The Readers Picks & More … Weekend Cup O’Chiefs

We asked and we received. The request was your top 10 Chiefs draft choices of all time, and you responded.

By the time we finished up tallying the votes, there were more than 43 different players nominated on over 70 ballots. That group included Gale Sayers, Bob Lilly and Roger Staubach.

Yes, they were all Chiefs draft choices, but they never played for the franchise. All were taken during the signing wars between the AFL and NFL in the early 1960s. Sayers went to Chicago, while Lilly and Staubach ended up with the Dallas Cowboys. Yes, all three made the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but we were interested only in those players who actually played for the franchise.

We also had several votes for Len Dawson; all three voters knew that he wasn’t a draft choice of the Chiefs. But they felt Dawson’s pro career was so tied to the Chiefs that he should be considered a selection of the team. Len was selected in the first round of the 1957 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Remarkably, five players were named on almost all the lists. To break ties, we tallied up the number of times the player was named No. 1. Even then, we had to break a tie between three players going down to how many times they were voted No. 2 on the ballots.

In the end, it’s really a remarkable collection of football talent at the top of the list, lead by three Hall of Fame linebackers: Bobby Bell, Derrick Thomas and Willie Lanier.

Here’s how it all broke down:

1. LB BOBBY BELL – There were 72 ballots for the top 10 picks and Bell was named on 68 of them, more than any other single player. He was also selected in the No. 1 or 2 slots more times than any other draft choice. Bell was the 56th player taken in that 1963 AFL Draft. The Chiefs were still in Dallas at the time of the draft, and despite the fact they grabbed five players in that selection meeting that would go on to make the team’s Hall of Fame, they were not perfect. Bell was taken in the seventh round, and selected in the second through fifth rounds were Walter Rock, Don Brumm, Daryl Sanders and John Campbell. None of those four ever played for the team.

2. LB DERRICK THOMAS – The Chiefs newest member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame was picked on 65 of the 72 ballots, but was picked No. 1 or 2 more times than any other player save Bell. Among the voters who submitted his name, none had him ranked lower than No. 5.

3. LB WILLIE LANIER – Also selected by 65 voters, Lanier has to be considered the best small college player the Chiefs ever drafted. While Bell came from the Big 10 and Minnesota and Thomas from the SEC and Alabama, Lanier came out of Morgan State and went on to a remarkable career and a spot in the Hall of Fame as one of the best middle linebackers to ever play the game.

4. DT BUCK BUCHANAN (right) – Throughout franchise history, the Chiefs have had the No. 2 pick several times. But the only year they had the very first pick was the 1963 AFL Draft. That’s when they selected Junious Buchanan out of Grambling. Buck would go on to a Hall of Fame career. Our voters named him on 63 of the ballots.

5. TE TONY GONZALEZ – Among the more recent Chiefs draft choices, Gonzalez was easily the most popular, as the best pass catching tight end in NFL history was named on 60 of the 72 ballots. He was also named No. 1, 2, 3 or 4 more often than any other player. Gonzalez of course continues his career with the Atlanta Falcons.

6. WR OTIS TAYLOR – Voters who identified themselves as long-time Chiefs fans generally had Taylor in their top five; younger fans had him in the bottom five, or not on their ballot at all; Taylor was on 50 of the ballots. The only other wide receiver who received any votes was Dante Hall, and his was due largely to his success as a returner.

7. G WILL SHIELDS – In the last 25 years, Shields would have to rank as the best value pick for the franchise. When a team can get a dozen Pro Bowls out of the 74th pick, that’s value; Shields was selected by 46 voters.

8. DE NEIL SMITH (left) – One of the four Chiefs draft choices that were the No. 2 pick in their year, Smith was the most successful and the voters remembered. He was tabbed by 41 voters. The other voters that were also the second player drafted were Pete Beathard (1964), Art Still (1978) and Mike Bell (1979).

9. DE JARED ALLEN – It was a surprise how many voters had Allen on their list; some 37 had the defensive end in their top 10, including one voter that had him ranked as No. 1. The other voters all had him ranked anywhere from No. 7 to No. 10.

10. CB ALBERT LEWIS – No other drafted defensive back received as many votes as the 34 that went to Lewis. Remember that two of the best DBs in Chiefs history – Hall of Famer Emmitt Thomas and Deron Cherry – were acquired as undrafted college free agents.

If we had the top 15, the next five would be DE Art Still, G Dave Szott, C Jack Rudnay, RB Mike Garrett and RB Ed Podolak. The next five for an even 20 would be S Johnny Robinson, G Ed Budde, T Jim Tyrer, WR-KR Dante Hall and LT John Alt.


