Analysis Opinion

Top 20 Kansas City Chiefs players under Reid era

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has a saying that is rather popular with his players: “Let your personality show.” That’s how the story began in KC in 2013 when he helped revitalize the -then- struggling franchise.

Andy Reid aka Big Red is one the most beloved coach in the NFL nowadays. And there’s a reason why obviously.

“It’s his work ethic, the way he treats people. He’s a coach that’s won a lot of games. He’s had an amazing career. Obviously, we want to win this game, the big Super Bowl, put that on his résumé. He’s someone who’s been successful from Day 1 and he’s still successful now.” declared Patrick Mahomes right before the Superbowl 50.

He just draws respect. The players he coached are all lauding his ability to bring out the best in each of them, and that’s just one of his talents. The whole culture in Kansas City has changed since Andy Reid arrived in 2013.

Known for his innovation with offensive schemes, Reid has also one of the most impressive coaching tree in the NFL, too. Some of Reid’s former assistants — including head coaches John Harbaugh (Ravens), Doug Pederson (Eagles), and Ron Rivera (then with the Panthers) — have all made it to the Super Bowl. Other former assistants who became head coaches include Matt Nagy and Sean McDermott.

In his seven seasons with Kansas City, he has led the Chiefs to six postseason appearances, four division titles, two American Football Conference (AFC) championship games, and one Super Bowl title in Super Bowl LIV, the franchise’s first in 50 years and his first as a head coach.

He’s had success everywhere he’s coached.

So, we’ll list the top 20 Chiefs players Andy Reid had coached along the years. The 7 magic years that led the way to a Super Bowl.

Patrick Mahomes

Drafted in tenth position by the Kansas Chiefs in 2017, he quickly became a fan favorite after he took the responsibility of leading the team in only his second year.

During his magical MVP run in 2018, Mahomes passed for an incredible 5,097 yards with 50 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Mahomes has caught the eye of pretty much the whole NFL with his ability to make no-look throws from any angle on the field. His accuracy and playmaking ability to extend plays outside of the pocket has become iconic after a few NFL games.

Mahomes lost the MVP award to Lamar Jackson, but he still finished this season with 4,031 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and five interceptions, enabling Kansas City to capture the AFC West title and get a first-round bye in the playoffs. The year ending with an MVP award at the Super Bowl!

This is what Andy Reid has to say about Mahomes: “He’s going to come in, he’s going to work his tail off,” He comes in with a smile on his face but that hunger in the heart, and he wants to rip your throat out every time he has an opportunity to on the field. You love that. And he’s an innate leader, so the guys know that his closet’s clean, and he’s doing it the right way. He can crank on guys when he needs to, but at the same time, be a dude, right? You want to be able to kind of balance that and that’s a tough thing to do as a quarterback.”

They even talk about him again as the 2020 season MVP. There’s no contest here… He is one of the best in the league and one of the best draft picks ever made by the KC Chiefs.

Eric Fisher

He was the only player in this Super Bowl 50 with a No. 1 overall draft pick.

Fisher has had a solid, productive career playing at the LT position.

Besides, at the end of his his seventh season, Fisher is a centerpiece of the offensive line. And when he misses a game, you immediately feel his absence. His position might not be one of the most glamorous ones, but he is one of the best at what he does and he still has room for improvement.

Fisher is definitely playing the best football of his career. He made a Pro Bowl last season. He won a Super Bowl. Should be enough to convince.

“As long as, at the end of the day when I retire one day, that I am comfortable being where I’m at in life and what I’ve done in my career, that’s what it will boil down to,” Fisher said. “As long as I look at myself in the mirror and say I did everything I could have done, I’ll be good with it.”

Mitchell Schwartz

Chiefs right tackle Mitchell Schwartz was drafted back in 2012 by the Cleveland Browns in Round 2, Pick 37 overall.

He was named to the Pro Football Focus (PFF) 2012 All-Rookie Team, lauded for his “top-notch pass blocking”. He arrived at the Kansas City Chiefs in 2016 and had at once a huge impact on the offensive line.

In the 2018 season, Schwartz started in all 16 games and the two playoff games for the Chiefs. Pro Football Focus graded him at 83.8, and gave him the Bruce Matthews Award as the NFL’s top offensive lineman.

In 2019, he was named to the Associated Press All-Pro Second Team. One of his particularity though is that Schwartz had never missed a snap in his NFL career spanning parts of eight seasons and 121 games, until a knee injury forced him out of a Kansas City loss to the Tennessee Titans for three snaps in November 2019, and after 7,894 snaps his streak — then the longest among active players in the NFL — came to an end.

Travis Kelce

Travis Kelce was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 3rd round (63rd overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft.

