I was critical of the idea that the Kansas City Chiefs should invest their first-round pick in the NFL draft, 11th overall, into drafting Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill. But I won’t deny that a long-term plan at the position is ideal, and while I’m skeptical of the notion that the next quarterback of the Chiefs will be found in the draft, there are dark horse possibilities that can be found in the middle rounds. One of those possibilities is San Diego State quarterback Ryan Lindley.
Lindley is a classic project. At 6’3” 229, he’s got the proto-type build for an NFL quarterback, and he’s got a cannon for an arm. Scouts love his ability to rifle throws outside the hash marks and on the long ball. He’s tough in the pocket, willing to stand in and take a hit.
But those same scouts have less complimentary things to say about the more delicate parts of his game. His accuracy is inconsistent—paradoxically, he’s sharp on the long ball, while hit-and-miss on the short and medium routes. His reads aren’t what they need to be, and even when they are, he can force the ball at times when prudence would be the better part of valor.
There’s not a lot of complexity regarding Lindley. He can either bring his decision-making and accuracy into line with his physical talent and toughness, or he can’t. In the quarterback’s favor, he’s been praised by his college coaches for his commitment to the film room. And in fairness to Lindley, he’s been passed through three different offensive coordinators in his career.
The scouting report on Lindley and his college career suggest that he has a decent chance of overcoming his flaws. At the very least, he’d be worthy of a third-round selection. If Kansas City wants to go quarterback, they are much better off taking a flier at this level of the draft than forcing a more valuable pick on Tannehill.
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