We covered the most important position on the field already with the quarterbacks. Now it is time to switch over to the defensive side of the ball. The defensive end might not be the most important position on defense but it sure helps to have an impact player at that spot. The Chiefs have also been blessed with some high-level talent at the defensive end position over the years.
That being said, this was a tough list to put together but I think I have my version locked in. This list is based on career accolades and contributions to the Chiefs overall. Wins for a defensive end are exactly a thing so here is where the individual stats truly count. Let’s count down the top five Chiefs defensive ends of all time.
First up, we have the great Art Still who was a part of a Chiefs era not really known for defense. Still was drafted second overall in 1978 and immediately became an impact player. As a rookie, Still finished with 6.5 sacks and a fumble recovery. He became a regular performer at the defensive end position considering he had 29.5 sacks by the end of just his third season.
He was selected to four Pro Bowls in his career and started every game in nine consecutive seasons for Kansas City. Still was a sack machine even before the NFL began officially recording sacks in 1982. He recorded 14.5 sacks twice in his career and 10.5 sacks near the end of his Chiefs tenure. By the end of his time with the team, Still finished with 42.5 “official” sacks and 11 fumble recoveries.
He became a defensive force in a time when the Chief’s defense was not exactly good. Art Still remained loyal to the mediocre Chiefs, but bringing a high-level skill set is what lands him on this list. Wins might not have come around often for that Chiefs team but Still continued to produce.
Next, we have one of the original defensive forces that played as both a Dallas Texan and a Kansas City Chief. Jerry Mays was drafted in the fifth round of the 1961 AFL Draft by the Dallas Texans. Mays originally played defensive tackle for the team before switching to defensive end in 1965. Mays started 126 consecutive games for the franchise.
Mays was one of the best AFL players of all time. He was a big help in turning the Chiefs into the winningest team in AFL history. During his tenure, they won three AFL titles and he was a key piece in the Chief’s first Super Bowl victory. Mays was so elite at his positions that it earned him eight consecutive All-AFL first or second-team honors and six AFL All-Star game appearances (two at DT, four at DE).
Mays might have done most of his work in the AFL as a Texan but do not forget he contributed greatly to the Chiefs as well. His 67 total tackles, including his one sack and four tackle performance in the Super Bowl, are what land him here. He was truly an elite defensive player that most would forget about due to his career taking place so long ago.
Coming in at the number three, we have a shorter tenured member of the Chiefs but still an all-time great; Jared Allen. Allen came to Kansas City via the draft in the fourth round of 2004. Allen proved to be far better than a fourth-round talent in his 61 games as a Chief.
He brought charisma and aggressiveness that was hard to replace. Allen’s athletic ability led to quite a bit of success in KC. From his league-leading 15.5 sacks in his final year as a Chief to his two touchdown catches as well, Allen was a class act all around. While he went on to make a big name for himself for other teams like the Minnesota Vikings, Allen is still well remembered among Chiefs fan.
His tenacity at the edge position intimidated the opposing offense. Any guy that impacted the game of football for KC both on and off the field earns a spot here. Allen created a name for himself in Kansas City and from there he flourished. Allen will forever be a staple of the Chiefs franchise which is why he earns such a high-ranking spot on this list.
Next up on the list, we have another Chiefs legend, Tamba Hali. While most of his tenure in KC was played at the linebacker position, he was drafted as a defensive end and started that spot for his first three seasons. He began his linebacker duties in 2009 and flourished in that role until he was done in KC.
In 177 games in KC, Hali played in five Pro Bowls overall. What puts Hali at the number two spot is an incredible speed that not many edge rushers have. In his three seasons as a defensive end, Hali racked up 18.5 sacks, 176 tackles, and ten forced fumbles. Hali was an absolute menace for offensive linemen and this is why he ranks so high.
Hali is another example of a player loved by all of Chiefs Kingdom. He contributed to a team that made him feel special and gave him the shot to succeed. Hali might not have a Super Bowl but he sure as hell has the hearts of all the fans and maybe that means more than we think.
Last but certainly not least, we have the greatest defensive end in Chiefs history, Neil Smith. Sure Derrick Thomas is the head of the table for the all-time defensive squad but Smith is right behind him without a doubt. Drafted second overall in 1988, Smith spent the first nine seasons of his career as a Chief and still is involved in Kansas City even today.
Smith basically walked into the Hall of Fame with his incredible resume. With five Pro Bowls under his belt, 85.5 total sacks as a Chief, 28 forced fumbles (third-most in KC history), three interceptions (one for a TD), and 12 fumble recoveries (also bringing one back for a TD), Smith did it all. Smith had double-digit sack numbers in four of his final five seasons with the Chiefs.
In 1993, Smith finished with 15 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries, and an interception. Smith became one of the most respected and loved defensive players on the team besides Derrick Thomas. His 527 tackles and 85.5 sacks showed he was a force to be reckoned with each week he played. A legend of Smith’s caliber easily earns the number one spot here. If you are the guy Chiefs fans say was right behind Derrick Thomas, he had to of been an absolute beast on the field.
Who is the greatest Chiefs defensive end of all time? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion.
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