All-Time Chiefs Defense

Every few years, I like to go through my spreadsheet of my personal all-time Chiefs team. So, I thought I would share it and get some reactions. As always, let’s go through some of my ground rules/philosophy.

1] Only time spent in a Chiefs’ uniform counts. What a player did before he played for the Chiefs (see Roaf, Wille) or after (see Smith, Neil) is not a part of my evaluation.

2] Football styles change over the years. So, using stats to measure worth is not the best form evaluation. I use ‘dominance in your era’ as my criteria. It is, by definition, a soft form of analysis. Therefore, it is open to a lot of discussion.

3] Although players do get faster and stronger, I try to balance that by sticking to my dominance in your era formula.

4] Current players are eligible, however no projections of future performance are allowed. This is a ‘right now’ evaluation. So, sorry D-Bowe, you will not be making the list.

Ok, on to the fun. I love good Defense, so I am going to start with the Coach, then go onto the D.

Head Coach:

Hank Stram. Hard not to give it to the only coach to win a Super Bowl with the Chiefs. Hank was an innovator well ahead of his time. His downfall was hanging onto too many vets past their prime. This is a very common downfall and it got Hank.

Honorable mention: Marty Shottenhiemer

Defensive Ends:

Neil Smith. Derrick Thomas’ counterpart was considered a bust after his rookie season. He turned it on and became probably the third best DE (after Reggie White and Bruce Smith) of his era.

Art Still. A fine DE who toiled on some not so great Chief teams. He garnered 4 pro bowls and two Chief MVP awards during his career.

Honorable mention: Jerry Mays, Mike Bell

Defensive Tackles:

Buck Buchanan. Buck is one of my all-time favorite Chiefs. A hall of famer and a monster player for his era.

Dan Saleamua. Probably the best player signed as a Plan B free agent. Dan was a tough DT with a nose for the football. Check out his fumble recovery stats.

Honorable mention: Bill Maas, Curly Culp

Outside Linebackers:

Bobby Bell. Another Hall of Famer who was probably the best overall outside linebacker ever to play for the Chiefs. He was one of the mainstays of the great AFL Chief teams.

Derrick Thomas. Derrick not being in the HOF is a major oversight. I do expect him to go in next year. He was the best I ever saw with the outside speed rush. Not as complete as Bobby Bell, Derrick was a major game changer with an amazing sack and strip move.

Honorable mention: Jim Lynch, Donnie Edwards

Middle Linebacker:

Willie Lanier. Another Hall of Famer, he was a beast in the middle and made up the best Chief LB core ever with Bobby Bell and Jim Lynch. He was overshadowed by Dick Butkus, but wasn’t that far off of him as a player.

Honorable mention: Gary Spani, EJ Holub, and a personal favorite, Dino Hackett.


Albert Lewis. Perhaps the best player on the best DB core I ever saw the Chief’s field (with Kevin Ross, Deron Cherry and Lloyd Burruss).

Emmit Thomas. I was a bit of a surprised to see him going into the HOF. However, he certainly was a high level player for the great Chief teams of the AFL.

Honorable mention: Kevin Ross, Jim Marsallis, Bobby Hunt


Johnny Robinson. An all-time AFL player who I believe deserves to be in the HOF. Probably the best safety to ever play for the Chiefs.

Deron Cherry. Not a bad showing for a free agent punter out of Rutgers. Through a lot of hard work, he turned himself into a very good safety and earned his spot here.

Honorable mention: Gary Barbaro, Lloyd Burruss.


Jerrel Wilson. Thunderfoot was an all time AFL player. He punted for the Chiefs for 15 seasons and still owns many Chief records.

Honorable mention: Louie Aguiar.


The Chiefs have had two eras where we had dominant defenses: The Super Bowl era Chiefs of the 60’s and the DT and Neil Smith Chiefs of the 90’s. Many of the players cited played for one of those two teams.

Current players to watch:

Donnie Edwards is already on the list as an honorable mention, but I can not see his dislodging Bobby Bell or DT. Jared Allen had a chance, until he bolted for purple (and green) fields. Dustin Colquitt has a chance to break into the honorable mention category. He has a long ways to go to displace Jerrel Wilson. Check back with me in 10 years or so on that one.

OK Addicts! Have at it. Who did I omit (Dale Carter anyone?) Who doesn’t belong?

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