NFL: Timing is Everything in Acquiring a QBOTF



Some guys have all the luck
Some guys have all the pain
Some guys get all the breaks
Some guys do nothing but complain

~Rod Stewart




It seems like some teams have all the luck in acquiring their quarterbacks of the future. The Green Bay Packers had Bart Starr and Brett Favre and now Aaron Rodgers. I recall when the 49ers had Joe Montana in place with Steve Young waiting in the wings. The Cowboys have had Don Meredith, Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman and now Dak Prescott. The Kansas City Chiefs have had Len Dawson and… err… Len Dawson and… well, Len Dawson.



The really good ones are hard to come by.



Since the Kansas City Chiefs last won the Super Bowl in January of 1970 — 47 years ago — the Pittsburgh Steelers have had two Hall of Fame level quarterbacks, Terry Bradshaw and Ben Roethlisberger, holding down the fort for 28 of those 47 years. Why is that so important — as if I need to tell you — but the Steelers have produced 8 Super Bowl appearances and 6 wins during the era since the Chiefs last appearance in the big show.


You may have guessed by now that I am assuming a link between excellent quarterback play… and Super Bowl appearances. True enough and while I’d be the first to tell you that Dan Marino — the Dan Marino of one Super Bowl appearance — is one of the best QBs ever, the chances of going to the grand game go way up when you have a top flight passer at the helm. Note: how cruel life in the NFL can be… that Marino made it to the Super Bowl in his second year only to never make it back there again.


So, how do these teams acquire such great quarterbacks when other teams flounder for decades without ever even sniffing a Super Bowl?





Timing. Timing. Timing.





That’s right, almost all of those teams has appeared to “luck into” their QBOTF by being in the right place at the right time. In 2004, when Ben Roethlisberger was drafted, quarterbacks Eli Manning (1st in the draft by San Diego) and Philip Rivers (4th in the draft by the N.Y. Giants) were getting all the attention because Manning refused to play for the Chargers and forced a trade to the Giants for Rivers.


While Eli Manning has been part of two teams to win the Super Bowl, Philip Rivers is 4-5 in the playoffs with no SB appearances. In the meantime, Ben Roethlisberger has been to three Super Bowls winning two, although he was the one drafted 11th overall. The selection of each of those QBs was based upon the good fortune of good timing. Manning and River’s teams were both 4-win teams in 2003 and it just so happened that there were three excellent QBs available in the top 11. That’s significant because all three could end up in the NFL Hall of Fame… while on the flip side, the year the Chiefs choose first in 2013, there were not only no elite QBs available but no elite LTs and they ended up selecting LT Eric Fisher. Fisher, while solid, is not only not a great LT but… he is also not a great QB either. If the Chiefs had chosen first overall the year before, they get Andrew Luck. The year before that? Cam Newton.



That’s exactly the point… timing is everything.



While some teams seem to “luck into it” other teams take advantage of the “timing” — a small window of availability — by taking a calculated risk. While there are no guarantees that a first round QB will work out, the Kansas City Chiefs have proven over the past 47 years that if you don’t take a first round QB, you can not expect a first round QB to lead you to a Super Bowl. Yes, they’ve drafted a couple during that time, but because those QBs failed is not a reason to abandon the practice of drafting potentially good one’s early and often. Otherwise, there is no such thing as good timing.



This year, the Chiefs general manager, John Dorsey, orchestrated a trade up to the 10th spot in the draft to take their QBOTF. Presumably.



Will it work out? Who the heck knows for sure?



On the other hand, if the Chiefs didn’t trade up and take a top rated QB, they’d be left, along with their fans, standing on the outside looking in, singing that old Linda Ronstadt tune, Poor, Poor Pitiful Me.


A year ago, the timing wasn’t right. It was right for John Elway, the Denver Broncos general manager, to trade up to the 26th pick, two spots ahead of the Chiefs, to take QB Paxton Lynch. It had been reported that the Chiefs were interested in Lynch and so while they may have felt the rug had been pulled out from under them, their trading up and selecting Patrick Mahomes II with the 10th pick in this year’s draft would seem to indicate that they did covet Lynch and were attempting to… make their own “timing” — in pursuit of a QBOTF.

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Paxton Lynch was my favorite value QB in last year’s draft as I have stated previously. While the “timing” didn’t work out to nail down Lynch, John Dorsey and Andy Reid have made a bold move by investing draft stock into one draft pick. However, not just any pick. A bonafide QBOTF. Some would have preferred that the Chiefs wait until next year’s draft when a supposed bevy of top-shelf quarterbacks will become available. There are several problems with that approach.


