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Kansas City Chiefs: All-time underrated, overrated players

  • By Nick Toney NFL.com
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It's summer time at the NFL.  During the next few weeks, we here at NFL.com will unveil our Most Underrated and Overrated Players of All Time for all 32 teams and allow users to determine their choices as well.

Underrated

Ed Podolak -- RB, 1969-77
The four running backs ahead of him on the Kansas City Chiefs' all-time rushing list are certainly more recognizable -- Priest Holmes, Larry Johnson, Christian Okoye and Jamaal Charles -- but Podolak was more than just a standout ball carrier. He led the Chiefs in receiving and punt return yardage three separate times over his nine-year career, and his 18,178 career combined yards are second most in franchise history. That versatility was never more evident than it was in an overtime playoff loss against the Miami Dolphins in 1971. In the longest game ever played, Podolak had 85 rushing yards, 110 receiving yards and 155 return yards -- good for an NFL playoff-record 350 total yards.

Henry Marshall -- WR, 1976-87
If it weren't for Tony Gonzalez, the underrated Marshall would own a few of the Chiefs' receiving records. Getting there wasn't easy for the 6-foot-2 Missouri product, though. Marshall flew under the radar on some bad Chiefs teams because of injuries, coach Marv Levy's run-first philosophy and a bad case of quarterback roulette in Kansas City. He overcame all three and ended his career with 416 career receptions, one spot behind Gonzalez in the Chiefs' record books.

Gary Spani -- LB, 1978-86
The Chiefs weren't good enough to be in playoff contention until Spani's final NFL season. Under the radar and out of the spotlight, Spani quietly notched 999 career tackles, the most in franchise history. His team record for tackles in a season -- 154 -- also stood until 2002. The Chiefs could've used more hard-nosed players like Spani during the nine seasons he played in Kansas City.

Joe Montana -- QB, 1993-94
Seeing Joe Montana in a Chiefs jersey looked out of place at first, but the all-everything quarterback quickly proved he belonged in Kansas City. Following his ouster in San Francisco (where his underrated-overrated status is debatable), Montana changed the Chiefs' culture and led his new team to two come-from-behind playoff wins in 1993. In 1994, Montana had enough magic left to win a memorable Monday night duel with John Elway and a homecoming game with the 49ers. The Chiefs haven't won a playoff game since Montana retired before the 1995 season.

Jason Dunn -- TE, 2000-07
In a testament to his underrated-ness, Jason Dunn's career is best measured by the success he helped others achieve. Both Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson reached the 1,000-yard rushing mark twice with Dunn -- a premier blocking tight end -- on the team. And with Dunn staying in to pick up pass rushers, fellow tight end Tony Gonzalez was free to make plays down the field and become an All-Pro player.

Overrated

Mike Garrett -- RB, 1966-69
Garrett was the high-profile, Heisman-winning back during the Chiefs' two Super Bowl runs. And the team's most infamous play -- 65 Toss Power Trap -- ended in a Garrett touchdown that gave the Chiefs their lone Super Bowl title. Those memorable moments, coupled with the stellar line play he enjoyed in Kansas City, might inflate Garrett's value a little. Consider this: after his only 1,000-yard season in 1967, Garrett was out-rushed by his backup, Robert Holmes. The Chiefs stuck with a trio of Holmes, Warren McVea and newly-acquired Ed Podolak (see above), choosing to trade Garrett to San Diego after only five seasons. He was a great player, but maybe not as great as fans remember.

Lloyd Burruss -- SS, 1981-91
It was hard to be a member of the Chiefs' secondary in the late 1980s to early 1990s and not look like a Pro Bowler. Albert Lewis and Kevin Ross became a lethal cornerback tandem, and Deron Cherry was well on his way to five All-Pro and six Pro Bowl selections at free safety. Burruss, the odd man out, must've received more opportunities as teams threw away from the other three, but only made one Pro Bowl during the team's golden age of intercepting.

Eric Hicks -- DE, 1998-2006
Hicks is fourth on the Chiefs' all-time sack list, but notched zero career Pro Bowls. Perhaps voters recognized that Hicks was reaping the benefits of the guy on the other end of the Chiefs' defensive line -- Jared Allen. Allen nearly matched Hicks' eight-year sack total in half the time with the team. Don't let the record books fool you -- Hicks was never a feared pass rusher like the three Chiefs sack artists ahead of him in the team record books: Derrick Thomas, Neil Smith and Tamba Hali.

Trent Green -- QB, 2000-2006
This one was tough but necessary. Green had the luxury of playing behind one of the greatest offensive lines ever assembled -- Willie Roaf is a Hall of Famer, and one day Will Shields might be. He also had a Hall of Fame tight end in Tony Gonzalez and a Hall of Very Good running back in Priest Holmes during his tenure. The end result? Two devastating playoff losses, including one two-interception contest in 2006 to the Indianapolis Colts. Green has to bear some of the blame for not capitalizing on the amazing offensive talent around him in the early to mid-2000s.

Matt Cassel -- QB, 2009-2012
The Chiefs literally overrated Cassel's 2008 season, in which he looked good in relief of Tom Brady and made him the face of their franchise. He looked more like the player who never started a college game during his four seasons in red and gold. To be fair, Cassel's 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions helped the Chiefs back to the playoffs in 2010 (Note: 2,200 yards from Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones helped more). But he couldn't duplicate that season of success, and now plays backup to Minnesota's Christian Ponder.

-- Nick Toney

Most underrated/overrrated players of all time
June 17: Ravens | Bears
June 18: Bengals | Lions
June 19: Browns | Packers
June 20: Steelers| Vikings
June 24: Texans| Falcons
June 25: Colts| Panthers
June 26: Jaguars | Saints
June 27: Titans | Buccaneers
July 1: Bills | Cowboys
July 2: Dolphins | Giants
July 3: Patriots | Eagles
July 4: Jets| Redskins
July 8: Broncos| Cardinals
July 9: Chiefs| 49ers
July 10: Raiders| Seahawks
July 11: Chargers | Rams

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