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The Two Biggest Chiefs Draft Busts In The Last Ten Years (2011-2021)

Growing up a Chiefs fan, I had the pleasure and the proverbial pain of watching different regimes construct a well-built team designed seemingly exclusively for a serious push into postseason contention. These regimes challenged our presuppositions about how our Kansas City Chiefs played the game year after year.

Some of these front offices fielded highly adequate teams. However, a few Chiefs’ regimes made us question the very reason why we were even loyal fans of the team, to begin with, but the one thing that all these regimes had in common was the successful draft picks they acquired—the absolute future of the franchise.

To measure success in the National Football League, we can use measurements of time. Because many draft picks take time to develop, we cannot simply label a prospective player a bust within his first couple of seasons of play. Doing so would be inequitable to the player in question and the team as a whole, especially when some players take longer to adjust to the game’s speed than others.

Since we can employ time as a simple measuring device related to the possible accession of NFL Stardom, we can evaluate players that the Chiefs have drafted in the past ten years and dispute their validity. Many superstars drafted in the past ten years alone are Hall of Fame worthy, but we will contest which ones are the biggest draft bust in these last ten years.

Jonathan Baldwin, WR

With the first pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs selected Jonathan Baldwin. Baldwin was a big-bodied wide receiver from the University of Pittsburg who made even some of the tallest defensive backs look inconsequential. At the collegiate level, Baldwin had some of the most surreal measurables of any receiver in this year’s draft class that helped him solidify a reservation in the first round with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The General Manager at the time, Scott Pioli, and head coach Todd Haley were looking to add yet another playmaker to a mediocre offense. One NFL analyst even compared him to Vincent Jackson, who was an all-pro wide receiver. His last two seasons at the University of Pittsburg were pretty productive as he had over 1900 yards and 13 touchdowns. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, their first-round investment netted a return of 579 yards and two touchdowns out of 41 catches.

Baldwin would be traded to the San Francisco 49ers two years later on a swap that brought A.J Jenkins, another abysmal wide receiver selected in the first round.

Breeland Speaks, DE

With the first pick, in the second round, the Kansas City Chiefs selected Breeland Speaks, DE, Ole Miss.

Things were starting to turn around in Kansas City. With the addition of new coach Andy Reid and General Manager John Dorsey, the Chiefs were climbing away from mediocrity and embarrassment. There was a new feel to this team. However, after the 2016 season, the team fired John Dorsey due to poor communication and questionable management styles.

This opened the door for a new General Manager that could reinforce the front office and get new blood to help the relationships within the organization flourish. The 2018 NFL draft was new General Manager Brett Veach’s first draft, and he was assigned the task of operating in this year’s draft without a first-round pick after surrendering it to acquire Patrick Mahomes in 2017.

The selection of Breeland Speaks left many fans angry and confused. Many experts believed that Speaks did not fit the Chiefs’ defensive scheme and that he could have slid to the later rounds. The fact that Veach traded up in the second round to get Breeland Speaks had many fans scratching their heads, especially when he was not a great scheme fit.

Speaks played in four games in his rookie year and had three tackles for a loss, with one and a half sacks. I’m 2020; after inconsistent play and injury, the Chiefs decided to part ways with Speaks, as he wasn’t a good fit in Kansas City.

Honorable Mentions:

  1. KeiVarae Russell, CB, Norte Dame

  2. Chris Conley, WR, Georgia

  3. Philip Gaines, CB, Rice

  4. De’Anthony Thomas, WR, Oregon

Who do you think is the biggest draft bust for the Chiefs in the past ten years? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion.

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