The Best Kansas City Chiefs Linebackers of All Time

Over 600 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Kansas City Chiefs Linebackers of All Time

Big fan of Kansas City football? Then check out this list of Kansas City Chiefs linebackers with photos and seasons as starters. It includes every starting linebacker from throughout Kansas City Chiefs history, including current linebackers and past ones. An important part of the Kansas City defense, the LB position includes middle or inside linebackers and outside (strong side or weakside) linebackers. Featuring some of the greatest NFL linebackers of all time, the best Chiefs LBs include Derrick Thomas, Willie Lanier, Bobby Bell, and Jim Lynch.

Who are the best linebackers in Kansas City Chiefs history? Here is every player who has ever held the position of Kansas City Chiefs starting linebacker. Vote below, then head over and check out the top Chiefs kickers ever and best Chiefs tight ends.

Most divisive: Frank Zombo
Ranked by
  • Derrick Thomas

    Kansas City Chiefs Seasons: 1989-1999

    Derrick Thomas, a force to be reckoned with, joined the Kansas City Chiefs as the 4th overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft. His staggering speed and uncanny ability to evade blockers while pursuing opposing players made him an integral part of the Chiefs' defense during the 90s. Thomas' tremendous skill earned him several accolades, including nine Pro Bowl selections, three first-team All-Pro nods, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award (1993), and an induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009. Known for his relentless tenacity and unmatched work ethic, Thomas held the Chiefs' all-time sack record (126.5) until his untimely death in 2000.

  • Willie Lanier
    197 votes

    Kansas City Chiefs Seasons: 1967-1977

    Willie Lanier, a remarkably skilled and intelligent linebacker, joined the Kansas City Chiefs in the second round of the 1967 AFL-NFL Draft. He solidified himself as one of the league's best middle linebackers during the late 60s and early 70s, with his superior instincts, lightning-fast reflexes, and hard-hitting tackles. A key player in the Chiefs' Super Bowl IV win, Lanier was also an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and was named first-team All-Pro six times. His illustrious career was rightly recognized when he became the first African American middle linebacker inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.

  • Derrick Johnson

    Kansas City Chiefs Seasons: 2005-2017

    Derrick Johnson, a versatile and highly athletic linebacker, was drafted in the first round by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2005. Throughout his tenure with the team, Johnson showcased exceptional coverage skills, sideline-to-sideline speed, and impeccable tackling precision that made him a force to be reckoned with. He earned four Pro Bowl selections, two first-team All-Pro nominations, and holds the Chiefs' all-time record for total tackles (1,262). A true on-field leader and integral component of the Chiefs' defense, Johnson left an indelible mark on the franchise.

  • Justin Houston

    Kansas City Chiefs Seasons: 2011-2018

    Justin Houston, a tremendously gifted pass rusher, joined the Kansas City Chiefs through a third-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. His explosive acceleration off the line of scrimmage and unmatched ability to bend around offensive tackles quickly established him as a premier pass-rushing talent in the league. Houston's outstanding performances garnered four Pro Bowl selections, a first-team All-Pro nomination (2014), and the Deacon Jones Award (2014) for leading the NFL in sacks with a whopping 22—just half a sack shy of the all-time record. With an impressive resume and unwavering determination, Houston remains a key figure in Kansas City Chiefs' history.

  • Jim Lynch
    98 votes

    Kansas City Chiefs Seasons: 1967-1977

    Jim Lynch, an extraordinarily resilient and intelligent outside linebacker, joined the Chiefs as a second-round pick during the 1967 AFL-NFL Draft. A key component of the Chiefs' defense during the late 60s and 70s, Lynch played a crucial role in the team securing a victory in Super Bowl IV. His remarkable career yielded a Pro Bowl selection in 1968, as well as numerous accolades for his consistent and impactful performances over his 11-season tenure with the team. His unwavering dedication to the Kansas City Chiefs ultimately earned him an induction into the team's Hall of Fame in 1990.

  • Tamba Hali
    144 votes

    Kansas City Chiefs Seasons: 2006-2017

    Tamba Hali, a relentless and powerful edge rusher, was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft. His dominating presence on the field, marked by his incredible agility, brute strength, and admirable work ethic, made him a force to be reckoned with in the league. Hali's impressive skill set earned him six Pro Bowl selections and two second-team All-Pro nominations throughout his 12-year tenure with the Chiefs. As one of the most productive pass rushers in team history, Hali remains a celebrated and respected figure in the franchise.