End of the Stanzi Era

QB Ricky Stanzi

There was little doubt that when former General Manager, Scott Pioli, was running the draft three years ago, he was going to reach back into his college roots and select former Iowa Hawkeye Quarterback, Ricky Stanzi. On Sunday to the surprise of no one, the Chiefs cut that draft pick.

It's often been said that drafting and developing a quarterback is the hardest thing to do in the NFL. First, you have to get a young man who has the physical tools, the mental tools and the ability to make the jump from the college game to the demanding NFL. But more so that quarterback has to be drafted by the right team.

When the Chiefs took Iowa Hawkeye Quarterback, Ricky Stanzi, just three years ago in the 5th round - I was elated. After all, he had the size, the arm strength, the mobility and clearly the intelligence to be a solid NFL quarterback.

He also came from a university that ran a pro style offense that should have equated into success on the NFL stage. But that never happened for Stanzi. Instead, he became another quarterback draftee who has never seen the light of day.

I'm not sure why the Chiefs franchise has never developed one of their college quarterbacks into a division winning, playoff caliber performer. It's absolutely mind-boggling.

We could chronicle all the failures but it's a moot point. But there were contributing factors beyond drafting the wrong guys. Without a doubt coaching, over-evaluating at the scouting level and a lack of playmakers offensively to surround those failed quarterbacks were key contributors to the Chiefs inability to breed a superstar at that position.

Still despite those failures, I was sure Stanzi would be different. When he came to camp in 2009 he was without a doubt the best quarterback that summer. Under then Offensive Coordinator, Charlie Weis, he outperformed incumbent starter, Matt Cassel.

That was until he ran out onto the field in a game situations where he fizzled in every exhibition game he wore a Chiefs uniform. Even after a rocky rookie season, a year later, he had another strong camp but when the lights came on again - he withered into mediocrity. Thus he was relegated to third string with no chance to move up the depth chart.

When Head Coach, Andy Reid, arrived in January, he made it clear his job was to find the next, Len Dawson, to lead the Chiefs. That was a pretty bold statement by Reid but he wasn't blind to the fact, there wasn't a quarterback on KC's current roster that could run his complex west coast offense.

So he jettisoned the aforementioned, Matt Cassel, but still kept Stanzi, even after trading for Alex Smith and signing free agents, Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray.

In May, I heard whispers that Stanzi was starting to pick things up a bit under Reid. So there was modest hope, maybe he could beat out Bray for KC's clipboard duties. But as the summer progressed, it was clear that Stanzi was just an extra arm in practice and nothing more.

The failure of Stanzi isn't a big surprise to any Chiefs fan. In fact, because so many of the Pioli era draft picks have been busts in Kansas City, his ouster from the roster on Sunday was a given.

As the 2013 season is about to begin for the Chiefs, that future hope now rests in the hands of young, Tyler Bray, who has to become a sponge learning the ropes under Smith the next two years.

Though technically he wasn't drafted by the Chiefs (and perhaps that's the secret), Bray should be considered KC's quarterback of the future.

So will Bray's fate be more like Dawson or Stanzi? With Reid in charge, I'll lean more toward the Chiefs Hall of Fame Quarterback than the former Iowa Hawkeye.

Chiefs Early Roster Cuts: 1) Vince Agnew - DB - (CMU)
2) Miguel Chavis - DE - (Clemson)
3) Terrance Copper - WR - (East Carolina)
4) Ryan Durand - OL - (Syracuse)
5) Hutch Eckerson - OL - (South Carolina)
6) Otha Foster III - DB - (West Alabama)
7) A.J. Hawkins - OL - (Mississippi)
8) Rob Lohr - DE - (Vanderbilt)
9) Kamaal McIlwain - CB - (Newberry College)
10) Jordan Roberts - RB - (Charleston)
11) Tyler Shoemaker - WR - (Boise State)
12) Ricky Stanzi - QB - (Iowa)
13) Neiko Thorpe - DB - (Auburn)
14) Braden Wilson - FB - (Kansas State)

Do you think Ricky Stanzi will find another NFL home?

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