Best &Worst Chiefs Draft Choices

The assignment was this – starting with the combined AFL-NFL Drafts of 1967, choose the best and worst of the selections by the Chiefs over the last 44 years.

There were a couple hundred players drafted in that time, all the way from Gene Trosch, the first Kansas City selection in 1967, to Cameron Sheffield, the final player selected by the Chiefs in last year’s draft.

According to the voting there’s no doubt about whom Chiefs fans believe was the best and worst:

  • Best Chiefs draft choice – OLB Derrick Thomas.
  • Worst Chiefs draft choice – QB Todd Blackledge.

By the time we got done counting the votes from various sources – e-mail, comment posts and submissions from Twitter – there were 87 approved votes for both categories. Some were not counted because they involved picks before 1967 (Bobby Bell was the favorite on those) or players who were not Chiefs draft choices (Len Dawson got several votes.)

Thomas, the team’s first-round choice in the 1989 NFL Draft, received 55 votes, far and away more than any player in either category. No surprise given his Hall of Fame career over 11 seasons. The only other draft pick that received 10 or more votes was G Will Shields (third-round choice, 1993) with 11.

The remaining 21 votes were split up among 10 other choices – MLB Willie Lanier, TE Tony Gonzalez, G Dave Szott, DE Jared Allen, OT John Alt, CB Kevin Ross, WR Carlos Carson, C Jack Rudnay, RB Joe Delaney and DE/OLB Tamba Hali.

Blackledge was the Chiefs first-round draft choice in 1983, the seventh player selected and the second of six quarterbacks that went in the first round. Half of those QB selections are now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Blackledge finished his time as a Kansas City starting quarterback with a winning record, 13-11. But he was a major disappointment at the position.

He received 36 of the 87 votes for worst draft choice, 41 percent of the vote. That was well ahead of the next three worst picks – OT Trezelle Jenkins (1st-round, 1995), DT Ryan Sims (1st-round, 2002) and DT Junior Siavii (2nd-round, 2004.) Jenkins received 10 votes, Sims 9 votes and Siavii had 8 votes.

Others receiving votes were DE Tyson Jackson (1st-round, 2009), OT Brian Jozwiak (1st-round, 1986), WR Anthony Hancock (1st-round, 1987), TE Elmore Stephens (2nd-round, 1975), DT Eddie Freeman (2nd-round, 2002), RB Woody Green (1st-round, 1974) and QB Mike Elkins (2nd-round, 1989).

Here are the vote totals:


  • 55 – OLB Derrick Thomas.
  • 11 – G Will Shields.
  • 6 – MLB Willie Lanier.
  • 4 – TE Tony Gonzalez.
  • 3 – DE Jared Allen.
  • 3 – G Dave Szott.
  • 1 – OT John Alt.
  • 1 – WR Carlos Carson.
  • 1 – RB Joe Delaney.
  • 1 – DE/OLB Tamba Hali.
  • 1 – C Jack Rudnay.


  • 36 – QB Todd Blackledge.
  • 10 – OT Trezelle Jenkins.
  • 9 – DT Ryan Sims.
  • 8 – DT Junior Siavii.
  • 6 – DE Tyson Jackson
  • 6 – OT Brian Jozwiak
  • 4 – WR Anthony Hancock
  • 3 – QB Mike Elkins.
  • 3 – DT Eddie Freeman.
  • 1- TE Elmore Stephens.
  • 1 – RB Woody Green.

Here’s commentary from some of the voters on why they made the choices they did on Derrick Thomas and Todd Blackledge.


PAChiefsFan says: Derrick Thomas. Still had years left to dominate before his accident. Tragic loss.

Howard says: DT…No contest. RIP’d way before anyone could have thought. Still is, and always will be the best draft pick EVER!

Chuck says: Derrick Thomas, God I wish we could find another guy like him for this defense.

Terry says: Derrick Thomas, a man who would have changed the game, if L.T. had not already changed it. He brought fear to the opponent quarterback on every play.

CanadianChiefsFan says: Best, Derrick Thomas, always the man, on and off the field, left us too early!

Paul says: Derrick Thomas. What more needs said? A Hall of Famer on the field. Led the Chiefs in the great decades of the 1990′s


Chad says: With so many other options at quarterback that year, it’s unbelievable the misfortune the Chiefs had by picking the one first round quarterback who wasn’t a future Hall of Famer.

James says: This is a tough choice as Chief fans know there have been so many bad first picks but I agree with Todd Blackledge being the worst. Replace Blackledge with any other of the QB’s they could have picked and Chief’s history would be completely different.

Terry says: The worst choice has to be Todd Blackledge (passed on Dan Marino for him!)

Donald says: Todd Blackledge – with all the QB talent in the draft we pick the misfire.

4 Responses to “Best &Worst Chiefs Draft Choices”

  • April 10, 2011  - Big Al says:

    I would add Neil Smith into that top 10 of good picks. His rookie year was nothing special but he and Derrick Thomas were a nice dynamic duo for a few years. How far do you go back? Ed Podolak was a nice pick up. So was Mike Garrett. Bobby Bell? Buck Buchanon? Dwayne Bowe made the Pro Bowl. Maybe he should be up there.

    Todd Blackledge was a bust for the Chiefs, but the greatest bust? Probably even the Dolphins didn’t know Dan Marino was that good. Trazell Jenkins was the biggest waste of a #1 pick. The Vikings wanted Ryan Sims but they took too long and the draft clock ran out on them. The Chiefs got their pick and took Sims. The Vikes got stuck with pro bowler Bryant McKinnie. In the 80s Anthony Hancock showed that a highly touted WR could be a bust. Tyson Jackson has had two years on the Chiefs, one as a 16 game starter, the next as a getting more solid role player. Even though he was selected #3 overall, I’d say the jury is still out. Tony Gonzalez has to go down as a successful pick. A #13 in the first round who played 11 years then got traded for a mid round #2.

  • April 11, 2011  - craig says:

    I recall the Chiefs wasting a high draft choice(if not #1) on Ed Budde Jr. Anybody remember what year that was?

  • April 12, 2011  - Craig says:

    I did not get a chance to vote but lets not forget Art Still. A great first round choice.

  • April 14, 2011  - Dan says:

    Actually Kansas City did draft Dan Marino, John Elway, Archie Manning and Steve Bartkowski. Only problem is, it was the Royals who drafted them and none of them signed.

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