We’ve made it folks. It’s finally the week of the 2020 NFL Draft.
This year’s event will be the 58th draft that the Kansas City Chiefs have participated in and the 61st overall for the franchise. If the Chiefs hold steady and only use the five draft picks they currently have, it would be the third time that the organization has made just five selections — 2002 and 1993 being the other occurrences. Their current initial pick at 32 would be the latest they’ve ever drafted in the first round.
The Chiefs have drafted nine Pro Football Hall of Fame Members in their history; three of them — former Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers, former Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Bob Lilly and former Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach — never played a snap for the team.
Now that you’ve gotten some general facts about the Chiefs’ draft history, let’s go in-depth and rank the franchise’s five greatest drafts.
5. The 2016 draft
Significant selections: Defensive tackle Chris Jones, wide receiver Demarcus Robinson, and wide receiver Tyreek Hill
There was an argument for a few draft classes to take the fifth spot, but the 2016 class earns it because of the tremendous value of a few selections.
Former Mississippi State defensive tackle Chris Jones slipped all the way to the 37th selection. That allowed the Chiefs to trade back from their original first-round slot and add draft capital while taking a player that would end up becoming one of the most dominant interior pass rushers in the league.
In the fifth round, the Chiefs decided to take the risk of selecting West Alabama running back Tyreek Hill — an electric prospect with a well-documented, troubled past. Little did Kansas City know that it was selecting a player that would turn into arguably the best wide receiver in franchise history. Along with the fourth-round pick — former Florida wide receiver Demarcus Robinson — the Chiefs selected two impactful receivers for their Super Bowl run in one draft.
On top of these three good picks, the Chiefs were able to trade their fourth-round pick, offensive lineman Parker Ehinger, for current starting cornerback Charvarius Ward.
4. The 1984 draft
Significant selections: Nose tackle Bill Maas, offensive tackle John Alt, and cornerback Kevin Ross
The 1980s were made up of drafts that eventually formed the team head coach Marty Schottenheimer took on a run of success through the 1990s. The 1984 draft gave the franchise three cornerstone players.
The Chiefs took former Pittsburgh nose tackle Bill Maas fifth overall in the draft, and he would go on to play in two Pro Bowls and start on the defensive line through the 1992 season. He accumulated five or more sacks in five different seasons.
The team’s second first-round selection was spent on offensive tackle John Alt from Iowa University. While Alt didn’t get primary starting duties until 1987, he would eventually become one of the best at his position in the league and anchored the Chiefs offensive line through 1996. He earned two Pro Bowl berths in his career.
The most valuable pick of this draft happened in the seventh round, when the Chiefs took a chance on former Temple cornerback Kevin Ross. Ross immediately became a star in the secondary with six interceptions in his rookie season. He’d go on to earn two Pro Bowls as a Chief and end up seventh in team history with 30 career interceptions.
3. The 1961 draft
Significant selections: Center E.J. Holub, offensive tackle Jim Tyrer, defensive lineman Jerry Mays, tight end Fred Arbanas and running back Curtis McClinton
Anytime a team drafts four players that end up becoming starters on a championship team and are eventually inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame, it will go down as an all-time draft class.
That’s how the 1961 draft went when the Chiefs — then the Dallas Texans — selected interior offensive lineman E.J. Holub with the sixth-overall pick, offensive tackle Jim Tyrer in the third-round, defensive end Jerry Mays in the fifth-round and tight end Fred Arbanas in the seventh-round. All four started for the 1962 AFL championship team, the 1966 AFL championship team and the 1969 Super Bowl championship team.
If that wasn’t already impressive enough, the Texans used a 14th-round pick on Kansas running back Curtis McClinton. He didn’t join the team right away, but he became a star in his first season in 1962. He earned his first of three Pro Bowl berths while helping the Texans win that year’s AFL championship.
2. The 2017 draft
Significant selections: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes, defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon, and running back Kareem Hunt
This ranking is all about quality over quantity. While most of the class has had minimal impact on the franchise, 2018 MVP and Super Bowl LIV MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes was taken 10th overall — and he has already solidified himself as the best draft selection in franchise history.
After decades of failure to draft a long-time quarterback, the Chiefs traded up 17 spots to secure the polarizing prospect from Texas Tech in 2017. The rarity of drafting a franchise quarterback makes the class as a whole one of the greatest.
Besides Mahomes, defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon played a key role down the stretch of last year’s championship season — and running back Kareem Hunt led the NFL in rushing as a rookie.
1. The 1963 draft
Significant selections: Defensive end Buck Buchanan, offensive lineman Ed Budde, linebacker Bobby Bell, punter Jerrel Wilson, and offensive lineman Dave Hill
As great as the selection of Mahomes was, there’s no beating the historic 1963 class.
In their first year branded as the Kansas City Chiefs, the team had the first-overall pick in the draft — and they used it to take a future Pro Football Hall of Famer — defensive end Buck Buchanan from Grambling State. The towering and intimidating Buchanan immediately became a dominant player and earned eight-straight Pro Bowl appearances — including four straight seasons as a first-team All-Pro.
The Chiefs had the eighth overall selection as well, which resulted in the selection of Michigan State offensive guard Ed Budde. The eventual Chiefs Hall of Famer was a starter in Super Bowl I and IV.
The team wasn’t done taking Pro Football Hall of Famers. Their seventh-round pick turned into linebacker Bobby Bell — who is widely regarded as the greatest linebacker of his generation. The six-time first-team All-Pro anchored the defense for 12 years. He had a knack for the ball: Bell totaled six career interception returns for touchdowns.
The Chiefs also selected right tackle Dave Hill and running back Jerrel Wilson in this draft. Wilson eventually became the punter — and both players were starters for the two Super Bowl teams and became members of the Chiefs Hall of Fame.
The 1967 draft
Significant selections: Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Willie Lanier and Chiefs Hall of Famer, linebacker Jim Lynch.
The 2008 draft
Significant selections: Running back Jamaal Charles, cornerback Brandon Flowers, cornerback Brandon Carr.
The 2013 draft
Significant selections: Left tackle Eric Fisher and tight end Travis Kelce.