1. You Can’t Count on the Future– in 2012, the Chiefs backup QB Tyler Bray was rated a first round pick in the next year’s draft (one year into the future), however, the next year he didn’t perform as well and mostly because of off the field issues, we  saw him go undrafted. There are many other examples of that kind of depreciating value from one year to the next. That’s why so many QBs come out as soon as they can.

2. Finite Carpe Diem– John Dorsey seized the moment which is a necessary component of timing your play for a QBOTF. If you don’t take advantage of the now, the future you envision never comes. These opportunities rarely come around so you have to make a move or be lost in the dust.

3. Leverage: a Bird in the Hand– by trading away quality draft picks the Chiefs used the draft stock leverage that comes by having 10 draft picks in their pocket. While there might be a QBOTF available to the Chiefs in next year’s draft — which would be rare — is it nothing to be counted on. For the Chiefs, the move to take Mahomes is all wrapped up in the dovetailing career of starter Alex Smith. If JARD saw fit to pursue Paxton Lynch in 2016, they certainly were going to make a move 2017 to get their man. Consequently, 2018 would be entirely too late.


If Patrick Mahomes does well, fans will call the trade, and pick, a great deal but, if he fails it’s always the same: failure is failure whether you make that move or not. When Boston College product, Matt Ryan, was chosen by the Atlanta Falcons 3rd overall in 2008, he was thought by many to be a risk. Aside from Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck, it’s hard to think of any QB in the past 20 years who wasn’t considered to be a risk in some way or ways. Manning and Luck have been the only two that I can recall who were hailed as “sure-fire-can’t-miss” bets.


The likelihood that Patrick Mahomes will succeed is very good. Why? Because of the strength of the organization he’s been drafted into. The Chiefs are thought to have one of the top 3 or 4 deepest rosters in the AFC and the coaching/front office combo are as strong as you will find in the league. Stability is their byword.


The Chiefs could have tried to fill in a few gaps such as inside linebacker or offensive guard or cornerback but in each of those cases, they’d be essentially be drafting for the future or depth. The only pick they made this year who could see starting minutes is likely to be RB Kareem Hunt. Weighing the future contributions and/or depth at other positions vs. a possible QBOTF, the QBOTF should win out every time. Especially for the good organizations. Time will tell and… time will tell. See what I did there?



It’s all about the timing. I guess you had to be there.





Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, A time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories; They’re all that’s left you

~Paul Simon




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  • Laurels and limitations

    and IF PM2 becomes entrenched as the Chief’s starter while helping them be contenders for the next ten years every person out there will have to admit that Dorsey actually paid a pittance in acquiring him.

    • ladner morse

      I was kind of thinking that at the time of the trade… that the Chiefs had not paid very much to get their qbitf. The reality is that they paid plenty… BUT… not that much when you consider all the draft capital they had when there wasn’t room for ten new draft picks on the roster.

      • ladner morse

        Plus… if Mahomes and Hunt become perennial all-stars for years to come we will look back on this draft as “the” best draft in Chiefs history. This draft has that potential.

        • tm1946

          I really like the effort behind the Mahomes pick, Mr Dorsey did as much as he had to and should get all the props in the world. What other GM rolled the dice with the Chiefs? In turn, he also got us Alex Smith, not exactly a fan favorite, even with 10+ wins a year Alex Smith.

          Mahomes will work out or not, NONE of us have an idea what what he will do…. but what he represents is outstanding.

          Hunt – really ? Just what has he done to get this “potential” rating? Played good for a minor school? Speed in shorts? Do not see it other than we have more “just guys” at RB without (an injured) Charles.

      • Tazmosis

        And if Dorsey and Reid (please can the JARD….please!!!), we still have a team with great position players almost everywhere on the field, except where the need for great is most important. I thought the trade for Smith was a really good move, and that is now a proven fact. But he is what he is. He is not, has not, will not take this team to a championship. As happy as I was with the trade for Smith, I am over the top for the move up to get Mahomes. And as you have said, he is in the best place he could be to learn and grow. Will he take over in 2018? We don’t know that. I doubt it. Now, Dorsey has to figure out if Mahomes is not ready (doubtful), how do the Chiefs get away from that 20 mil + contract. Stay tuned.

    • Merlin

      If he doesn’t work out, bert will have a list of all the all-pros Dorsey could have taken with the three picks he gave up.

      • tm1946

        Sometimes a lot of knowledge is a dangerous thing. If you do not let it out, your head explodes and the wife is really pissed for days.

        • larry mckinney

          You mean we have a choice?

