5. ILB Derrick Johnson (2005-2017)
Despite a very slow start to his career, Derrick Johnson benefited from playing under Romeo Crennel, who joined the Chiefs coaching staff in 2010. Since then, Johnson evolved into an elite linebacker.
The former Texas Longhorn became the franchise’s all-time leader in tackles. Johnson forced 22 fumbles in his 13 years in Kansas City, which is fourth most. Johnson anchored a stout defense during his time with the Chiefs, playing with multiple Pro Bowlers at all three position groups. After improving in 2010, everyone noticed, hence his four Pro Bowl and two All-Pro honors.
4. RB Jamaal Charles (2008-2016)
After spending the first year-and-a-half as a backup buried on the depth chart, Jamaal Charles broke through to quickly become one of the best running backs in the NFL. He showed that with his yard per carry average, finishing with 5.4 yards per carry, the best in NFL history. Charles’ 10,963 total yards from scrimmage as a Chief is the most in franchise history, barely passing Tony Gonzalez’s 10,954.
Charles’ best season came in 2013 when he scored 19 touchdowns total, more than any player that year. The all-time rushing leader in Chiefs history was selected to four Pro Bowls and two All-Pro selections. Similar to Eric Berry, Charles unfortunately missed 40 games due to injuries that prevented him from potentially setting the bar even higher.
3. TE Tony Gonzalez (1997-2008)
A first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer, Tony Gonzalez cemented his legacy as the best tight end in NFL history when he played. Gonzalez had an illustrious career. At one point, he owned the NFL record for most receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns by a tight end in a career, doing all of that in Kansas City before being traded away.
Gonzalez ended his Chiefs career with 10,940 receiving yards, the most in Chiefs history by a wide margin. He has a very impressive resume with 14 Pro Bowls, 10 All-Pros and is a part of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team and the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.
2. OLB Derrick Thomas (1989-1999)
One of the best pass rushers in NFL history, Derrick Thomas was a force to be reckoned with. Thomas’ 126.5 sacks, 41 forced fumbles, 19 fumble recoveries, four fumbles returned for a touchdown and three defensive safeties are the most in franchise history.
Outside of sacks, Thomas is in the top 10 in NFL history in all of the other categories mentioned. He owns the single-game record for sacks with seven. Teaming up with Neil Smith, Thomas was impossible to stop, tabbed as one of the best pass rushers in NFL history. He was voted to the Pro Bowl in the first nine years of his career while also earning six All-Pro honors and is a part of the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team.
1. RG Will Shields: (1993-2006)
If you’re keeping count, Will Shields is the fourth offensive lineman from Dick Vermeil’s infamous stout offensive line in the 2000s who has made this list.
Shields was literally a shield for quarterbacks while being a viable run-blocker for elite rushers. Shields owns the record for 231 consecutive starts at right guard, including the playoffs. It is the second most consecutive starts by an offensive lineman behind Minnesota Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff.
After missing the Pro Bowl his first two years, Shields made the Pro Bowl for the next 12 years, alongside seven All-Pro teams and the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. Shields’ 12 Pro Bowls are the most in Chiefs history. Having played in all 12, Shields is tied for most Pro Bowls played in with Champ Bailey and Randall McDaniel. He missed just one start in 224 regular season games.