Defensive Tackle, 1963-75
Chiefs Hall of Fame (1981)
Pro Football Hall of Fame (1990)
Buck Buchanan was the first player taken in the 1963 American Football League Draft. Selected by the Kansas City Chiefs, Buck quickly proved the rave notices that preceded him were not unfounded. Eddie Robinson, his coach at Grambling, where he had been an NAIA All-America in 1962, called him "the finest lineman I have seen."
Others who had watched Buchanan in action were equally enthusiastic. Born September 10, 1940, in Gainesville, Alabama, Buchanan had the physical size – 6-7 and 270 pounds – plus the athletic instincts to be exceptionally successful at his job of foiling opposition offenses. He was particularly effective at intimidating the passer and, in one season alone in 1967, he batted down 16 opposition passes at or behind the line of scrimmage. He was clocked at 4.9 in the 40 and 10.2 in the 100 at Grambling and, with that speed; he could range from sideline to sideline to make tackles.
In spite of the weekly pounding he took on the scrimmage line, Buchanan was extremely durable. He played in 182 career games that included a string of 166 straight. After dabbling briefly at defensive end as a rookie, Buchanan settled down to his permanent job as the Chiefs' defensive right tackle. He was named to his first AFL All-Star game after his second season in 1964. It was the first of an eight-season period during which he played in either the AFL All-Star game or the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl. He was a virtually unanimous All-AFL choice from 1966 through 1969 and then won All-AFC honors in 1970 and 1971. He was a defensive leader for the Chiefs in their losing effort in Super Bowl I and then was outstanding in Kansas City's 23-7 upset of Minnesota in Super Bowl IV that saw the Buchanan-led defense completely stifle the vaunted Vikings attack.