The Best Late Picks In Chiefs History

The NFL Draft is such a gamble that even the players selected in prime positions each year have about a 50-50 chance of failure.

Those odds get longer as each round is passed and another 32+ names are added to the drafted list. That’s why it’s usually easier to pinpoint the good drafting teams not by who they take in the first round, but how many of their picks from the later rounds make the team and provide contributions to winning.

With 51 drafts in the books it was time to shuffle the top cards off the deck and discover the best players selected in the late rounds of the AFL and NFL Drafts.

Criteria for selection to this list:

  • The choice had to be in the sixth-round or later. In the last 50 years the draft has never had fewer than seven rounds of selections. Most times there were many more rounds; the most players the Texans/Chiefs selected in one Draft was 1962, when they grabbed 32 players in 34 rounds.
  • More than the round, it’s the slot where the player was picked. In 1964′s AFL Draft the 26th pick was in the fourth round; today it’s a first-round selection. To qualify for consideration, the player had to be selected after pick No. 100.
  • Obvious late picks based on league battles between the AFL and NFL, and then NFL and USFL were taken into account. RB Mike Garrett was selected in the 20th-round of the 1966 AFL Draft only because everyone thought he was already wrapped up and committed to the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams. In 1983, OT Irv Eatman was an eighth-round choice, No. 204. But he had already signed with the Philadelphia Stars in the USFL.

So under those regulations, here are the 10th best value picks in Chiefs history:


Mike Sensibaugh, safety out of Ohio State was selected with the 191st pick (8th round) in the 1971 Draft. Sensibaugh stepped in at FS after Johnny Robinson retired. Over five seasons, he played in 63 games with 55 starts at free safety. The Ohio native had 20 interceptions and recovered 10 fumbles.


Noland Smith, kick returner out of Tennessee State with the 156th selection (6th round) in the 1967 AFL-NFL Draft. Known as “Super Gnat”, the 5-9 Smith played only three seasons of pro football. But he left an impression with his punt and kickoff returns, including one of the longest in NFL history when he took back a kickoff for 106 yards on December 17, 1967 in Denver.


Tommy Brooker, tight end/kicker from Alabama with the 131st choice (17th round) in the 1962 AFL Draft. Brooker ended up having quite a rookie season with the Texans. It was his 25-yard FG in the second OT that decided the 1962 AFL Championship Game against Houston, 20-17. He ended up playing five seasons and scored 290 points, most of those with his foot.


Dave Hill, offensive tackle out of Auburn with the 192nd pick (24th round) in the 1963 AFL Draft. As a rookie, Hill came in and shared the right tackle spot with Charlie Diamond. By the 64 season, he was the starter at RT and would spend a nine seasons in the starting lineup. Overall, Hill played for 12 seasons, and appeared in 150 games. He started in Super Bowl I and IV.


Eric Warfield, cornerback from Nebraska with the 216th choice (7th round) in the 1998 NFL Draft. Warfield was with the Chiefs for eight years, appearing in 115 games with 77 starts. He had 20 interceptions, returning three for TDs. Other than his inability to drive without being arrested for DUI, Warfield contributed more to the team than anyone could have expected from a seventh rounder. He made the switch from college safety to NFL cornerback and it took time for him to adapt, but eventually he reached the starting lineup in 2001 and was there for five years.


Jarrad Page, free safety out of UCLA with the 228th selection (7th round) in the 2006 NFL Draft. Before his unhappy divorce last year, Page played four seasons, 53 games and 39 starts. He had 204 total tackles and became a pretty reliable centerfielder in the Chiefs defense with a total of 10 interceptions. It seemed like most of those came against his hometown Oakland Raiders, who he owned.


Robert Holmes, running back from Southern University with the 375th choice (14th round) in the 1968 AFL-NFL Draft. Holmes was a big contributor in a little man’s body (5-9, 220 pounds); appearing in 48 games over four seasons and producing 2,375 yards in offense with 16 TDs. Holmes was just the kind of back that Hank Stram featured, blending him with the likes of Mike Garrett and Warren McVea.


Dave Szott, guard from Penn State with the 180th pick (7th-round) in the 1990 NFL Draft. In 11 seasons, Szott started 132 of 143 games at LG. He was part of the 1990′s offense that helped K.C. win over 100 games in the decade. He will always be remembered for his three-point stance where he would get his rear-end down so far that it looked like it was hitting his heels. This was from his days as a wrestler and it gave him the leverage edge against far bigger and taller defenders.


Tom Condon, guard from Boston College with the 250th pick (10th round) in the 1974 NFL Draft. Condon played 11 seasons, 147 games, with 110 starts on the right side for the Chiefs offensive line during the tough days of the 1970-80s. He replaced George Daney in 1975 and held the starting job for 10 seasons. Today, Condon remains involved in football as one of the most successful player agents in the country.


Kevin Ross, cornerback from Temple with the 173rd selection (7th round) in the 1984 NFL Draft. Ross played 11 seasons with the Chiefs, starting 144 games. He intercepted 30 passes, taking two back for scores including a 99-yard return in 1992. Ross added 827 tackles; pound-for-pound he was probably the toughest man to ever wear a Chiefs uniform. At 5-9, 185 pounds he was a great combination of coverage and big hitting. He is the 2011 inductee into the Chiefs Hall of Fame.

HONORABLE MENTIONS – OL/DL Tom Barndt, 207th pick in the sixth round in 1995; WR Danan Hughes, 186th pick in the seventh round in 1993; DE Ken Kremer, 167th choice in the seventh round in 1979; RB Todd McNair, 220th pick in the eighth round in 1989; KR Noland Smith, 156th selection in the sixth round in 1967.

3 Responses to “The Best Late Picks In Chiefs History”

  • April 23, 2011  - leonard says:

    Hey Bob. What about Succup?

  • April 25, 2011  - RW says:

    Interesting topic and list of past over achievers. Equally interesting would be a list of players drafted who had their stock plummet because of injury but later overcame the setback and proved worthy of their original draft status, like Moeaki from last year, for example.

    Another guy overlooked on this list would have to be Mike Garrett, a 20th round pick by the Chiefs just before the merger of the 2 leagues happened. As I recall, Garrett was drafted by the NFL Rams who thought they had the inside track on the then hometown favored status only to see the Chiefs spirit him away with a better offer. Sweet.

    Everyone in the AFL had assumed Garrett would sign with the NFL so no one wasted a pick on him. Again, relying on distant memory, the Chiefs saw him still on the board, said ‘what the hell?’ and sent his name up in the then final round on a hail mary pick.

    If I read the rules correctly, Garrett would qualify and go to the head of my list even though his lower draft status was artificially stimulated but still, his pick and subsequent signing was a major coup for the Chiefs.

  • April 25, 2011  - BigJimInWisconsin says:

    Wow. Noland Smith was so good, he was #9 AND an honorable mention!

    Just ribbing ya, Bob. You’ve got lots of details you’re dealing with for all the draft articles. You’re a hard working man.

    Go CHIEFS!

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