NFL’S worst just can’t win
Jags, Chiefs battle for a No. 1 pick that isn’t very strong this year.
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.