The five-time Pro Bowler did not disappoint. Kelce started all 16 games for Kansas City for the second consecutive season in 2019. In fact, his durability may be his most underrated asset given that he’s now started 78 out of 80 regular season games over the last five season, and has appeared in 95 out of 96 games since his rookie season was non-existent due to injury. He is always there when you expect him to be during big games, and when things go awry for the Chiefs, he is one of the first to lift up his teammates.  His strength and height make him the top tight end of the league right now.

In 2019, Kelce became the first tight end in NFL history to gain over 1000 yards receiving in four consecutive seasons. He also played on 92% of all offensive snaps this season, the 3rd most of any player on the team.

Everyone knows Travis Kelce is an incredible player, his passion on the field is palpable, and he’s one of Andy Reid’s favorite players in the roster.

Jamaal Charles

Jamaal Charles played college football for the University of Texas, and was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft. The former Longhorn and Chiefs RB has numbers that speak for themselves.

The all-time leader in rushing yardage for Kansas City, Charles played from 2008 to 2016 with the Chiefs, rushing for 7,260 yards and 43 touchdowns.

A third-round pick in the 2008 draft, he surpassed 1,000 rushing yards five times for the Chiefs.

The four-time Pro Bowler’s best skill was his world-class speed and during his NFL career, he had rushes of 91, 80 and 76 yards.

“CHIEFS NATION,” wrote Charles in capital letters on Instagram, “I’m forever indebted to you all as you are the BEST FAN BASE IN THE WORLD!”

Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles, signed a one-day contract to officially retire as a member of the Chiefs in 2019, will always be one of the more underrated RBs of all time.

Tyreek Hill

Hill was primarily a return specialist as a rookie but then transitioned to wide receiver. Following his rookie year, he received the nickname “Cheetah” in reference to his amazing speed.

The Kansas City Chiefs selected Hill in the fifth round (165th overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft.

He actually ranks first in franchise history for highest punt return average, averaging 13.33 yards per return for his career.

In the NFL season-opener at New England in 2017, Hill caught a 75-yard touchdown pass from QB Alex Smith in the third quarter, marking his fifth-straight regular season game with a play of 60 or more yards, becoming the first player in NFL history to accomplish that exploit.

“In my opinion, he’s definitely one of the best receivers in football,” Mathieu said. “I’ve had a chance to practice against him, go up against him in one-on-ones, no cameras, and he’s crafty. I think a lot of times, that gets overshadowed just simply by his speed.”

He is considered now as one of the most talented WR of the league, and without a doubt, one of the most dynamic WR/QB duo with Patrick Mahomes.

Hill scored seven times despite not playing a full campaign in 2019 and remains one of the game’s best big-play threats.

Laurent Duvernay Tardif

The sixth-year OL entered his sixth NFL season with Kansas City in 2019. He was actually drafted in the NFL in 2014 in round 6, 200th overall out of a Canadian college, McGill university.

The Kansas City Chiefs guard helps protect one of the most talented players in the league. But there’s a lot more to him than just football. He is a very unconventional player.

There was something else about Kansas City too. Andy Reid, could relate strongly to Duvernay-Tardif’s passion for education.

“The first time I met Coach Reid, he told me the story of his mum being one of the first women to graduate from McGill with a medicine degree,” he says. “And I think he really understood and respected what I was trying to do. And he trusted me. Without him, I don’t think I would’ve been able to graduate so I’m immensely grateful to him.”

The Chiefs made sure he could finish his studies once he joined them in 2014. “I met the dean of medicine, various faculty members and my professors and came up with a plan,” he says. “And the plan was that even if I made it to the Super Bowl at every opportunity, I’d come back to do three or four months of study every off-season for four years and graduate in 2018.”

And that’s what he did. That’s commitment, right there.

“Every year, more and more of the boys started calling me Doc,” he says.

Mitch Morse

Morse was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the second round, 49th overall, in the 2015 NFL Draft. Morse was also selected for the PFWA All-Rookie Team that same year.

The work ethic, personality, and leadership have always been qualities of Mitch Morse over the years. On and off the football field, Mitch Morse has been a big asset for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Unfortunately, Morse has also suffered plenty of injuries in his career—especially head injuries.

However, he’s been an incredible and intelligent anchor along the offensive front, a rare asset capable of replacing Rodney Hudson when he first arrived as a second round pick out of Missouri.

The Chiefs decided to move on from Morse in 2019 but that certainly wasn’t linked with his talent.

Kareem Hunt

When Dorsey was the GM of the Kansas City Chiefs, he picked Hunt in the third round of the 2017 draft out of the University of Toledo.

As a rookie in 2017, he led the NFL in rushing yards and was selected to the Pro Bowl. Hunt was released by the Chiefs on November 30, 2018, after a videotape of him kicking a woman on the ground the previous February surfaced.