          • tm1946

            Which part? Knowledge and pissed off wife, doubt it. Discontent over Mahomes…. let’s just say Pride will give you diabetes and the other one only tolerates Chief’s uber allez.

      • berttheclock

        and, that is why I will continue to lurk, but, say very little in the coming future.

      • Laurels and limitations

        he’s already working on it, I’m sure.

      • Laurels and limitations

        we also need to remember that absolutely no draft pick is a sure thing. The odds are not in Mahomes’ favor of him becoming what MOST of us HOPE he can become if you take into account every QB that was taken in the 1st throughout history. That’s not going to ruin my high though.

    • Chiefly Bacon

      I remember looking at what Chiefs gave up and I was shocked by how little it was. Especially given what Chicago had given up to move up just one spot.

  • freshmeat62

    Getting away for a week and not thinking Chiefs every day (maybe every other day) I was able to settle down in my unhappiness of the Chiefs not going for what I thought were players that could help them win this coming year. JARD must really believe in Mahomes to make the trade they did. I also was thinking that maybe they don’t have faith is Smith being able to win 3 or 4 straight playoff games, so put off for another 2 or 3 years and build a stronger team for the future. (I had to come up w/ some screwball justification in order to accept this situation. After all it’s Chiefs then, Chiefs now, Chiefs forever!)

    I think it will be very interesting to watch and compare Mahomes and Lynch the next 12-15 years to see who comes out on top.

    • Presuming either is the QBoQ.

    • Laurels and limitations

      I keep on hearing the phrase “players that could help them win this year”, (pretty close to what you said, bub), and I’m not seeing where KC was going to find these players without trading up also. And when I say trading up, I mean WAY up. I’m sticking to the hot taek that KC;s roster is pretty much set already, and in order for a rookie to come in and take a starting role something drastic would have to happen no matter where they were drafted. Disclaimer: RB don’t count, lol.

  • berttheclock

    Today will be the last day in May. Even though in the 1848 poem by James Russell Lowe devoted to “The Vision of Sir Launfal”, Lowe noted that day of all was in June, I felt May was that month of very rare days. Largely because in my time of growing up in in KCK, that was the month we were able to leave school for summer vacation. Over the years, I thought of June as more of the month of “June is bustin’ out all over” and the month to really be able to begin to enjoy your short freedom.

    As Laddie will depart the Greater Dallas area for KCMO next month, I hope he has the luck of Sir Launfal in finding his Holy Grail with his homecoming.

    • ladner morse

      Many thanks Sir Bert. The last day in my 39 year tenure of instructing young minds comes to an end tomorrow at 11:45 AM. Now, I will do my best to undo all the damage that I caused to our society by embedding chaos into the minds of KC sports fans… and if that means also creating a little more love for the Chiefs along the way, so be it.

      My house goes on sale this weekend. It has been a sellers market here so I pray that continues into June.

      • Heilios

        Good luck selling your home. I hope it has a bidding war and drives the price up 3 fold. Look me up when you get to KC! I’ll see you at Arrowhead definitely

  • berttheclock

    So sad to read of the passing of Frank Deford, the outstanding sports journalist and author. I happen to highly respect the Fourth Estate in this nation and truly believe it is the last bastion of democracy. Mr Deford, after leaving Princeton, decided to become a sports journalist and was not afraid to take on the establishment. He was fierce against what he called greedy owners plucking whatever they could from cities, then, if they thought greener pastures could be plucked even better, left the fans of cities in the lurch. He was a bit younger than myself and I only wish I had been able to learn far more from him at an earlier age. He really was a throwback to the old school of writing. Some of the greatest writers of sports in this land evolved in the news print of papers or magazines such as Sports Illustrated of which Mr Deford excelled before moving into the NPT media.

    I was lucky enough to be able to read the prose of the legendary Jim Murray at the LA Times for years. KC had some great writers of its own, as well.

    Now, I suppose time may be passing the torch to bloggers. But, one thing in your own writing, never fear what anyone else may say about what you believe in or write about. Stand tall and fire away, but, believe in something beyond just using your thumbs to vent.

    Rest in peace, Mr Deford, Rest in Peace.

    • ladner morse

      KERA did a special on Frank Deford yesterday. Incredibly unique man. RIP.

    • ladner morse

      Deford once compared football to art…

      “What we accepted as great art — whether the book, the script, the painting, the symphony — is that which could be saved and savored. But the performances of the athletic artists who ran and jumped and wrestled were gone with the wind.