It was a different place and a different time but it was the same L.J.

For the first time since he signed with the Redskins, Larry Johnson spoke with the Washington media. His mantra was very familiar to Chiefs fans: nobody loved him during his time in Kansas City. Johnson said he never had a coach who cared.

The question was whether the events of last October – where he insulted fans, hurled a gay slur at the media and questioned the background of head coach Todd Haley – caused him to re-think the way he approaches life or other people, Johnson said:

“Nah, I just had to be with a coach who cares and knows what has to be done to put our team in the best situation to win. Being in that situation really wasn’t the best for my career or the best for the organization.”

Johnson says he’s found that type of coach in Mike Shanahan. “It’s a trust,” he said. “I trust them that they would do the right thing for my career and they trust me to do what’s in the best interests of the organization.”

He told the media that there was no problem with him and Clinton Portis sharing the Redskins locker room, huddle or carries in the running game.

“I think people get misunderstood as far as when you come in and there’s two guys that’s always been starters, to come in and there’s supposed to be some sort of beef, but it’s not,” Johnson said. “We don’t even talk about football, we just joke around basically, and he goes his way and I go my way. … We kind of complement each other. It’s not, ‘I’m coming here to take your spot.’

“I wouldn’t come in and say I want to be the third guy or the fourth guy,” he added. “I just come in to work hard and wherever they have me on the depth chart is wherever they have me.”


  • BEARS – released DE Alex Brown.
  • EAGLES – signed team president Joe Banner to a 3-year contract extension.
  • GIANTS – re-signed P Jeff Feagles; signed S Deon Grant (Seahawks); RFA G Kevin Boothe signed tender offer; revoked tender offer to RFA S C.C. Brown.
  • JAGUARS – re-signed DE Reggie Hayward.

6 Responses to “The Readers Picks & More … Weekend Cup O’Chiefs”

  • April 2, 2010  - Mike in MO says:

    God forbid L.J. should ever take responsibility for his actions. Throughout his career, he’s blamed every problem on somebody else. Poor misunderstood Larry was never responsible for a problem. (You know, I think I had an ex-wife like that!) Shanahan can have him as far as I’m concerned.

  • April 2, 2010  - jimbo says:

    I noticed that 4 of the 10 top Chiefs were #1 picks. All 4 of those were playmakers that other teams had to account for each & every game.
    Obviously all 10 of them were playmakers. My point is that in the upcoming draft, Scott Pioli will be contemplating a “playmaker” kind of guy or a “blue collar workhorse” in the trenches kind of guy (O’line or D’line). We as fans most likely want a playmaker, fan favorite, highlight reel kind of guy.
    My question is, should the Chiefs #1 draft pick be a lineman or some other position, regardless of who is left on the board at #5?
    Go Chiefs.

  • April 2, 2010  - ChiefAddiction63 says:

    The top draft pick contest was skewed based on the age of the participant. The younger people never saw the older players play, so how can they be an accurate judge of who’s a better draft pick? Of course they’re going to pick players like DT, Gonzo, etc. Jared Allen #1 overall? C’mon man! That’s a joke!!

  • April 2, 2010  - Mad Chief says:


    Seeing as how Allen was taken in the fourth round, I’d say that’s a pretty damn good draft pick…considering the player he turned out to be. I thought he landed a little low on the list at #9, actually. I mean, the first round picks you EXPECT to be good players.

    As far as LJ? “A coach who cares”? Haley gave this “April Fool” the starting job, and then stuck with him even though the guy couldn’t average 3 yards a carry. But listen…I’m glad Shanny “cares” about you, LJ. I hope the two of you will be very happy together. The funniest thing is…this D-bag really has absolutely no clue why nobody liked him when he was here.

  • April 2, 2010  - gorillafan says:

    God, hopefully the Chiefs are stupid enough to put him in the Chiefs Hall Of Fame….esp when he will get booooooooooooed by 68,000 fans, including myself!

  • April 3, 2010  - RickyP says:

    “Seeing as how Allen was taken in the fourth round, I’d say that’s a pretty damn good draft pick…considering the player he turned out to be. I thought he landed a little low on the list at #9, actually. I mean, the first round picks you EXPECT to be good players.”

    By this logic only guys like Will Shields (3rd round), David Szott (7th Round), Kevin Ross (7th round), Carlos Carson (5th round) and precious little Jared Allen would even be eligible.

    I guess first rounders can only be EXPECTED to be good, or busts (i.e. Ethan Horton, Brian Jozwiak, Trezelle Jenkins and Ryan Simms to name just a few of many).

    Seems to me, considering the crap shoot that the draft is, a great pick is a great pick regardless of when it occurred.

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