The top five pass catchers in Kansas City Chiefs history

Tony Gonzalez #88 of the Kansas City Chiefs (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Tony Gonzalez #88 of the Kansas City Chiefs (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

The Chiefs have had their fair share of talented receivers in their long NFL history. Today, we rank the top receiving hands in Chiefs history.

The K.C. Chiefs have seemingly had more ups and downs than any other NFL franchise. One year, the defense is really good and the offense sputters out. The next, the offense is exciting and unstoppable while the defense allows 30 points per game. But one thing that has been constant throughout the team’s history is the ability to make big-time catches.

Whether it be Otis Taylor, Tyreek Hill, or Tony Gonzalez, the Chiefs have had some players in their history that have had great hands. Today we are speaking about the ability to catch specifically, not everything else that being a great receiver involves. Here are the best pass-catchers in Chiefs history.

1. Tony Gonzalez

While Tony Gonzalez is somehow a divisive figure for Chiefs fans he is undoubtedly one of the best pass-catchers in NFL history, let alone in Chiefs history. Currently, Gonzalez is 6th all-time in receiving yards, 3rd in all-time receptions, and 8th in receiving touchdowns. All of this is to say, Tony Gonzalez was one-of-a-kind and his greatest asset was his incredible ability to catch the football.

I can remember watching Gonzalez and thinking, “He never drops a pass.” While he was targeted a whopping 1,409 times, Gonzalez was rarely the reason a pass fell to the ground. Getting two hands on the football generally meant that Gonzalez was coming down with the football.

Showcasing his incredible hands, Gonzalez did much of his work with horrendous quarterback play from the likes of Tyler Thigpen, Damon Huard, and Brodie Croyle. Truthfully, he was Kansas City’s only weapon for part of his career and he did not disappoint. Unlike some of the other greatest pass catchers in NFL history, Gonzalez is among the only ones to play tight end. He also is among the few that never had an elite quarterback throwing him the ball.

Simply put, Gonzalez is the most under-appreciated player in Chiefs history. His ability to catch the ball is unrivaled in the ranks of Chiefs’ lore.

2. Travis Kelce

Travis Kelce has made a living in the middle of the field against safeties and linebackers. Standing 6’5″ and weighing 260 pounds, there is no real way to cover him effectively. While there was a concern about drops early in his career, Kelce has become one of the most sure-handed pass catchers in Chiefs history since.

Fittingly for this list, Kelce trails just one player in receiving statistics in Chiefs history: Tony Gonzalez. When you think of Kelce, you often think about his quickness in and out of his routes and his ability to run with the ball in his hands at such a great size. What is somewhat overlooked, however, is his ability to catch the ball.

Kelce is about as reliable of a receiver as they come. While the Kansas City offense seems disjointed and out of whack this season, by and large Kelce has been very good. In his career, Kelce has a whopping catching percentage of 70.9 on his career targets. For a player that has been targeted 939 times in his career, this is an incredible asset to an offense. Kelce is top-notch and comes in 2nd on this list.

3. Tyreek Hill

Until this year, Tyreek Hill was one of the most sure-handed receivers in the NFL. With incredible athleticism, Hill has the elite skill of high-pointing the football. While Hill is unbelievably fast, his ability to leap at 5’10” is a crucial part of his game.

Hill has dropped several passes this season. As the Chiefs and Hill continue to have a season that is not living up to expectations, Hill is still the third greatest pass catcher in Chiefs history. Hill’s hands, until this year, are about as automatic as you can expect.

4. Otis Taylor

While Otis Taylor is a legend in Chiefs’ circles, he is known for much more by the NFL. There was the Jack Del Rio incident in which Taylor was assaulted by Del Rio after a misunderstanding during the 1987 player’s strike. There was also the Ben Davidson incident in which Otis Taylor attacked Davidson after he speared quarterback Len Dawson after a game-clinching scramble. Taylor was also quite the player.

While Taylor was electric with the ball in his hands, he was also about as dependable as they came. In the words of Len Dawson himself, “Otis made my job easy. If you got the pass to Otis, you knew he’d catch it.” Taylor is the leading wide receiver in Chiefs franchise history and was a vital part of the offense that defeated the Minnesota Vikings, featuring the “Purple People Eaters“,  of 1970 in the Super Bowl. During that game, Taylor caught a quick pass that he ran in 46 yards for a touchdown.

5. Dwayne Bowe

How could anyone forget the Dwayne Bowe show? While his problems off the field were a bit of a distraction, Bowe had great hands on the field, but he did not have a lengthy career. If he had, we might be talking about Dwayne Bowe as a top-three receiver in Chiefs history.

While Bowe never played on a good Kansas City team, he was incredibly explosive. In fact, there was a game in which Dwayne Bowe came down with a touchdown reception that he caught in between his legs. Bowe finished his career averaging 4.5 catches per game and 44 touchdowns.

Next. Former Chiefs who deserve Ring of Honor consideration. dark