However, his talent as an RB in Kansas City was undeniable. It was short lived but he made quite a statement during this season and a half.

Hunt made his NFL debut on September 7, 2017, against the New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football.

On his first career NFL carry, despite never losing a fumble during his college career, Hunt fumbled, with the ball being recovered by the Patriots’ safety Devin McCourty. Hunt went on to catch two touchdown passes – a three-yarder from quarterback Alex Smith late in the first half, and a 78-yarder in the fourth quarter, and punched in a four-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth en route to a 42–27 Chiefs win.

Hunt finished with 246 total yards from scrimmage (148 rushing, 98 receiving), the most ever in an NFL debut.

Hunt was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month for the month of September after leading the NFL with 401 rushing yards, 538 yards from scrimmage, and 8.53 yards per carry.

On December 19, 2017, Hunt was named to the 2018 Pro Bowl as a rookie and Hunt got the rushing yards title for the 2017 season with 1,327 yards. He was ranked 33rd on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2018.

The beginning of the 2018 season was pretty much of the same caliber until that videotape came out and he got released by the Chiefs.

Sammy Watkins

Sammy Watkins earned his spot on this list: Watkins hauled in five catches for 98 yards in the team’s 31-20 Super Bowl LIV victory including a crucial 38-yard catch on the Chiefs game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter.

He is an experienced WR and although he is not always consistent in his results, he shows off when the team needs him.

Playing with Mahomes is presumably a major motivating factor to be in Kansas City for Watkins, who told reporters during Super Bowl Opening Night that deciding to come play for head coach Andy Reid was “probably the best decision of my life.”

Watkins finished the 2019 regular season with the team’s third-most catches (52) and receiving yards (673) as well as fifth-most receiving touchdowns (three). However, his postseason performance was amazing.

The former Buffalo Bill and Los Angeles Ram set a Chiefs franchise record by piling up 288 receiving yards this postseason. Watkins’ best single-game performance came in the AFC Championship Game against the Titans with seven catches for 114 yards and one touchdown.

Eric Berry

Eric Berry played college football at Tennessee, where he was a two-time unanimous All-American and recognized as the best collegiate defensive back in the country. He was then drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs fifth overall in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Berry has been voted to the Pro Bowl five times and has been named First Team All-Pro three times.

His story is very peculiar though. Apart from being an amazing safety, he was recognized also as one of the bravest NFL player in the league.

Indeed, after Berry was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014, he went through chemotherapy in the offseason and came back for the 2015 season. He was named to the Pro Bowl, the AP All-Pro team, and was also named the 2015 AP Comeback Player of the Year.

He had a huge impact mentally on the team but the injuries took eventually a toll on him and his career in Kansas City.

Marcus Peters

He was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, 18th overall. However, after many behavior troubles, the team decided to part ways with Peters in 2018, trading him to the Los Angeles Rams.

Nonetheless, Marcus Peters has his spot on this list. He was a real defensive star, coming on the field with attitude and more importantly results.

Marcus Peters had 21 interceptions since 2015 (including playoffs), 7 more than the next-closest player at the Chiefs at the time.

Marcus Peters is a game-changer. He’s forced 24 turnovers in 3 seasons.

Although the relationship ended badly with the Chiefs because of his attitude, he can be considered as one of the best corner back the Chiefs had in their roster during the Andy Reid era.

Dontari Poe

He played college football at Memphis and was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs 11th overall in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Though primarily a defensive lineman, at 6 ft 3 in and 346 pounds, he is also known for being the largest player to either rush or pass for a touchdown while also having a 100% pass completion percentage, passing TD, and rushing TD. Quite a prize list.

After the first season of Andy Reid in 2013 concluded, Poe was selected to participate in the annual Pro Bowl. That went on in 2014 with another Pro Bowl selection.

Justin Houston

He played college football at the University of Georgia, where he earned All-American honors, and was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He is a four-time Pro Bowl selection, he was also named to the All-Pro team in 2014.

In 2013, Houston was named the 49th best player in the NFL according to the NFL Top 100 Players of 2013 ranking.

That same year, the Chiefs finished second in the AFC West with an 11–5 record and earned a playoff berth. On January 4, 2014, Houston started in his first career playoff game and recorded four combined tackles, deflected a pass, and made one sack during a 45–44 loss at the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Wildcard Game.

Eventually, because of mostly finances, the Chiefs had to release him. He had played with the Indianapolis Colts in 2019 and was actually a big part of the upsetting loss of the Chiefs last season against his new team.

Tamba Hali

The Kansas City Chiefs selected Tamba Hali with the 20th overall pick in 2006. The DE from Penn State was the 3rd ranked DE in that draft. Soon after being drafted he was given the nickname “Tambahawk”.

