A New Chief: Marcus Mariota to Kansas City?

Over the next four weeks, FishDuck.com Feature Writer Caleb Couturie will be analyzing the 25 teams in the NFL Draft that may look to select Marcus Mariota.

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No. 16: The Kansas City Chiefs

KC’s Draft Pick: Eighteenth

KC’s 2015 Cap Space: $(-2,091,582)

KC’s Top Needs: WR, DB, OL

Kansas City is a good team, which is unfortunate considering how great they could be. Jamaal Charles leads a talented backfield that combines power and speed to constantly keep opposing defenses guessing. Kansas City also has an excellent defense, allowing the fifth and second least points per game in 2013 and 2014 respectively. The only reason KC isn’t a serious Super Bowl contender is due to a lack of one thing: a passing game. Alex Smith, although smart, doesn’t take that many risks and often looks for check downs in the passing game. As a result, KC has the league’s 29th worst passing offense with under 200 yards per game. To Smith’s credit, KC doesn’t exactly have a lot of talent for him to throw to. Now, although Smith is a fine QB, it’s a well known fact that an average QB will never lead a team to a Super Bowl. The worst Super Bowl winning QB in recent memory was the 2002-03 Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Brad Johnson, and that was over ten years ago. In short, Alex Smith will not be the man to lead the Chiefs to the next level. Is it time for a change?

HOW IT CAN HAPPEN:

KC trades Alex Smith, 2015 first and second round picks and 2016 first and third round picks for the No. 1 pick from Tampa Bay. KC just signed Smith to a four-year extension in 2014, a deal the Chiefs organization is most likely regretting already. Not only did the 17 million a year make a major dent in their cap space (which is why they’re in the negative), but it also made it difficult to move Smith if they felt they needed a QB change. Few teams have the cap space for Smith’s contract, but luckily for KC, Tampa Bay is one of those select few. The Bucs’ 30+ million in cap space could afford to take on Smith’s contract, which would free up tons of room for KC while also giving the Bucs a solid QB to finally starting building around.

Smith is by no means a bad QB, but since he is definitely not an excellent QB he couldn’t make the situation in KC work. As I mentioned earlier, he had very few weapons to throw to, so the blame is not all his. If Smith were to move to TB, he’d have a bounty of weapons to work with and maybe finally get a shot at proving he deserves the money he’s being paid. For KC, although it would take a year or two for Marcus Mariota to develop, they get a guy that fits well in to their system and who can change the entire course of their organization. The other major benefit of moving Smith is that the extra 17 million in cap space could be used to re-sign Justin Houston, the corner stone of the Chiefs’ defense. Houston hit free agency this year, and after accumulating 43 sacks over the last three years he’s most likely looking for a major deal.

HOW MARIOTA WOULD DO IN KC:

In theory, he has the ability to do very well. Although many people worry about Mariota’s capability to take snaps under center, the redshirt junior has been working diligently with center Hroniss Grasu at this practice, and should have very little difficulty transitioning to the pro level in that regard. KC’s passing offense is very basic, too. Lots of short underneath routes and screen passes. The passing offense is also heavily reliant on the backfield, which is why not a single WR caught a TD for KC this year (Charles and Travis Kelce led the team with five apiece).

If the big worry about Mariota is his downfield passing ability, this is certainly an offense that he should thrive in. Limited downfield passing should work to Mariota’s strengths, and the thought of reuniting Mariota and De’Anthony Thomas is scary to say the least. With Charles, Thomas, Kelce, and hopefully a few added weapons from future drafts, Mariota would have both a young and talented offense to work with in the coming years. Also, with Mariota at the helm, Andy Reid could implement new formations and play schemes that he never could with Smith running the show. Mariota’s dual threat abilities far outweigh those of Smith, and could help to make KC’s offense much more explosive.

WOULD HE START?:

Veteran backup QB, Chase Daniel, would most likely get the starting nod for a few weeks while Mariota settled into the offense, but after that Mariota would be the clear cut No. 1.

QUICK HITS:

KC’s Projected Record with Mariota: 10-6

KC’s Projected Record W/O Mariota: 7-9

Mariota’s first year stats: 3,200 yards/20 pass TDS/6 Ints/6 Rushing TDs

Top photo from en.wikipedia.org

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