Closing in on a week to go until the 2014 NFL Draft, I decided to look over past Kansas City Chiefs drafts in order to select the best one. The study quickly showed that most of the franchise’s great drafts came back in the AFL days, which goes a long way toward explaining why Lamar Hunt’s Chiefs were the dominant team of the old AFL. The 1963 draft, however, stands out as the best in Chiefs’ history.
The AFL only had 8 teams in 1963, so it’s hardly surprising that the draft had an astounding 29 rounds. If you include the 14 NFL teams, there were only 22 franchises in professional football.
Even with the concentrated talent of the early 60’s, the Chiefs had one of the great all-time drafts in NFL history. Their draft included 2 Hall-of-Fame players, 5 players who made at least one first-team all-pro team, and an astounding 8 players who started 7 years or more in professional football. Five players from the 1963 class have been inducted to the Chiefs Hall-of-Fame.
Kansas City’s 1963 class is comparable to what most consider the best draft in NFL history: the 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers draft that included 4 Hall-of-Fame players (Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth, and Mike Webster). Kansas City’s 1963 class piled up 15 1st-team all-pro nods, while the 1974 Steelers class had 14. The Chiefs ’63 class earned 34 pro-bowl appearances to 24 for the ’74 Steelers.
The 1963 draft class also included four players who would earn spots on the All-Time AFL 1st team, and one player on the 2nd team.
While the much more famous 1974 Steeler draft might be the best in NFL history, Kansas City’s 1963 haul might be the best ever for the AFL.
In this slide show, I will highlight the five players from the 1963 draft that spent their careers in Kansas City, then list the 3 players that established themselves on other teams, and then include a list of the entire 1963 Kansas City draft.