Someone once said that a team is only as good as its drafts.
Drafting is not brain surgery. Teams have refined their drafting approach by adding more scouts, extending budgets, and implementing sophisticated equipment to quantitatively, and qualitatively, support their draft selections.
Much has been written about how bad the Chiefs have drafted over the years, but if you research the topic, you will find that K.C. rarely misses when it comes to first round picks.
Now, that doesn't mean that most of those picks were Pro Bowlers, but the team found some value with those picks, at least to a reasonable extent.
In my opinion, the Chiefs have drafted only three first-round busts over the past 20 years (in 1990, 1995, and 2002).
In 1990, the Chiefs drafted a linebacker out of Michigan State named Percy Snow. He looked like Mike Tyson. Like Tyson, he really liked the knockout shot on ball carriers. Kansas City celebrated when he was still available at their spot. He looked like the definitive Mike Linebacker.
Problem was, the Chiefs scouts didn't do their homework.
Michigan State ran what today would be considered a 3-4 defense. These defenses were not common back then. When scouts looked at the film, they could see the defense was designed to give Snow a clean shot at the running back on every play. When you combined his excellent stats with his big-time hits, Snow looked like a dominating, larger-than-life player.
Kansas City refused to center their defensive scheme around Percy. The result? Percy (and his hits) became almost non-existent.
The best play I ever saw Snow make was when he was called offside. After the whistle, he smacked a QB in the teeth. That resulted in an ejection and cost the team an exhibition game.
Snow rarely saw the field after that.
In 1995, the Chiefs had another true bust in offensive tackle Trezelle Jenkins.
Jenkins played at Michigan. From a physical standpoint, he was born to play offensive tackle. He had long arms, great height, the entire package.
The Chiefs liked him, but didn't love him. That also did not stop Kansas City from drafting him.
The story is quite interesting.
That year, the Chiefs desperately needed an offensive tackle. By the time they got to the middle of round one there were four players at that position they graded out equally.
Carl Peterson decided to trade down, but not too far, pick up an extra pick in the third or fourth, and then take whomever was left.
They got Jenkins.
With that extra pick, they took a linebacker who lasted two years in the pros, playing special teams. Peterson struck out twice in one at-bat.
By trading down, he passed on Korey Stringer, a former Pro Bowler who died a number of years ago after a stellar career. Stringer also played offensive tackle.
Jenkins played just nine games in his entire career. What a bust.
In 2002, Peterson wanted an impact defensive tackle. There was buzz surrounding North Carolina's Ryan Sims.
Sims had a great senior year playing alongside Tar Heel teammate Julius Peppers. If you looked at the tapes, it sometimes took three men to contain Peppers. The attention paid to Julius opened holes for Sims to make big plays.
Sims had personal traits that Pioli would have fallen in love with. He worked hard and always gave 100 percent. One draft expert stated, "He is a coach's dream."
However, the same expert also disclosed that if he was drafted high, he was the type that might loaf after getting the big payday. He did.
What's interesting was there were a couple of bookend defensive tackles from Tennessee named John Henderson and Albert Haynesworth who were also available when the Chiefs selected Sims. Their personalities couldn't be more opposite.
Henderson was well-known and respected. He was a team captain and mature beyond his years.
Haynesworth was moody, hard to coach, even hard to motivate. But Haynesworth had a sky-high ceiling for any team willing to take a chance.
Scouts couldn't decide which player was better. They switched off, play by play, taking turns taking on double teams at Tennessee.
One would think Kansas City would see the value in either. They chose Sims instead.
All in all, though, I would not consider any other Chief first-round pick since 1990 a complete bust. At least not yet.
As for Tyson Jackson, as Gordon Gecko said in the movie Wall Street, "this is your wakeup call buddy, get to work".