The Kansas City Chiefs have drafted very well in the last few years under John Dorsey but that hasn’t always been the case, as illustrated by Todd Blackledge.
ESPN recently ran an overview asking the beat writers for every team who the biggest draft bust in each franchise’s history would be. Adam Teicher’s reply is likely the same one every Chiefs fan would name—at least those who are old enough to remember. Quarterback Todd Blackledge was the team’s last first round pick at quarterback and his shadow looms over any general manager thinking of making the same sort of call. Teicher writes:
"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)."
It’s for any team to stomach missing out on Hall of Fame caliber players while staring down your own mediocrity. Blackledge was even worse than Teicher pointed out, completing only 49% of his passes attempted during his Chiefs career. It’s not that he was an accurate passer who occasionally gave up the turnover. Instead, he was always inaccurate and team’s were often sitting and waiting to take advantage. To Blackledge’s credit, he did finish with a winning record as a starter in Kansas City at 13-11.
After his retirement from the NFL, which included two more seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Blackledge became a college football announcer, including several years with ESPN.