a first-round passer in the league. The Chiefs are tied for the third longest streak at 27 years, or since they grabbed Todd Blackledge with the seventh choice in the first round of the 1983 Draft.

But that doesn’t mean the Chiefs haven’t used first-round draft choices to get their starting quarterback. And, it doesn’t mean they haven’t used plenty of draft choices on QBs over 27 seasons.

Since Blackledge was picked by head coach John Mackovic, only two other quarterbacks drafted by the Chiefs have started for the team: Brodie Croyle and Doug Hudson, a little-known 1987 draft choice who was signed during the players strike that year and started one of the replacement games. Since Blackledge’s last start with the Chiefs on September 20, 1987, there have been 10 games where the starting quarterback was a Kansas City draft choice. That’s 10 out of 377 regular and post-season games – one for Hudson, nine for Croyle.

That’s 3 percent of the games!

 The number of draft choices the Chiefs have spent on quarterbacks since 1983 is 17. That includes a pair of first rounders that were used in trades with San Francisco for Joe Montana (1993) and St. Louis for Trent Green (2001). They also used a second-round pick to get current starter Matt Cassel (2009) last year from New England.

Croyle was a third-round selection in 2006. When the Chiefs traded with Dallas for Steve Pelluer in 1989, they gave up third and fourth-round draft choices (1991). In 1988, the Chiefs sent S Mark Robinson and fourth and eighth-round picks that year to Tampa bay for Steve DeBerg (right). It was a fourth-round choice that the Chiefs sent to San Francisco in 1995 for Steve Bono. Hudson was picked in the seventh-round of that ’87 Draft.

Those were all quarterbacks acquired with draft choices that started games. Here are the rest of the draft choices the Chiefs used on QBs that did not start a game:

1988 – Danny McManus, 11th round (#282).

1989 – Mike Elkins, 2nd round (#32).

1992 – Matt Blundin, 2nd round (#40).

1994 – Steve Matthews, 7th round (#199).

1995 – Steve Stenstrom, 4th round (#134).

1997 – Pat Barnes, 4th round (#110).

2005 – James Kilian, 7th round (#229).

Combined, the nine quarterbacks started 10 games and played in 22 games, with 16 of those belonging to Croyle. Blundin played in two games, while Hudson, McManus, Elkins and Barnes played in one game each. Matthews, Stenstrom and Kilian never saw the field.

What’s the chance of the Chiefs using a draft choice on a quarterback in 2010? Many observers around the league believe they are seriously interested in Jimmy Clausen (left); although Scott Pioli has given no indication of that interest. The presence of Clausen’s former head coach Charlie Weis on the coaching staff is the formula that’s giving those folks 2 + 2 = Clausen to the Chiefs.

The sampling of Pioli and his drafts isn’t big enough yet to make any concrete assumptions about what direction the team might go, so it would be folly to rule out Clausen. The presence of Cassel makes the selection of Clausen doubtful, but it would not be a surprise if Pioli drafted a quarterback with one of those eight selections. We have to return to the Patriots Way to understand why a passer may pop up among the Chiefs choices. Even though Tom Brady was just 24 years old when he became the Patriots starting quarterback in 2001, Pioli and Bill Belichick used four draft choices on quarterbacks, grabbing them in the third, fourth, sixth and seventh rounds in the seven drafts starting in 2002. That seventh-rounder was Cassel in 2005.


Over the 50-year history of the franchise, the Texans-Chiefs have had 29 starting quarterbacks. From that group, there were seven of their draft choices. That’s less than 25 percent.

The other 22 came from a variety of avenues as free agents, Plan B free agents, unrestricted free agents, trades and the waiver wire. Here’s how it breaks down:


Year Acquired

How Acquired


Cotton Davidson


Signed as FA


Randy Duncan


Signed as FA


Len Dawson


Signed as FA


Eddie Wilson




Pete Beathard


1st-round, #2


Jacky Lee




Mike Livingston




Tony Adams


Free Agent


Steve Fuller


1st-round, #23


Bill Kenney


Free Agent


Todd Blackledge


1st-round, #7


Frank Seurer


Free Agent


Matt Stevens


Free Agent


Doug Hudson




Steve DeBerg




Ron Jaworski


Free Agent


Steve Pelluer




Mark Vlasic


Plan B FA


Dave Krieg


Plan B FA


Joe Montana




Steve Bono




Rich Gannon


Free Agent


Elvis Grbac




Warren Moon




Trent Green




Damon Huard




Brodie Croyle




Tyler Thigpen




Matt Cassel





“It feels like being drafted again.”

