KC Chiefs: Todd Blackledge Named Biggest Chiefs Draft Bust

Todd Blackledge #14 of the KC Chiefs (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
Todd Blackledge #14 of the KC Chiefs (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images) /

When looking back at past drafts by the KC Chiefs, no bigger bust really stands out other than Todd Blackledge, who the team selected seventh overall in 1983. ESPN noted that he is the team’s biggest bust.

The 1980s wasn’t a good decade for the Kansas City Chiefs. A lot of that was because of their poor first round pick in the 1983 NFL Draft when they decided to go with Todd Blackledge at the seventh pick.

The Chiefs selected Blackledge over guys like Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, and even some guy named Ken O’Brien had a better career than ol’ Todd. It’s just another Chiefs moment that makes you shake your head and think, “Only the Chiefs!”

Here was ESPN’s take on the difficult choice as to who KC’s bust was,

"The Chiefs had more than their share of draft busts during the 1970s and 1980s, which explains why they made the playoffs only twice during those decades. They drafted worse players than Blackledge in the first round, but passed over future Hall of Fame quarterbacks Jim Kelly and Dan Marino to get him. Unfair or not, that gives Blackledge his own spot in the Chiefs’ draft Hall of Shame. He started 24 games for the Chiefs in five years and threw more interceptions (32) than touchdowns (26)"

That sums it up pretty well. Blackledge was atrocious in the NFL and was out of the league by 1989. He spent five years in Kansas City and his final two pro seasons were with the Steelers.

When it comes to draft busts in Kansas City, Blackledge will be a tough name to surpass. He was so bad that the Chiefs haven’t drafted a quarterback in the first round since! I’m sure that’s not the reasoning, but it’d be a good reason not to. The organization is scarred for life.

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Something else to keep in mind here, however, is that the Kansas City Chiefs don’t draft flashy players in the first round, so Todd Blackledge probably will remain as the organization’s biggest bust for decades to come. The Chiefs don’t go after quarterbacks in round one, and those are the easiest players to slot in as the busts.

Another name to consider is Jonathan Baldwin, who the Chiefs drafted in 2011. He only spent two seasons with Kansas City after being their 26th overall pick that year. He had 41 catches for 579 yards and two sad touchdowns. Baldwin had potential, but never amounted to anything and was a hot head.

As bad as Baldwin was though, Todd Blackledge still takes the cake as the KC Chiefs biggest draft bust.

For the record, the rest of the AFC West busts were Ryan Leaf for the Chargers (second overall in 1998), JaMarcus Russell (first overall in 2007), and Ted Gregory (a defensive tackle, 26th overall in 1988). Leaf and Russell weren’t surprising, as they’re easily two of the biggest draft busts ever, and I hadn’t even heard of Gregory, so I guess the pick was a good one.

What do you think, Chiefs fans? Is Todd Blackledge easily the biggest bust or would you go with someone else?