Every NFL team has made draft selections that they regret: The San Diego Chargers drafting Ryan Leaf. The Oakland Raiders picking Jamarcus Russel number-one overall. There was even Brian Bosworth who was a huge NFL bust for the Seattle Seahawks—ask Bo Jackson.
But for the Kansas City Chiefs their biggest bust has to be Todd Blackledge. In 1983 the Chiefs had the number-seven overall pick in the draft. With arguably the greatest and most talented draft class coming forward the Chiefs selected quarterback Todd Blackledge.
The sad thing is Blackledge really wasn’t a terrible choice by the Chiefs. He played three seasons for Penn State and even won the 1983 Sugar Bowl, which was that year’s National Championship. Blackledge was terrific in the big game with no mistakes and 228 passing yards. But in the end he was just a product of Joe Paterno‘s system.
There was a total of seven Hall of Famers from the 1983 draft. Only two out of those seven were drafted ahead of Blackledge: John Elway and Eric Dickerson.
The five Hall of Famers that the Chiefs passed over in 1983 in favor over Blackledge include Jim Kelly, Bruce Matthews, Super Bowl MVP Richard Dent (above), Darrell Green, and most famously Dan Marino. The Chiefs also passed over notable players such as running back Roger Craig and quarterback Ken O’Brien.
Blackledge would only start 29 games for the Chiefs over a five season span. His inability to read defenses resulted in an NFL career of 29 touchdowns and 38 interceptions and a dismal 48% completion percentage. In 1986 he was replaced by 12th round pick Bill Kenney who led the team to the playoffs. Unfortunately Kenney was injured in the final game of the season leaving Blackledge to start for the playoffs. In Blackledge’s only playoff game he passed for 80 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions.
Todd Blackledge may have been born in Canton, but he won’t end up there.