The Low Down On Chiefs Draft Wins And Losses

Written By Darren Cooper on April 23, 2022 - Last Updated on April 25, 2022
Kansas City Chiefs NFL Draft History

Every Kansas City Chiefs fan will be watching the 2022 NFL Draft in Las Vegas next week to see what the Chiefs will do.

Then they will say the player they wanted them to pick would have been better.

The Chiefs, coming off an AFC Championship Game appearance, have 12 selections in the upcoming seven-round NFL Draft, starting with two picks (29 and 30) in the first round.

Based on the offseason moves, trading Tyreek Hill, Kansas City probably goes wide receiver.

Every NFL franchise has had its booms and busts in the NFL Draft. The Chiefs are no different. These are the notable moments in the Chiefs’ 63-year draft history.

Perhaps just as much fun as watching the upcoming draft, Kansas City fans are eagerly watching how the Legislature will handle the ongoing discussions deciding on how and whether to legalize Missouri sports betting.

With that in mind, here are the Chiefs draft wins and losses.

He was No. 1, then played two

The Chiefs were born the Dallas Texans before relocating to Kansas City. They played in the original American Football League and their very first selection (sixth overall) was E.J. Holub out of Texas Tech in 1961.

Holub was notable in that he played both ways. He was a standout linebacker and center for the Chiefs. He started Super Bowl I at linebacker and Super Bowl IV at center.

All for one: Buck Buchanan & Eric Fisher

The Chiefs have been remarkably consistent as a franchise. They have only picked first in the draft twice.

In 1963, the Chiefs, who had just moved to Kansas City, took defensive end Buck Buchanan with the no. 1 overall pick. Buchanan became a keystone of a Super Bowl defense.

Fifty years later, Kansas City was first on the clock again.

In 2013, the Chiefs took offensive tackle Eric Fisher out of Central Michigan. Fisher had an uneven career, not what you want from a no. 1 pick.

He played eight years with Kansas City and is now with the Indianapolis Colts. One for two isn’t bad.

Three for two: Still, Bell & Smith

Three times Kansas City has had the second-overall pick in the NFL Draft. In 1978, it took star defensive end Art Still out of Kentucky. Still made four Pro Bowls.

The following year, the Chiefs had the No. 2 overall pick again and they took another defensive lineman, Mike Bell, who was from Wichita. Bell was … decent. He had 52 sacks and started 99 games in a 12-year career.

Maybe the best No. 2 overall pick in Chiefs history was in 1988, with Neil Smith out of Nebraska. Smith was a star in his years in KC with 85.5 sacks and forced an incredible 28 fumbles.

The lost Cowboys

As rivals, the AFL and NFL often selected the same players in their respective drafts. In the early 1960s, there was a regular bidding war for players. The Chiefs/Texans didn’t win many.

The Texans drafted Hall of Fame defensive tackle Bob Lilly with their second pick in 1961. He went on to a great career with the Cowboys.

So did the Chiefs’ 16th-round pick in 1964. His name was Roger Staubach.

In 1965, the Chiefs used their first-round pick on legendary Kansas running back Gale Sayers. He never played for the Chiefs, spending his career with the Chicago Bears.

Can you imagine a backfield of Staubach and Sayers?

The best Chiefs draft picks ever

It’s easy to say, Patrick Mahomes, well, duh. He was a first-round pick in 2017, the 10th overall and his career is remarkable.

What about the lower rounds? The Chiefs have found some stars there.

The best fourth-round pick in franchise history was in 1965 when the Chiefs took wide receiver Otis Taylor out of Prairie View A&M.

The following year the Chiefs got running back Mike Garrett in the 20th round. Garrett and Taylor were part of the Chiefs’ first Super Bowl-winning team.

Running back Christian Okoye was a second-round pick of the Chiefs in 1987. Okoye, who had one of the best sports nicknames ever, “The Nigerian Nightmare,” came out of Azusa Pacific (he was there for the track team). He ran for 4,897 yards in six seasons in red.

Speaking of nicknames, “The Human Joystick,” Chiefs star kick returner Dante Hall was a fifth-round pick in 2000.

Current Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop was a seventh-round selection in 2009, and don’t forget that star tight end Travis Kelce was a third-round pick in 2013.

That’s pretty good value.

The big misses

1983 is a legendary year in the NFL Draft, with six quarterbacks taken in the first round.

There was John Elway.

There was Dan Marino.

Unfortunately, the Chiefs got Todd Blackledge with the seventh pick that year. The pick wasn’t crazy at the time, Blackledge was an accurate, cool leader at power Penn State, but his skills didn’t translate to the pro game. Blackledge made just 24 unremarkable starts.

And there is something about the Chiefs and wide receivers with odd names. Florida State gave the Chiefs Craphonso Thorpe in the fourth round in 2005. He was cut after training camp.

The Seminoles also gave the Chiefs Snoop Minnis, a third-round pick in 2001. Snoop struggled to catch on, finishing his career with just 34 catches.

In 1982, the Chiefs grabbed Anthony Hancock out of Tennessee in the first round, 11th overall. Hancock fumbled five times in his career and had 73 catches in five years.

Chiefs 1986 first-round pick Brian Jozwiak was supposed to anchor the offensive line for a decade. He started just three games in three years before a hip injury ended his career.

Perhaps the biggest miss of all-time for the Chiefs was on a house. Michigan tackle Trezelle Jenkins was nicknamed “The House” because of his size and power. The Chiefs took him late in the first round in 1995, but this House was a mess. He played for three years and only started one game.

Photo by Associated Press
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Darren Cooper

Darren Cooper was born and raised in Southern Louisiana, just a short pirogue ride away from New Orleans. He started his journalism career at the New Orleans Times-Picayune and has been a writer and columnist in New Jersey since 1998. He's won 14 statewide press awards and earned his first Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 award in 2022.

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