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Smith an upgrade, but Chiefs will still chase QB in draft

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs evaluated and interviewed the top eight quarterbacks at the NFL Scouting Combine last week.
 
Coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey obviously didn't feel any one of those eight could step immediately into the starting role this season and lead the team.
 
In desperate need of a quarterback, Dorsey and Reid maneuvered a deal with the 49ers to land Alex Smith, who now will hold the position until the next best option comes along.
 
That option still could be a quarterback from this year's draft. It just likely won't be with the Chiefs' No. 1 overall pick.
 
Already, mock drafts everywhere are quickly adjusting to the Smith trade (which becomes official March 12) and Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel is being typed in as the projected pick for the Chiefs at No. 1.
 
That's certainly possible, perhaps even likely. Reid no doubt wants a left tackle to protect his quarterback for the next 10 years, no matter if it is Smith or any other quarterback under center.
 
Selecting Joeckel, though, isn't a slam dunk. The Chiefs could still opt to sign pending free agent Branden Albert, who has had back issues but still is regarded as one of the top left tackles in the league.
 
The Chiefs likely will tip their hand regarding their top pick if they let Albert walk in free agency next month by not presenting him with a competitive offer.  If that happens, Joeckel has to be their guy.
 
But if Albert is re-signed, one would suspect that Reid and Dorsey will move away from Joeckel. And since there isn't a slam-dunk projected No. 1 prospect this year, Reid and Dorsey probably will be shopping that top pick to any team that will listen.
 
The compensation for Smith is expected to be a second-round pick this year - No. 34 overall - plus a conditional pick in 2014. That means Reid and Dorsey certainly will be in dealing mode to try to reacquire a second-round pick and more for their first overall pick.
 
Of course, the fact that there isn't a consensus top prospect in the draft will make dealing the No. 1 pick all that much harder.
 
Still, since most draft experts have proclaimed West Virginia's Geno Smith the top quarterback available, there could be an interest from the other quarterback-starved teams. The Raiders (No. 3), Cardinals (No. 7), Bills (No. 8) and Jets (No. 9) all may want to move up to assure they get their quarterback.
 
And don't assume that just because the Chiefs now have landed Alex Smith that they won't be drafting a quarterback at all this April. Dorsey was trained under the Ron Wolf-Ted Thompson philosophy in Green Bay that dictates that you can never have enough quality depth at quarterback.
 
When Brett Favre was the quarterback in Green Bay, Wolf still drafted Mark Brunell, Matt Hasselbeck and Aaron Brooks, all of whom eventually became starters elsewhere. Reid was on the Packers staff during that time.
 
When Thompson became the GM in Green Bay, he, of course, selected Aaron Rodgers, even with Favre still the No. 1 quarterback.
 
As Dorsey watched from the scouting department, Thompson also drafted Matt Flynn, Brian Brohm and B.J. Coleman even though Rodgers was the No. 1 guy.
 
It is a philosophy Reid endorsed in Philadelphia, where even after drafting Donovan McNabb, Reid also drafted A.J. Feeley, Andy Hall, Kevin Kolb and Mike Kafka in later years.
 
Last year, Reid drafted Nick Foles with Michael Vick as his starter.
 
Smith isn't likely to mind that there will be a prospect around in Kansas City with visions of the No. 1 job as well. Smith, by all reports, handled his demotion in San Francisco with class and with a team-first attitude. In fact, that attribute is likely why Reid is so high on Smith.
 
So who will the Chiefs target in the draft from this year's quarterback class?
 
If the Chiefs are able to work a trade to get back a second-round pick, they might get lucky and have Syracuse's Ryan Nassib fall to that round. Reid reportedly was somewhat intrigued by Nassib.
 
Arkansas' Tyler Wilson, another possible fit, likely will be a second-round pick that could be available.
 
And if the Chiefs have to wait until later rounds to find that prospect, Reid and Dorsey may be intrigued by Arizona's Matt Scott or Duke's Sean Renfree, both of whom have flown under the radar.
 
The bottom line is that as much as Reid loves Smith - remember that Reid courted Smith in free agency last offseason - both Reid and Dorsey will find another quarterback to develop in Kansas City this April. Stocking up at quarterback will be the new philosophy at Arrowhead.
 

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