      Now, however, that we can study the grace of the athlete on film, a double play can be viewed as pretty as any pas de deux. Or, please: Is not what we saw Michael Jordan do every bit as artistic as what we saw Mikhail Baryshnikov do?”

    • freshmeat62

      I don’t remember ever reading anything by Deford, but I did see him makes comments on TV many times, and he seemed to make sense to me w/ his comments.

      What you say about the KC Star is right. So many times I see a ‘byline’ and think to myself, ‘hey I remember that guy he used to be at the Star’. Jason Whitlock is one that comes to mind. I used to get so po’ed at him sometimes, but after thinking things over, I’d think ‘yeah, he’s probably right’.

      But my issues w/ the Star are not w/ their sports dept, it’s the rest of that paper. I refuse to even click onto their site any more.

      • think about it, you might have to depend on the Joplin Glob.

      • berttheclock

        I know I am going to mess up the spelling, but, with the Star, I was thinking of Joe Posnanski more than anyone else.

      • larry mckinney

        Whitlock was, and is, very talented. He has something to say and it’s usually well worth paying attention to what he says. Great transition to the tube on Sports Reporters too. Sorry he left that post.

  • Okay Lad, I get it. There are parts of what you wrote that says to me, Yeah. There are other parts that use the short version of the Lord’s Prayer. So Okay.

    What I like? 1. Dorsey and his team determined that they were going after Mahomes and they did. 2. KC did draft a round 1 QB. 3. They effectively used the value of their picks to select they players they wanted.

    What would I do were I JD? Would Hunt be the only pick that would be a starter out of the gate? Nope. How much would I give away to get 2 starters out of this and a QB of Choice? I use Webb here because he was my choice. I do not believe that any QB in this draft is going to be a starter out of the gate anywhere. I could be wrong. I have been before(very often).

    Round 1: Trade up to get ILB Jarrad Davis. I give up 27 to get 21 to get my pick. What would it take? I think it would be a lot less impact than what the Chiefs did. My 2nd 3rd for example(Presumes that I had the trade partner. Or my 4th. whatever to get one of the two players. Davis would be my second choice and I think Reddick would be my first but either would be great This would be if I didn’t try to get Hasson Reddick by trading up to get in front of pick 13(Cardinals). I liked Davis all along.
    Round 2: Unlike Many here, I think Doug Pederson and his GM have the right things going on at Philly. They picked Sid Jones at pick 43. There had to be something I could do to get this pick or my OLB. This is a tough choice because a few players later, I would have liked to have traded up in front of 47 to get Tyus Bowser, OLB. Either way I think I have drafted up a success by using a trade here. Either trade here is going to cost me round 2, and one more probably.
    Round 3: I can see staying Pat to take Hunt but because I would have given up 3 to get my earlier round 1 pick, this pick would have to wait for pick 91. or I would have to trade up again because I was worried about Webb being taken in front of me. I think here I have a problem but if Webb were my QB, then I would trade up in front of 87 to get Webb. Would Hunt have still been around? The draft proved that Webb was going in the top 100 and Hunt also. I might have had to flush Hunt to get Webb because he was my QBoChoice.
    Round 4: Let’s say I gave up round 4 to get my round 2 pick. Maybe another pick too but later so it is hard to predict what would be needed to get the two above trades done. The Chiefs had picks 91 and 104 btw. We give up one pick but still have the other, so let’s say they have pick 104. Now I am looking hard for the RB or I have used 104 to get Webb. I am good with that. Picking the rest of the way is a crap shoot anyway. I got my ILB, I got my OLB or the CB of choice. I got the developmental QB in Webb and I Have traded up to get players. Earlier? I could get my ILB and trade down after that, realizing that I would be using picks to trade up again.
    I would say that if I got Reddick or Davis and then Bowser or Jones, I have two for sure starters. Webb is my futures pick and then I would use the rest of what I had left to get the RB and figure things from there. The question is, would I somewhere find the 3rd major contributor player, say in round 5? I THINK Dorsey would have figured that out. But who knows about any of it. I do think there were opportunities to trade up or down through the first 4 rounds. But again, who knows.

    • Laurels and limitations

      At least Tom Cruise had the ability to keep going back and trying again, and again. If you haven’t seen this movie, it’s kinda like Groundhog day, but with guns.

      • I like this film. but because of Emily Blunt. Just sayin’ . Well, she would garner my first round pick.

        • berttheclock

          Ah, the Brit ladies, eh? Her grandfather was present at the German surrender of forces in the Northwest part of Germany and the Netherlands. She is quite an accomplished actress.

          • there is another British actress with whom I am enamored, can’t recall her name, but she played opposite ford when both their spouses were killed. let me think or look.

