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Kansas City Chiefs NFL Draft Successes: No. 9 DE Neil Smith

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Arrowhead Pride has teamed up with Bud Light to bring you the top Kansas City Chiefs NFL draft successes and busts. Today, we bring you the ninth most successful draft pick in Chiefs history: DE Neil Smith.

The 1980s were not a good decade for the Kansas City Chiefs in the win department. KC only won 66 games from 1980 to 1990, which averages out to about 6.5 wins per season. Before the 1988 NFL Draft, the Chiefs had only had two winning seasons that entire decade. 1987 was one of the worst - KC went 4-11.

But there was a silver lining to going 4-11 in 1987 - the Chiefs were able to draft DE Neil Smith with the No. 2 overall pick in 1988.

And you know what? He turned out to be pretty good....More after the jump...

By virtually any measure of NFL Draft success, Neil Smith embodied it. The New Orleans native had been named an All American in 1987, the year before he was drafted. Smith would go on to win a number of other awards and accolades, including,

  • 6x Pro Bowler (5 times with the Chiefs);
  • First Team All Pro (1993);
  • 3x Second Team All Pro (1992, 1995, 1997); and,
  • All Decade Team - 1990s.
How Smith ended up with the Chiefs is a draft day scenario you probably won't hear of any time soon. The Chiefs, who had the No. 3 overall pick, had made it clear before the 1998 Draft (Why, I have no idea) that they were going to be taking Nebraska DE Neil Smith. The Lions, who held the No. 2 overall pick, threatened to draft Smith as well.

The Chiefs were forced to trade up one spot - from No. 3 to No. 2 - in order to draft Neil Smith. The Chiefs gave up their second round pick - No. 29 overall - to the Lions in order to get that No. 2 pick.

I think it's safe to say that the Chiefs made the right call.

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