The Kansas City Chiefs have been on the clock since last season mercifully ended with a 2–14 record. That's bad enough for the first overall pick in Thursday's NFL Draft but a year too late for sure-thing prospects Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. That is, unless Andy Reid and John Dorsey's new regime trades away the pick, which has been among the rumors.
If the Chiefs keep the pick — and even if they trade down — they'll likely aim to protect newly acquired quarterback Alex Smith's blind side by selecting an offensive tackle, either Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel or Central Michigan's Eric Fisher.
The magnitude of the pick grew during the Super Bowl with an NFL Network commercial hyping the league's combine and draft. In the parody spot, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces the Chiefs taking Leon Sandcastle — Deion Sanders in an Afro wig and Fu Manchu mustache — with the first pick.
Prime Time at 45 would have been better than some of the franchise's recent choices. In fact, he would have been preferred over a lot of number ones since the 1970 NFL and AFL merger. (CBS Sports counted 20 busts since the union.) Every franchise has a history of picking studs and duds. In honor of the Chiefs holding No. 1, here are our choices for the best and worst draft picks in KC history.
1963, Round 1, Pick No. 1
KC can claim more than one sports star named Buck. In the 1963 AFL Draft, the Chiefs made Buchanan the first black player in pro-football history to be chosen with the first overall pick. It was a wise decision. With Buchanan at defensive tackle, the Chiefs won two AFL championships (1966 and '69) and Super Bowl IV. Buchanan was the team's "iron man," playing in 166 straight games (182 total), racking up six AFL All-Star nods, two Pro Bowl selections, six All-AFL picks and a second-team All-Pro selection. Oh, and an induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
1963, Round 7, Pick No. 56
Buchanan wasn't the only gem in the 1963 AFL Draft. In the seventh round, the Chiefs picked Bell, a defensive end from the University of Minnesota. (The Chiefs waited until round seven, convinced that the NFL's Minnesota Vikings were going to take him.) Bell played linebacker in Hank Stram's "stack defense," and he played it so well, he became the first Chief ever elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
1967, Round 2, Pick No. 50
The Chiefs added Lanier to its vaunted defense in 1967, and the hard-hitting linebacker played a part in the stout, shut-down D that won Super Bowl IV over the Minnesota Vikings. Getting there, however, was due largely to Lanier's emotional leadership, centered on five crucial words: "They're not going to score." Lanier yelled this at his teammates in the 1969 divisional playoff game as the New York Jets had a first-and-goal on the 1-yard line. The Chiefs' D held the Jets to a field goal, then went on to win the game.
1997, Round 1, Pick No. 13
It hurts to write it, but Tony G. deserved to go out a winner. Unfortunately, that means ex-general manager Scott Pioli made the right move, trading one of the best tight ends in the game for a draft pick (Javier Arenas). But when Gonzalez goes into the Hall of Fame in Canton (and he will — the man holds NFL records for most receiving yards, receptions and touchdowns as a tight end), fans know it'll be in red and gold.
1989, Round 1, Pick No. 4
Easily one of the greatest pass rushers of all time, Thomas menaced quarterbacks. D.T. had a Hall of Fame career — holding franchise records for sacks, safeties, fumble recoveries and forced fumbles — and fans at Arrowhead still wear his No. 58 jersey. The sack master's life is still colored a bit by his irresponsible death.
1988, Round 1, Pick No. 2
Offensive lines facing the Chiefs had to pick their poison in the late 1980s and '90s, when a quarterback was sure to get swallowed by either D.T. or Smith. It stings a bit, though, that Smith's career concluded with AFC rivals the Broncos (where he won two Super Bowls) and the Chargers.
1993, Round 3, Pick No. 74
Not one game was missed in 14 seasons — that means 231 consecutive games, including the playoffs. Shields was a pure diamond in the rough, playing in 12 Pro Bowls every year from 1995 to 2006.
2004, Round 4, Pick No. 126
The mullet king of Minnesota makes the list for being a sneaky good value from the fourth round. Allen terrorized opposing quarterbacks in ways this city hadn't seen since D.T. and Smith. Sadly, No. 69 had to leave KC, but the Chiefs turned Allen into a first-round pick (offensive tackle Branden Albert) and two third-round picks (one of which was running back Jamaal Charles). Not a bad haul.
2008, Round 3, Pick No. 73
Thanks to Larry Johnson being a royal fuckup, the Chiefs turned to Charles (and, to a lesser extent, Kolby Smith). Charles put together back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2009 and 2010 before tearing his ACL in the second game of the 2011 season. Charles bounced back by rushing for 1,509 yards in 2012, and he broke Jim Brown's 47-year-old yards-per-carry record by averaging 5.82 yards.
1987, Round 2, Pick No. 35
"The Nigerian Nightmare" retired as the Chiefs' all-time leading rusher, with 4,897 yards in six seasons. (Priest Holmes later broke the record.) Okoye called it quits due to injuries. His legend lives on among Chiefs fans and retro gamers, thanks to Tecmo Super Bowl, in which he's virtually impossible to tackle.
1997, Round 4, Pick No. 110
The Cal quarterback never threw a pass in the NFL. Not once.
1983, Round 1, Pick No. 7
The Quarterback Class of 1983 saw six gunslingers drafted in the first round. John Elway went No. 1. A quarterback wasn't selected until six picks later ... by the Chiefs. KC drafted Blackledge, who had led Penn State to a national championship. Four of the QBs in this draft played in Super Bowls. Blackledge wasn't one of them. The Chiefs picked him instead of Jim Kelly or Dan Marino. Kelly. Marino. Let that sink in.
