When they completed the trade for Alex Smith, quarterback was no longer a position of need for the Kansas City Chiefs during the 2013 NFL Draft. However, with Smith being a one or two year placeholder, it was surprising to see the Chiefs let the draft pass by without taking a quarterback. It was actually after the draft where the Chiefs found a quarterback, signing undrafted free agent Tyler Bray in a move that could work out well for both sides.
The Chiefs needed to come out of the draft with a young quarterback that they could start to groom, but taking a quarterback too early in the draft would have meant Smith having to look over his shoulder all season wondering when he was going to get benched for the younger quarterback in a situation reminiscent of what happened to him last year with the San Francisco 49ers. Bray is far too young and raw to overtake Smith for the starting job as a rookie after leaving the Tennessee Volunteers with a year of eligibility left. By signing Bray, the Chiefs will allow Smith to play the 2013 season without having to worry about being replaced, and at the same time they will have a chance to develop arguably the most talented quarterback in this year’s class.
Signing with the Chiefs has a chance to be equally fruitful for Bray. Whether it was a mistake for Bray to leave college a year early can be debated (oh, who are we kidding? Of course, it was a mistake), but he walks into the best situation possible in Kansas City. New Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has a history of working with young quarterbacks, and turning them into NFL starters, most notably A.J. Feeley and Kevin Kolb. Reid will have ample opportunity to work with Bray and turn him into a viable NFL quarterback if not more as Bray may be the most talented rookie quarterback Reid has had the chance to work with since he drafted Donovan McNabb in 1999.
Bray has a lot of learning and a lot of maturing to do before he’s ready to be an NFL quarterback, but in Kansas City he’ll have plenty of time to do that under the tutelage of Reid who is one of the best in the business when it comes to quarterbacks. As for the Chiefs, they made a low-risk, high-reward move by signing Bray, a player with a high ceiling that won’t make Smith fear for his job, at least not yet. If Bray works hard and takes the opportunity the Chiefs have given him seriously, it’s a move that could work out well for both sides down the road.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him to your network on Google+.