December 27, 2012 in Sports

Chiefs, Jaguars in ‘race’ for No. 1 pick

Prize may not be too great in weak draft
Dave Skretta Associated Press
 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The joke running through Jacksonville these days carries the same punch line as the one in Kansas City:

“Our team is so bad it can’t even stink in the right year.”

The Chiefs and Jaguars will vie for the top pick in the NFL draft in separate games Sunday. But the value of “winning” the race to the NFL’s worst record is debatable in a year without a clear, franchise-changing prospect.

There’s no Andrew Luck in this unlucky draft.

No Robert Griffin III, either.

Just a collection of talented young players who could fill holes at left tackle or linebacker or defensive end, but hardly push the needle for teams in desperate need of massive overhauls.

The Chiefs and Jaguars are both 2-13, but the Chiefs hold the tiebreaker for the No. 1 spot because of their weakness of schedule. The only way Jacksonville can jump them is if they lose to the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City beats the Denver Broncos, who are playing for an opportunity to secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

That would give the Jaguars the worst overall record by themselves.

The Jaguars have never drafted first overall. They had the second choice in their expansion year of 1995 and again the following season. But they’re also the only team in the NFL to pick in the top 10 each of the last six seasons, counting the upcoming draft.

That’s a big reason why general manager Gene Smith, the architect of their past four drafts, might not be around to make their choice.

Kansas City is in similar shape. That’s a big reason why GM Scott Pioli could be on the way out, too.

One thing Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel isn’t thinking about is how valuable a loss to the Broncos would be.

“I think you play to win,” Crennel said Wednesday. “Whether you win or lose, that’s what everybody looks at and that’s what counts. Nobody puts an asterisk in that win-loss column, saying they lost because they wanted the first pick, something like that.”

The Chiefs and Jaguars are both desperate for a quarterback in a year in which the crop of players at football’s marquee position is thin. West Virginia’s Geno Smith, USC’s Matt Barkley and North Carolina State’s Mike Glennon are considered the top talents available, but most analysts have been putting their value somewhere in the mid-20s of the first round.

That means the Chiefs and Jaguars would be reaching for a franchise quarterback.

“This year, there’s no strength at the top,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said.

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