The top 15 greatest draft picks in Kansas City Chiefs history

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs(Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs(Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images) /
12 of 12
Derrick Thomas, KC Chiefs
Derrick Thomas, KC Chiefs. Mandatory Credit: RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports /

1. Derrick Thomas

Draft Details: 1st round, 1989

Key Stat: 41 forced fumbles

For those who never saw Derrick Thomas play in person, it’s difficult to describe just how dominant of a player he was on the Chiefs’ defense. With D.T. in the front seven, the Chiefs felt capable of altering the momentum of a game at any time, and opposing quarterbacks played like it—often rushing their throws or rolling away from Thomas in the hopes of making something happen before he arrived with yet another crushing blow.

The Chiefs grabbed Thomas with the fourth overall selection in the 1989 NFL Draft—a draft class in which four of the first five prospects are all in the HOF. (Imagine being the Packers who took Tony Mandarich in a draft when Troy Aikman, Barry Sanders, D.T., and Deion Sanders were the others taken in the first five picks).

The leading sack total for the Chiefs in 1988 belonged to Bill Maas with 4. Thomas took over for the Chiefs in ’89 and put up a franchise-record 126.5 sacks in the next decade. Even in his final season in 1999, Thomas started 16 games, had his first interception, forced 2 fumbles, and had 7 sacks. However, Thomas died in a tragic car accident with resulting complications (pulmonary embolism), meaning he would never see the celebrations to come of his playing career.

From being the Defensive Rookie of the Year to a nine-time Pro Bowler, Thomas’s career is second-to-none. He’s the best Chiefs defender ever drafted and that’s why he’s so high on this list.