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3 biggest draft busts in Kansas City Chiefs history

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Aug 16, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jon Baldwin (89) returns to the huddle during the second half of the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Arrowhead Stadium. San Francisco won 15-13. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs have hauled in impressive draft prospects, but a look at Chiefs history demonstrates a few draft misses over the years.

The Kansas City Chiefs‘ renowned dominance in recent years — four AFC Championship appearances, three conference titles and two Super Bowl victories since 2019 — is largely in part to making the right roster acquisitions in the NFL Draft. The Chicago Bears’ folly in drafting Mitch Trubisky became the Chiefs’ steal of the century when they selected Patrick Mahomes in 2017. Even with the departure of Tyreek Hill, who arrived in the 2016 draft class, the Chiefs were able to power their way to another Super Bowl run with drafted stars such as Travis Kelce, Creed Humphrey, Skyy Moore and Isiah Pacheco.

Roster-building is imperative to any football dynasty, and this can only be achieved in today’s NFL through successive fruitful draft classes. The Chiefs have gotten it overwhelmingly right, but before the present era, there were moments where the team couldn’t have been more wrong.

Here are a few of the biggest draft mistakes the NFL champions made before their current reign over the league.

Biggest NFL Draft busts in Kansas City Chiefs history

3. Jon Baldwin

As Arrowhead Addict’s Matt Conner points out, the Chiefs have repeatedly struck gold with their first-round selections over the past decade. Patrick Mahomes, Eric Berry, Marcus Peters and Eric Fisher are just a few of the players the Chiefs drafted in the first round in the 2010s, but a first-round selection at the start of the decade set the team back in terms of lost opportunity.

Before the Chiefs drafted Tyreek Hill and Skyy Moore, they took a chance on Pitt wide receiver Jon Baldwin in the 2011 NFL Draft. A 6-foot-4 wideout with a 4.48 40-yard dash time, Baldwin combined a towering reach with speed and ball security. Through his three years at Pitt, Baldwin accrued 128 receptions for 2,337 yards and 16 touchdowns. After four years in the NFL, Baldwin was only able to maintain a fraction of his collegiate production.

Drafted at No. 26, Baldwin was envisioned to become a valuable asset to quarterback Matt Cassell opposite Dwayne Bowe. By training camp, Baldwin signed a four-year deal worth $7.5 million before he took his first NFL snap. Two years later, the Chiefs traded the first-round wide receiver to the San Francisco 49ers.

Baldwin’s rookie season started rough with a preseason wrist injury due to a fight with teammate Thomas Jones. Then, he didn’t appear on the field until Week 6, where he caught one of five targets for 14 yards. In Week 7, the glimmering promise of Baldwin’s potential shone through, when he caught five of eight targets for 82 yards and a touchdown. That was his only touchdown of the season, and he would only catch one more in his three-year NFL career.

No. 26 is where players like Jordan Love, Clay Matthews, Montez Sweat and Calvin Ridley were drafted. A first-round wide receiver with only 607 total receiving yards in his NFL career left much to be desired, considering his draft stock.