That’s how Donovan McNabb crystallized his feelings on Tuesday about his trade from Philadelphia to Washington. The Redskins held a press conference to introduce their new No. 5 to the District.

“You’ve been selected by a new team,” McNabb added. “You’re going through all the emotions of learning new plays, being with the guys, working out. So it feels like I’m about 22 again.”

McNabb is 33, with 11 seasons as the Eagles starting quarterback now behind him, he joins with Mike Shanahan and hopes for a re-birth of sorts.

“Sometimes change is better,” McNabb said. “Sometimes you’re forced into change. I would have loved to (finish his career in Philadelphia) but it didn’t happen. They’re rebuilding, and they’re going young. I never knew 33 years old was old, but I guess I’m too old.”


  • CARDINALS – re-signed UFA S Matt Ware.
  • COWBOYS – RFA DE Marcus Spears signs tender offer; ERFA LB Steve Octavien signed.
  • JAGUARS – ERFA CB William Middleton signed.
  • JETS – signed K Clint Stitser.
  • PANTHERS – signed K Steve Carter.
  • RAIDERS – signed DE Chris Cooper.
  • RAMS – signed UFA LB Na’il Diggs (Panthers).

20 Responses to “Using Picks For QBs … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • April 7, 2010  - Tracy says:

    Just when was it that drafting and developing a QB came to be a kind of NFL gospel? Or is it even gospel?

    The Chiefs seem to have shied away from it their entire existence. Perhaps they lacked a QB guru who could take a talented neophyte and make him All Pro.

    In the recent–i.e., 20 to 30 years–past, Mike Holmgren did that at Green Bay and Bill Walsh did it at San Francisco. But was there such a person in Miami when Dan Marino arrived, or was it huge talent on his part? Ditto for Peyton Manning in Indianapolis and John Elway in Denver, although Elway seemed shackled until Mike Shanahan became head coach.

    Trent Green played at a high level for several years but (a) he had been around several years before he achieved that, (b) he was a great student of the game and (c) he was paired with Dick Vermeil who, while he did not necessarily develop Trent, did express and show great faith in him.

    Is Charlie Weis the guy who will help Matt Cassel get the most out of his talent, or is there somebody else on the coaching staff who will do that?

    Perhaps most puzzling is why the organization has never utilized Len Dawson as a QB tutor. His knowledge of the game is vast and it seems that if he were to spend a couple hours a week in a film room with the QBs going over the previous week’s game, they would likely learn a lot. He does it every Sunday with the radio audience.

  • April 7, 2010  - el cid says:

    I would like to add, for the last 20 years Len Dawson could see plays develope before it happened yet the Chiefs chose to ignor his talent or could not figure out how to use them. You could get a education listening to the radio with Len.

  • April 7, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    Blundin, Elkins, Blackledge, Bono, Grbac…that was a fairly depressing article, Bob.

    I can’t help but wonder if we’ll soon be adding Matt Cassel’s name to the list of “less-than-impressive” Chief QB’s. I sure hope not. But, I could definitely see it happening.

  • April 7, 2010  - True Red & Gold says:

    Drafting a QB is risky business. It has always been a safer bet to use a first round draft choice to trade for one that has already proven himself. Bradford would be hard to pass up though. It is not much different than Vegas, the lure is just to great to stay away.

  • April 7, 2010  - jimbo says:

    Excellent analysis & great points.
    I too am amazed we don’t utilize the talents of Lenny Dawson. Surely it has been talked about by various coaches through the years.

    I’m ok with the Chiefs drafting a QB in the later rounds. Like many others I’m not sold on Matt Cassel just yet.
    Go Chiefs.

  • April 7, 2010  - el cid says:

    Mad Chief, some of the problem was lack of coaching. As best as I remember we never had any kind of guru pitching coach. Guys like Dick Curl, an assist. to the coach but could he coach a QB?