1995, Round 1, Pick No. 31
Three seasons. Nine games. One start. That's it. That's all KC got out of the offensive tackle from the University of Michigan. But don't feel bad, Chiefs fans. The XFL's San Francisco Demons drafted him five years later — and he couldn't make the team.
2000, Round 1, Pick No. 21
Longevity wasn't Morris' strong suit. The wide receiver from Jackson State saw his career ended by knee injuries after just one season playing for the Chiefs, catching 48 passes for 678 yards and three touchdowns (all three caught in one game, a 42-14 thrashing of the San Diego Chargers).
2002, Round 1, Pick No. 6
Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson made Sims the first defensive tackle taken in the 2002 draft, taking a pass on future Pro Bowl DTs John Henderson and Albert Haynesworth. Both proved to be better in the trenches than the Tar Heel: Sporting News would call Haynesworth "the most dominant defensive tackle in the league" in 2009. In his five KC seasons, Sims started only 36 games and managed to record just five sacks. The Chiefs had seen enough of him by 2007, when the team dumped him on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a seventh-round pick. Sims seems to be the beginning of several defensive-line busts. See also: Junior Siavii ('04), Turk McBride ('07), Tank Tyler ('07), Alex Magee ('09).
1998, Round 1, Pick No. 27
Riley's mediocre life may make Chiefs fans a little squeamish about taking an offensive tackle in the first round. The only thing memorable about his time in KC is that he was charged with multiple felonies for ramming his vehicle into another vehicle, which contained his wife and infant daughter. Let the record books show: aggravated assault, criminal damage to property, misdemeanor child endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident.
2003, Round 1, Pick No. 27
LJ is yet another player noted for his off-the-field failures. Dude was a dick. His rap sheet includes a pair of domestic-violence incidents (waving a gun at his then girlfriend in 2003, a 2005 arrest for allegedly pushing a woman, a pair of 2008 arrests for assaults on women at nightclubs, and a 2012 arrest for allegedly trying to strangle an ex-girlfriend at a Las Vegas casino). At least the Chiefs cut the self-proclaimed "King Pink" before he could become the franchise's all-time leading rusher.
1990, Round 1, Pick No. 13
It's hard to pin Snow's failing on the Chiefs. When the linebacker from Michigan State finished his rookie season, there was hope that he'd be a part of Marty Schottenheimer's defense for years to come. Then he hopped on a moped during the 1991 training camp. And he crashed. His season was over, and so, pretty much, was his career. This is why teams put clauses in their contracts against riding motorcycles (and mopeds).
1987, Round 1, Pick No. 19
The 1987 draft was a strange one for the Chiefs. The team selected running backs in the first and second rounds. Palmer, a Heisman Trophy runner-up out of Temple, went first. The second guy, well, he was a Nightmare on Palmer's playing time.
1991, Round 1, Pick No. 21
If you thought Palmer was living a bad dream, think of Williams out there in a Chiefs backfield loaded with Christian Okoye and Barry Word (and, later, Marcus Allen).
1965, Round 1, Pick No. 5
The Chiefs drafted the Hall of Fame running back from the University of Kansas in the AFL Draft and made an aggressive play to sign the Kansas Comet. But Sayers was also drafted by the NFL's Chicago Bears (Round 1, pick No. 4), and he chose Chicago's offer, which he referred to as "$4.95 and a carton of Cokes." If he had signed with the Chiefs, the Wichita native would easily be on the team's all-time-best list.
THE JURY'S OUT
2007, Round 1, Pick No. 23
The 2013 season looks to be a big one for the Chiefs' No. 1 receiver. Bowe had an awful 2012, beset by injuries and poof quarterbacking. But '13 may be Bowe's lucky number, now that he has inked a five-year, $56 million contract. Can he live up to being one of the highest-paid receivers in the league? There's plenty of opportunity with a new quarterback, a new coach and a new system.
2009, Round 1, Pick No. 3
B.J. Raji. Brian Orakpo. Brian Cushing. Clay Matthews. The Chiefs passed on these four Pro Bowl defensive players (and wide receiver Percy Harvin) to take Jackson with the third overall pick. The team guaranteed the LSU defensive end $31 million. How well did this work out? In March, Jackson accepted a pay cut of more than $10 million to stay with the Chiefs.
2010, Round 1, Pick No. 5
Berry is a two-time Pro Bowler, earning honors his rookie year and last season. No bagging on a guy who missed the entire 2011 season with a torn ACL. He's certainly a long way from being a bust.
2011, Round 1, Pick No. 26
Baldwin was supposed to be the No. 2 receiver behind Dwayne Bowe. In two seasons, however, the former Pittsburgh Panther has done little to secure that spot, despite possessing big-play ability. (He caught a 57-yard pass, the team's longest reception for '12.). Baldwin's offseason story is the same: He looks good when the team plays without pads, but when they suit up, well, that's a different story. His time may be up with the signing of Donnie Avery.
2011, Round 3, Pick No. 70
In his second season with the Chiefs, Houston doubled his sack total (10). The linebacker earned a ticket to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl when an injury forced Denver's Von Miller to cancel. He has been a bright spot in a defense that was one of the worst in the league in 2012.
2012, Round 1, No. 11
It's really, really early to gauge what kind of player Poe may become. But after one season, this is what we know: He's a freak athlete. (At the NFL Combine, he ran a 4.98-second 40-yard dash, despite weighing 346 pounds, and captured the attention of President Obama.) As a rookie, he started every game at nose tackle, recorded 38 total tackles (28 unassisted) and proved to be a three-down player, even if he failed to get a sack. If he continues to progress, he'll be a hit.