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Chiefs have rough history of starting quarterbacks

Chiefs have rough history of starting quarterbacks

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Chiefs are turning away from a former seventh-round draft pick whose career is spiraling toward ignominy, and putting the offense in the hands of a former first-round draft pick whose own career thus far has been a disappointment.

Matt Cassel is out. Brady Quinn is in.

Nobody is quite sure whether the Chiefs will be any better off when they host the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, but what's clear is that the quarterback situation in Kansas City is dire.

It's been that way for years, too.

The reasons for the quarterback conundrum range from the Chiefs' inability to develop their own prospects to their refusal to pick one early in the draft. The result has been this motley collection of starters over the past five years: Tyler Thigpen, Damon Huard, Brodie Croyle, Tyler Palko and Kyle Orton, along with Cassel and Quinn.

Kansas City has selected just one quarterback in the first 100 picks since 1992, when Matt Blundin - Remember him? Didn't think so - was the Chiefs' second-round choice.

They haven't picked one in the first round since Todd Blackledge in 1983.

The failure of the Chiefs to pick a high-profile quarterback early in the draft resulted in years or fan animosity directed at former general manager Carl Peterson, and even more at current GM Scott Pioli, who acknowledged that upgrading the position is a priority.

``There's a lot of issues,'' Pioli said, ``and that position is one of them.''

Pioli doesn't have to look far for a blueprint in drafting a quality quarterback, or one early in the draft: The Kansas City Royals have been pretty good at it.

The Chiefs' parking lot neighbors chose outfielder Bubba Starling with their first-round pick last summer, and doled out enough money to persuade the highly recruited prep quarterback to eschew a scholarship offer from Nebraska to patrol a minor-league outfield for them.

Then there was the Royals' memorable 1979 draft.

With their fourth-round pick, they chose a hard-throwing right-hander out of Pittsburgh's Central Catholic High School. Dan Marino nearly signed with Kansas City before taking a scholarship offer from Pittsburgh, and would go on to have a Hall of Fame career with the Dolphins.

When the Royals' pick rolled round in the 18th round, they took an outfielder from Granada Hills High School in Northridge, Calif., who had a decent bat and big upside. John Elway wound up going to Stanford, though, and then had a Hall of Fame career with the Broncos.

Incidentally, the Chiefs drafted Clemson quarterback Steve Fuller in the first round the same year. He was 19-23 as a starter over parts of seven seasons in Kansas City and Chicago.

Why is so much value placed on drafting a quarterback in the first round? Wasn't Tom Brady picked in the sixth round, and Tony Romo not drafted at all?

It's a fair argument, sure. But of the 32 starters in the NFL (if Blaine Gabbert goes Sunday for Jacksonville), 24 are former first-round picks - including Quinn and his counterpart on Sunday, the Raiders' Carson Palmer.

Three more were selected in the second or third round.

Five of the first six quarterbacks taken this year are starting, and Brock Osweiler - the one who isn't - is backing up Peyton Manning in Denver. Not a bad gig.

What's more, 20 of those starters were drafted by their current team, and two others - the Giants' Eli Manning and the Chargers' Philip Rivers - were swapped on draft day.

``There's nobody that has a bigger impact than the quarterback,'' Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel acknowledged in announcing his QB change this week. ``That impacts the whole team. You look at it and decide what you're going to do and go forward with it.''

It's not like every quarterback chosen in the first round pans out.

The only one take ahead of Quinn in the 2007 class was LSU's JaMarcus Russell, who went first overall to Oakland and was out of the league after three forgettable seasons.

Quinn certainly hasn't lived up to expectations, either.

He went 3-9 as a starter in Cleveland, where his completion rate was just 52.1 percent, and where he threw 11 interceptions against 10 touchdowns. Quinn eventually was dealt to the Broncos and signed in Kansas City this offseason as a free agent, where he was expected to back up Cassel.

Now, he's getting the start on Sunday against the Raiders.

So the Chiefs have a first-round draft pick starting at quarterback after all.

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

The Capitals are the Eastern Conference Champions!

After dispatching Tampa Bay in Game 7, the Caps claimed the conference crown for just the second time in franchise history. But they're not done yet. Now it's on to Vegas to face the Golden Knights for the Stanley Cup.

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir break down the Caps' win over the Lightning and look ahead to the matchup with the Knights.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

The pre-draft workout process can be an exhausting journey for players, with so many flights, hotel rooms and NBA arenas that they can all blend in together. Michigan big man Moritz Wagner, though, may have felt a sense of comfort in Washington for his pre-draft workout for the Wizards on Wednesday.

It was just over a year ago that his Michigan Wolverines cut down the nets at Capital One Arena as champions of the Big Ten conference.

"It was good memories, man. Never gets old," he said while glancing around the stadium.

Wagner, 21, will be seeing a lot more of Capital One Arena once he joins the NBA ranks and it is conceivable he ends up in Washington. They hold the 15th pick in the first round and the 44th pick in the second round and Wagner could be within their reach.

Wagner had an impressive workout in Washington and could provide what the Wizards need. He is a big, mobile and can spread the floor. Wagner was terrific at stepping out to hit threes off pick-and-rolls at Michigan and that ability would work well with Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall.

Wagner measured in at just under 7-feet at this month's NBA Combine, fifth-tallest among those who attended. He averaged 14.6 points as a junior this past season and made 39.4 percent of his threes on 4.1 attempts per game.

With three years of college experience and an NBA-ready jumper, Wagner believes he can step right in and help the Wizards.

"I think what we did at Michigan, sharing the ball and playing as a team, very organized basketball, that can help big-time," he said. "It's basically pro basketball I was playing on a different level."

As Wagner will tell you, he is very confident in his abilities. He is comfortable in his own skin and that includes openly discussing his faults. He feels good about his ability to score at the next level. Defense is where he needs to prove himself.

Despite his size, Wagner wasn't much of a rim protector in college. He averaged just a half-block a game as a junior. The Wizards need rim protection badly and he likely would not provide that.

Wagner, though, believes he can bring more to the table defensively than the numbers would suggest.

"I think I've been an offensive guy all of my life, but the more that you mature as a player, you understand that both sides are important. Without defense, you aren't going to play at any level," he said.

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen, especially with the way the league is going. Switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Wagner is from Germany and looks up to Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki, who is entering his 21st season and will be in the Hall of Fame someday. Nowitzki's game has always been built around shooting and, though he developed into a decent shot-blocker in his prime, was never an elite rim protector.

Wagner hopes to follow in his footsteps playing a similar style.

"He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball," Wagner said. "It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

Hear more from Wagner in his one-on-one interview with Chris Miller in our latest Wizards Tipoff podcast. His interview can also be found in the video above:

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