Analysis Opinion

Top five tight ends in Chiefs franchise history

Over the course of franchise history, dating back to the inception as the Dallas Texans, the Chiefs have had some terrific talent at the TE position.

One of the hardest franchise stars to find is at the TE position. If a team can find a franchise TE, the offense has a strong asset for up to 10-12 years. The Chiefs have found two franchise tight ends.

The top two tight ends are obvious and are undebatable, but let’s look at the other three and the complete top five list for TEs in Chiefs franchise history.

5. Jason Dunn (2000-2007)

Jason Dunn is not known for his contributions in the passing game as much for his blocking abilities. The thing about TEs is that it is a unique position that is vital in two aspects of the game: receiving and blocking.

For his receiving contributions over his eight years in KC, Dunn had 353 yards and seven touchdowns. His best season came in 2004 when he recorded 120 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 17 receptions. His receiving numbers took a hit as NFL Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez was the lead TE and number one receiving option.

Dunn was really used as an extra lineman and really contributed to the offense in that role. His numbers in the receiving game don’t give him a spot on this list, but his blocking abilities get him there as he was a part of why Larry Johnson rushed for over 1,700 yards and at least 15 touchdowns in two consecutive seasons.

4. Walter White (1975-1979)

While White was only a member of the Chiefs for five seasons, he flourished for the Chiefs during his time with them. He was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round of the 1975 NFL Draft and was traded to Chiefs before the start if his rookie year. In his rookie season, White recorded 559 yards receiving and three touchdowns.

His second season in 1976 was his breakout year. That year, he posted career-highs in receiving yards (808) and touchdowns (7), averaging over 17 yards per catch on 47 receptions. White’s career season in 1976 elevated the Chiefs offense to the seventh-best overall in the league and a ranking of second in the passing game.

White had a solid career with the Chiefs. His final stats over those five seasons tallied at 163 receptions for 2,396 yards and 16 touchdowns.

3. Fred Arbanas (1962-1970)

In the 1962 AFL Draft, the Dallas Texans drafted Fred Arbanas in the seventh round out of Michigan State University. He went on to spend his entire career with the Texans/Chiefs.

Over his career, Arbanas recorded over 3,100 receiving yards and 34 touchdowns. His best season came in 1964 as he tallied a career-high 686 receiving yards and career-high eight touchdowns. He averaged over 20 yards per reception and earned a Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro selection.

Over his nine-year career, Arbanas was a five-time Pro Bowler, three-time First-Team All-Pro, and a one-time Super Bowl Champion. All of his accolades and play earned him a spot in the Chiefs Hall of Fame in 1973.

2. Travis Kelce (2013-Present)

The Chiefs drafted Travis Kelce with the first pick in the third round of 2013 NFL Draft. However, his rookie season would not be until 2014 as the Chiefs had to place him on the inured reserve the entire 2013 season with an ankle injury.

However, his rookie season showed a ton of potential as he recorded over 800 yards and five touchdowns. His first breakout season came in 2016 as he reached 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in his career, earning a First-Team All-Pro selection for the first time in his career.

He continued his tremendous play in the next three seasons, eclipsing 1,000 yards each year. His best season came in 2018 as he posted career-high in receiving yards (1,336), touchdowns (10), and receptions (103) on his way to earning his second First-Team All-Pro selection.

As he eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving once again this past season, Kelce became the first tight end ever to have four straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons. He is also the fastest tight end ever to reach 425 receptions and 5,500 receiving yards with reaching the feat in only 83 career games.

Kelce has become a star in the NFL and the league’s best tight end. In just six active seasons, Kelce has 507 receptions, 6,465 receiving yards, and 37 touchdowns. He has been one of the league’s best at the position for years, but has become the league’s best at the TE position and a star player.

Over his career, he is a two-time First-Team All-Pro selections and five-time Pro Bowler, while winning his first Super Bowl last season. This year he can overcome Otis Taylor for the second-most receiving yards in franchise history.

When it is all said and done, Kelce will be one of the greatest TEs of all time and the greatest tight end in Chiefs history, overcoming Hall of Famer, Tony Gonzalez. He will overcome Gonzalez for the most receiving yards and touchdowns in franchise history while securing a spot in Canton as a member of the NFL Hall of Fame.

1. Tony Gonzalez (1997-2013)

The Chiefs selected Tony Gonzalez with the No. 13 overall pick in the 1997 NFL Draft. Little did they know that at the time, they were drafting the franchise’s current top TE and best player.

Gonzalez really showed the signs of becoming an NFL star in 1999, when he earned his first career Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro selections. HE solidified his stardom at the turn of the century when he launched his first 1,000-yard receiving season, and second consecutive Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro selections in 2000. He would continue this stretch and be named to the Pro Bowl and receive a First-Team All-Pro selection for the third straight year in 2001.

From 1999-2008, Gonzalez was selected to the Pro Bowl in each of those years, including a career season in 2004, setting career-highs in receding yards (1,258) and receptions (102), leading the league in receptions that year as well. During this season, he had four 1,000-yard seasons and three seasons with at least 10 receiving touchdowns.

Gonzalez is arguably the greatest TE in the history of the NFL. He was selected to 10 Pro Bowls and was a five-time First-Team All-Pro Selection with the Chiefs. He holds franchise records for the most receiving yards (10,940), receiving touchdowns (76), and receptions (916). He also hold records for the most receiving yards and receptions in NFL history by a TE, while being second all-time in receiving touchdowns by a TE.

His incredible career was capped off with an induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2019 and will always be considered one of the great tight ends ever. He sits at the top for the best tight end in. Chiefs history for now, but that could change as Travis Kelce is rapidly rising in Chiefs history and could overtake Gonzalez.

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