    Always had a warm feeling about Bono. After a sunday game, sportscenter announced a Chiefs play and said “Folks, this may take a moment” and showed Bono roll out with only a TE (Walters?), the team went left, the defense went left and those two went right. Nobody but NOBODY was in sight, Bono rolled down the field for a TD but my goodness was he slow like a slug in the mud. Loved every minute of it.

  • April 7, 2010  - el cid says:

    Got my metiphors mixed, not pitching but QB, another senior moment.

  • April 7, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    el cid,

    Oh, hell yeah…that Bono run is right up there with my favorite Chiefs plays of all time. Nobody on Earth saw that one coming. It was such a crazy play call…which is why it actually worked!

  • April 7, 2010  - Enrique says:

    el cid:

    I loved that as well, in fact, Chris Berman used to called Bono, Steve “I got you Babe” Bono whenever he executed a naked bootleg – the signature play of his career.

  • April 7, 2010  - SG says:

    “I can’t help but wonder…”

    Man who fed you the depressants for breakfast? Cassel is already performing better than most of those guys we drafted. And just ponder this – we have Weis to go with Haley for that offense (and two serviceable WR’s to throw to).

  • April 7, 2010  - Tracy says:

    Soren Petro has mentioned several times that we, the listening/viewing audience, see any number of games each week and thus are probably more exposed to various situations–go for two after a TD, use of timeouts, etc.–than many coaching staffs who generally see one game, that being their own.

    One wonders if the coaching community is so insular in their approach to the game that their focus keeps them from seeing things that appear obvious to us lesser mortals.

    Perhaps that is why the Chiefs have not turned to Lenny for QB help. Hope not, but that possibility exists.

    Thanks for the kind remarks, Jimbo.

  • April 7, 2010  - napahobbs says:

    I would never spend a 1st round pick on drafting QB. For every one Peyton Mannings there are ten Ryan Leafs. The risk/reward is just toooo big.

    I would either pick a QB in 3rd-4th round and develop him for a few years or trade a 2nd/3rd round pick for a “proven” (or a least potential)QB ala Matt Cassell.

    As for Len Dawson mentoring…that one stumps me also.

  • April 7, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    SG says:
    ” Cassel is already performing better than most of those guys we drafted.”

    Yeah, but looking at “most of those guys we drafted”…that’s not exactly saying a whole lot. Cassel played decent at times…and pretty poor at times, too. And I certainly hope Weis can help him improve. Although, I would like to see the guy have more than “serviceable WR’s” as targets.


    Despite what Petro says, I’d be willing to bet that most coaching staffs watch more game film than “us lesser mortals” would ever care to. And to suggest that we, the fans, are more informed about football in general than an NFL coaching staff? That’s just plain silly.

  • April 7, 2010  - colby says:

    Trading for a proven QB, or at least one that has gotten his feet wet is my own personal preference. I prefer to see my team use a 1st round pick on a big man or a CB, because the risk/reward is lower. If a late round QB works out, then great, but that is also a rarity. Trent Green and Joe Montana both led us to the playoffs and gave us some great memories.

    My favorite QB play (outside of the Bono boot) was a game in 2001 (or 2002, can’t remember) against Miami when Priest took the ball right, reversed field and crossed all the way around to the left and scored a TD. Trent Green was the only guy in front of him and Green knocked Zach Thomas on his ASS in the open field. That was when I knew Green was the man!

  • April 7, 2010  - Enrique says:


    It was 2002, and the one Dolphin that Trent knocked down was Miami S Arturo Freeman.

  • April 7, 2010  - Enrique says:

    And I agree with you, Trent was the man.

  • April 7, 2010  - t-rob says:

    That was a great read. Excellent stats. Thank you for posting this article. Love this website.

  • April 7, 2010  - Jim Lloyd + says:

    SG says
    I agree about Matt and if Brodie get’s into that body building deal that Matt is , if he is not already there , I think the outcome would make him a player …

  • April 8, 2010  - arrowhead1978 says:

    Trent Green was supposed to be Vermiels starter in St. Louis, before he broke his leg in the preseason and Kurt Warner became a big name. It’s a good thing that happened or the chiefs would have never got him. Vermiel liked Green from when he was a backup on the Redskins.

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