          • Kristin Scott Thomas (Random Hearts)

        • Laurels and limitations

          you probably already know this, they have a second one that actually leads in to the first film and a third film in the works as well.

          • I didn’t. I don’t go to theatres any more(Hearing problems). Do my films at home…. and don’t keep up as I once insisted, same with Jazz.

    • I am not sayin’ that I don’t like Mahomes either. I am just thinking of how we might have done it were PH not the target.

  • Laurels and limitations

    "In college, you play football. In NFL, you learn football."- John Dorsey's message to Kareem Hunt proving true:— BJ Kissel (@ChiefsReporter) May 31, 2017

    • tm1946

      To a degree this is true…. but for the Chiefs, this is more about selling the 2017 draft and that those kids are not going to help in 2017. Just how long and how much has Ford learned and when he walks at the end of this year…. who gets the benefits of this advanced Reid training program…. just a bunch of Chief’s speak.

      • Laurels and limitations

        well, sure. There really are not too many rookies that come in on their year one and make a huge difference in any case. If you really want to see what new(er) players are going to make a difference in 2017 look at the 2016 rookies still on the 53 man roster.

        • tm1946

          Jones and ?

          • Laurels and limitations

            Morse, Ehinger (pre-injury), Peters, Fulton (believe it or not, lol), Tyreek Hill, West, and well….that’s about it. Now, somebody correct me.

          • tm1946

            You said 2016 rookies…. were all those kids rookies in 2016, guess my mistake thought some were rookies in different years??

          • Laurels and limitations

            they were, I was just trying to point out that we should expect more from second year players than we should actual rookies. I just didn’t do a very good job.

  • Laurels and limitations

    DR, the entrepreneur.

    I wish you could call remotes !— Demarcus Robinson (@honeythunder14) May 31, 2017

  • Laurels and limitations


    #Chiefs' Mahomes says he can improve but doesn't think he's "that far away" from being game ready. Via @TerezPaylor:— Jeff Patterson (@jeffpatt_KC) May 31, 2017

    • tm1946

      If only it was true. Imagine a QBOTF playing this year, imagine deep passes, imagine WR’s running all over the place. Imagine the possibilities.

      • Laurels and limitations

        Cats, living with dogs, it’s ANARCHY!

        • larry mckinney

          Oh, the horror!

  • Laurels and limitations

    Sorry for the language, it’s not mine. I cuss WAAAAAAY more in real life.

    In conclusion, Tamba Hali is a mother fucking warrior and every time I look at this picture I want KC to win a SB for him that much more— His Dirknes$ (@HisDirknesS) May 30, 2017

  • Laurels and limitations

    Mothership interview with KH after an OTA.

    • ladner morse

      Reading it now… nice to hear from him.

      • Laurels and limitations

        he has the correct attitude, I’m liking it.

        • ladner morse

          I like his demeanor too.

          • Laurels and limitations

            yup, he’s all in from learning from one of my favorite coaches, EB. This is actually exciting!

  • Laurels and limitations

    and to think, with Tennessee being the KC cast-off zone, the goons at some-will-not-be-named sports site actually ranked them above the 2017 team.

    The Titans have lost Matt Cassel for the next several weeks with a thumb injury. Now their back-up is… Alex Tanney.— Arrowhead Addict (@ArrowheadAddict) May 31, 2017

  • Laurels and limitations

    GE talking about his time in Dallas and how it is already paying off here in KC,

    TE Gavin Escobar has caught my eye by flashing some receiving ability in OTAs:— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) May 31, 2017

    • ladner morse

      Awesome… as always, thanks for posting it here. 🙂

  • Andy

    ‘Stability is their byword.’ I smiled because in the not so distant past…we were not.
    I cringe a little when I read about the chiefs history regarding this or that. Mainly because it excludes the main reasons for failure…leadership. I am convinced now more than ever that as a good GM and HC go, so goes the team. Our failures at choosing a qb was poor judge of talent by our leaders.
    You mentioned timing, but might have missed an additional point. Timing in this day and age has to include the salary cap. It had to play into Dorsey decision to draft a qb this season. Drafting our qbof now, potentially saves us a ton of dough, for many years…too keep or sign other players. Mahomes just has to be as good as AS, until he grasps the full spectrum of his position.
    There is no doubt Dorsey spent hundreds of man hours on this pick. Dorsey went and got who he wanted, didn’t get the best of what was left. And the jubilation by Dorsey after the pick…tells us a lot. For me, all this points to a better than even chance Mahomes makes good.