Kansas City Chiefs: 7 Most Underrated Players in Franchise History
The Chiefs have had some players go unnoticed or forgotten for their accomplishments and I will highlight them in this slideshow. As always, let me know what you think!
RBs Robert Holmes and Warren McVea
Many Chiefs fans remember Mike Garrett as Kansas City’s primary running back during the Hank Stram era. That is no surprise as Garrett was above the league average most seasons in the 1960’s and 70’s.
However, Chiefs fans don’t seem to know that the team had other big-time contributors when Len Dawson had his down moments. Particularly in 1969, when Dawson threw nine touchdown passes and 13 interceptions during the team’s only Super Bowl run.
Backup running backs Robert Holmes and Warren McVea were serviceable players that made an impact during the team’s Super Bowl run in the regular season. Holmes rushed for 612 yards and two touchdowns while McVea rushed for 500 yards and seven touchdowns.
Along with Garrett’s 732 yards on the ground, the Chiefs' second-ranked rush offense was one of the bigger factors that helped them earn their only Super Bowl trophy.
WR Chris Burford
Before Kansas City’s Super Bowl run, one of Dawson’s favorite targets was Chris Burford.
Burford ranks sixth all-time in franchise history with 5,505 yards receiving yards, but has accumulated the third most touchdowns with 55 end zone appearances. He is two touchdowns behind Otis Taylor for second place while Tony Gonzalez leads the franchise in all receiving categories.
Burford also gave the Chiefs few problems when it comes to protecting the football. In his eight seasons with Kansas City, he fumbled only three times.
WR Derrick Alexander
Derrick Alexander is well remembered in Kansas City, however, he didn't receive as much recognition nationally during his years with the Chiefs, specifically for his stellar performance in 2000.
Alexander put up over 800 passing yards in his first two seasons with the Chiefs. He also had exactly 54 catches in each of those two seasons, but only six touchdown receptions.
In 2000, Alexander had his breakout season with 1,391 receiving yards, the most in a single season by any Chief in franchise history. Alexander caught 78 passes with 10 of them in the end zone. It was his best season statistically.
Among all receivers in the league that year, Alexander finished seventh in yards and had the second highest YPC average.
LB Donnie Edwards
During his first stint with Kansas City, Donnie Edwards was one of the most versatile linebackers in the league and was active in multiple ways to help the Chiefs' defense in the late 1990’s.
From 1996 through 2001, Edwards had 14.5 sacks, 10 interceptions and seven forced fumbles. In 2007, he returned to Kansas City and got two sacks, one interception and popped one football loose.
Kansas City’s defense was one of the best as Edwards contributed playing alongside Derrick Thomas and Neil Smith.
Edwards' only Pro Bowl appearance was when he played with the San Diego Chargers, mainly for having a high tackle total in 2003 even though he put up bigger numbers in other categories with the Chiefs.
CB Brandon Carr
Since being drafted in 2008, Brandon Carr has been well-remembered by fans in Kansas City and it was hoped that he would return for the 2012 season.
As a No. 2 cornerback, Carr started 16 games in all four of the seasons he played in Kansas City. While continuing to improve, Carr established himself as a better defender, knocking down passes and limiting receptions.
This offseason, Carr landed a five-year deal worth $50.1 million with the Dallas Cowboys. It will be interesting to see if Carr can continue his level of play, and better yet, get more recognition for his work.
PR J.T. Smith
J.T. Smith was one of the league’s electrifying returners in the 1980’s. It all began in Kansas City where he got a chance to prove himself after the Washington Redskins let him leave.
His best years as a wide receiver was with the St. Louis Rams, but Kansas City was where he excelled as a punt returner. While most fans think of Dante Hall or Tamarick Vanover as the best returners to play for the Chiefs, fans don’t seem to remember this player that once ignited the KC special teams unit.
Smith returned the most yards off punts in franchise history with 2,289 in his six years with the Chiefs. He is tied with Vanover in punt-return touchdowns with four while Hall has five.
Smith went on to play for the Rams and the Phoenix Cardinals after leaving the Chiefs in 1985. Smith saw limited action as a returner and was more dominant on offense.