NFL’S worst just can’t win

Jags, Chiefs bat­tle for a No. 1 pick that isn’t very strong this year.

Austin American-Statesman - - NFL -

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 , 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.

“You don’t want to be in this po­si­tion,” Jaguars coach Mike Mu­larkey said. “But if you pick up the right guy, it can make a huge dif­fer­ence for you and get you out of that po­si­tion.”

The Jaguars have never drafted first over­all. They had the sec­ond choice in their ex­pan­sion year of 1995 and again the fol­low­ing sea­son.

Kansas City is in sim­i­lar shape. The Chiefs have never had the No. 1 pick as mem­bers of the NFL — they chose Hall of Fame de­fen­sive tackle Buck Buchanan first over­all in 1963, when they were still a part of the AFL. The clos­est they’ve come since the merger is sec­ond over­all in 1978, ‘79 and again in 1988.

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

“I think you play to win,” Cren­nel said Wed­nes­day. “No­body puts an as­ter­isk in that win-loss col­umn, say­ing they lost be­cause they wanted the first pick.”

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 mid20s 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 on a re­cent con­fer­ence call with re­porters.

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