As we approach this year's NFL Draft with so much riding on the 5th choice in the 1st round, I thought it would be interesting to take a walk down memory lane and give you my opinion of the biggest bust the Chiefs have ever chosen in the first round.
It's not who you think it is.
Most Chiefs 1st round bust discussion centers around either Todd Blackledge who was picked #7 in 1983 (before other QBs Jim Kelly and Dan Marino as you'll recall) or Ryan Sims who we traded up to pick at #6 in 2002 (ahead of other DTs Albert Haynesworth and John Henderson).
But as disappointing as Blackledge was at QB, he played 7 years in the NFL, racking up 29 starts in 46 games and threw 29 TD passes (and 38 interceptions). Sims is still active with Tampa Bay and has played 8 years with 38 starts in 96 games with 110 tackles, 8.5 sacks and 1 interception (Haynesworth has started 74 of 102 games with 230 tackles, 28 sacks and 0 INTs)
Both disappointing, but neither is the biggest first round bust of the Chiefs IMHO. Blackledge may be the worst first round pick of all time for the Chiefs because of the "opportunity cost" of not picking Kelly or Marino, but he wasn't a total bust.
I also don't think a pick can be a bust because of injury. So let's eliminate a few candidates who disappointed because of injury:
Brian Jozwiak was chosen at #7 in 1986 and only played 28 games with 3 starts. His career ended early due to a serious hip injury so it's hard to know what might have been.
Percy Snow was chosen at #13 in 1990 and was supposed to team with the Chiefs 1989 first round pick, HOF LB Derrick Thomas, to form the most intimidating linebacker tandem of the 1990s, but sadly Percy suffered a severe knee injury (riding a moped!) in training camp in 1991 that basically ended his career.
Sylvester Morris was chosen at #21 in 2000 and had a promising rookie season starting 14 out of 15 games with 3 TDs, but suffered a career-ending knee injury that disappointed Chiefs fans far and wide.
So if you eliminate Blackledge, Sims, Jozwiak, Snow and Morris from the conversation, who are the other non-injury busts drafted by the Chiefs in the 1st round?
I considered WR Anthony Hancock who was drafted at #11 in 1982, but he played for five years in 59 games with 8 starts. 73 receptions, 1266 yards and 5 TDs. Bad, but not the worst. In fact, compare Hancock's numbers to Elmo Wright (drafted at #16 in 1971; famous for being the first NFL player to do an "end zone dance") who was considered a good receiver in his day - 5 years played, 51 games with 4 starts, 70 receptions, 1116 yards and 6 TDs.
I considered RB Woody Green (#16 in 1974 - 3 years, 28 games, 6 starts, 375 carries, 1442 yards rushing, 562 yards receiving, 9 rushing TDs, 2 receiving TDs), but he averaged almost 4 yards a carry and scored more than 10 times.
I considered G/T Rod Walters (#14 in 1976 - 6 years, 55 games, 7 starts)
I considered RB/TE Ethan Horton (#15 in 1985 - waived by Chiefs after 1 year, but picked up by Raiders as a TE - 8 years, 116 games, 80 starts, 212 receptions, 2,360 yards, 20 receiving and rushing TDs), but he even made a Pro Bowl. It deserves to be mentioned that while Horton wasn't a total bust, he did have 187 less career touchdowns than the man picked immediately after him at #16 in 1985, Jerry Rice. Too bad we thought we were "set" at WR with Stephone Paige, Carlos Carson, Henry Marshall and Anthony Hancock. Classic case of a "reach" for RB when none had true 1st round talent.
All disappointing uses of a 1st round Chiefs pick, but none are the biggest bust. In my mind, that distinction belongs to:
Offensive Tackle - Trezelle Jenkins drafted #31 in 1995
At a position typically considered "safer" than others, Trezelle was a huge tackle (6' 7" and 317 lbs) who managed to play for only 3 years in 9 games and started only 1 game in his entire career. After the Chiefs cut him, he not only failed to catch on with other NFL teams, but failed in a tryout with the XFL! Check out what Charles Robinson from Yahoo! Sports wrote about him in an article in 2007 choosing TJenk as the #31 all-time worst first-round pick (Charles also picked Ki-Jana Carter at #1 over Ryan Leaf - disagree - and Percy Snow at #13 which I disagree with because of injury per above):
31. Trezelle Jenkins, OT, Kansas City Chiefs (1995)
Frankly, Jenkins just wasn't a very good NFL player. The Chiefs soured on him early, and he ended up playing only nine games in three years with only one start. The Chiefs cut him after three years and he failed to catch on in Minnesota and New Orleans. And in what is probably the ultimate insult, he had a tryout with an XFL team and still couldn't make the cut. In the realm of pro football, you can't do much worse than that.
A total bust who contributed nothing to any team - NFL or XFL
I must admit that I looked at the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the NFL Draft in 1985 and the cupboard was bare. Not only at OT (Zack Wiegert, Brian DeMarco), but at almost every position (stars of the 2nd round = Todd Collins, Ken Dilger, Todd Sauerbrun, Ted Johnson, Kordell Stewart). Maybe the Chiefs front office picked Trezelle because they couldn't find anyone with NFL talent and decided to reach for a huge guy who might pan out.
Regardless, I think Trezelle is the biggest Chiefs bust in the 1st round. Blackledge is probably the worst first round Chiefs pick of all time because of the "opportunity cost" of not picking Kelly or Marino.
This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.