Ranking the top 10 Kansas City Chiefs linebackers of all time

Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame linebacker Bobby Bell (Photo by James Flores/Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame linebacker Bobby Bell (Photo by James Flores/Getty Images) /
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Kansas City Chiefs, Derrick Johnson
KANSAS CITY, MO – SEPTEMBER 11: Inside linebacker Derrick Johnson /

5. Derrick Johnson

Derrick Johnson had a wild ride as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs. Drafted at the tail end of the often esteemed Dick Vermeil era, Johnson came from one of the most prestigious football schools of the past several decades in the Texas Longhorns.

As a high draft pick, much was expected of him. He was a good player early on, but seemed to struggle with the dedication the team needed from him. He was eventually benched for a time in 2009, posting a mere three starts and 37 total tackles that season, but this was just the ember Johnson needed to light his internal fire.

Over the next six seasons Johnson was a model of consistency, breaking 100 tackles in all but his injury plagued season of 2014. He was named to the Pro Bowl four times, named First Team All Pro in 2011 and Second Team All Pro in 2015.

Unfortunately, a bulk of Johnson’s career was spent near the bottom of the league’s standings. The Kansas City Chiefs franchise as a whole struggled mightily, and a number of Chiefs should-be legends’ careers like Johnson’s were negatively impacted because of it. That said, Johnson was still able to leave his mark.

Johnson finished his 13 seasons with the Chiefs as the franchise’s all-time leading tackler with 1,154 combined tackles. He was named to the NFL’s top-100 players list four times, making it as high as number 59 in 2013. A likely future member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame, his exploits on the gridiron firmly entrenched him as one of the greatest linebackers in team history.