Tamba has been a role model for the ages during his time in the NFL. From his off the field charity work to his humbleness and on-field work ethic. One of the best qualities Hali had was his desire to win, and his desire for the Kansas City Chiefs to be better. He actually restructured his contract multiple times to free up cap space so the Chiefs could surround him with better talent.

Tyrann Mathieu

Coming from LSU, Mathieu was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the 3rd round (69th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft.

The impact Mathieu has had on the Chiefs defense is one of the most significant reasons for Kansas City’s success. The Chiefs were very bad on that side of the football in 2018, when they ranked 31st in the NFL in total defense and passing yards allowed.

“The best part was just being on stage with Mr. Hunt and hearing what he had to say about the fans and how long it’s been since they had that trophy,” Mathieu said after their victory in the AFC Championship. “That part meant the most to me because it was bigger than us. It was about the people of Kansas City, the fans and the Hunt family. I honestly don’t think it really had hit me yet.”

Mathieu came to Kansas City in 2019 because he simply wanted to help the Chiefs get to where they are today. He did that with the same thoughtful approach that helped him steady a life that was once spiraling out of control — developing a vision, building trust and staying committed to the cause.

As Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes said, “He’s a natural born leader. That’s just who he is. He doesn’t have to do anything other than be himself. He goes out there every single day and just by his attitude and mindset, he’s leading other guys. I think that’s huge when you have guys like that around the team. Obviously, his play speaks for itself, but the way he’s able to every day just be great, it really does spread throughout the team.”

Added head coach Andy Reid: “He has great instincts. Great speed. He was a real good returner coming out of college. There’s an ability there to play in space and have vision. All of those things that you need to carry a ball, he can do that from the back end. He is really a unique person.”

“Leadership is a lot of different things,” said Mathieu, who amassed 75 tackles, four interceptions and two sacks during the 2019 regular season.

He sure had a huge leadership impact on the 2019-2020 Super Bowl run.

Derrick Johnson

Derrick O’Hara Johnson is a former KC Chiefs linebacker. He was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs with the 15th overall selection in first round the 2005 NFL Draft. In his 13 seasons with the Chiefs, he made four Pro Bowls.

On May 8, 2019, Johnson retired after signing a one-day ceremonial contract with Kansas City.

The 13-year Chiefs LB and three-time All-Pro still contributes as a team ambassador. His longevity and strong reputation makes him the perfect candidate for this list.

Johnson went to the playoffs six times with the Chiefs (2006, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017) but never made it past the divisional round.

In addition to wanting a Super Bowl title for the Hunt family and Chiefs’ Nation, Johnson said he was cheering for Andy Reid, who went to the NFC title game seven times and reached one Super Bowl in Philadelphia but had yet to win one.

“He’s the best head coach I’ve had,” Johnson said of Reid. “Scheme-wise, he really is an offensive guru. He’s a guy who’s proven in the league, and he’s been one of the winningest coaches in the league while he’s been in Kansas City. I think this is the year. I really do.” Johnson declared before the Super Bowl.

Chris Jones

Christopher Deshun “Chris” Jones, DT for the Kansas City Chiefs was drafted by the Chiefs in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

Chris Jones is an elite player who deserves his spot on this list. He played alongside high caliber players like Justin Houston, Tamba Hali and many others and learnt a lot from them.

The 25-year-old interior pass rusher had 24.5 sacks and 49 QB hits in 29 games over the past two regular seasons, and he’s also one of the best in the league at batting down passes. His deflections in the Super Bowl helped the Chiefs erase a multi-score deficit in the fourth quarter. His energy on and off the field is contagious too.

Jones is coming off one of his best seasons as a professional, a year in which he recorded nine sacks, eight tackles for loss, 36 total tackles, and made his first-ever Pro Bowl.

The 25-year-old Jones has 33 sacks and 72 QB hits in four seasons with the Chiefs and emerged as an anchor of the Super Bowl LIV winner’s defense.

“You actually got to sit back and enjoy the moment cause you don’t get these moments often. I’m so grateful to be on this team, man,” Jones said after the team’s Super Bowl win. “Kansas City, I know I don’t talk about it much but I want to be a Chief for life. I plan to stay here forever, man, and win not only one championship, two, three, four. We got to build a dynasty here.”

Frank Clark

Clark started his career with the Seattle Seahawks before the Chiefs traded for him ahead of last season.

Clark has a big personality and he is not afraid to show it.

However, like Tyrann Mathieu, after the debacle of the 2018-2019 defense, the Chiefs brought him in to become one of the main leaders. Although he played the first half of the season diminished by a health problem, he kept on pounding and motivating his teammates on and off the field.

In the post season, Clark and the Chiefs held Derrick Henry to 69 rushing, as the Chiefs won the AFC title, 35-24. Henry, being the best RB in the league, keeping him under 100 yards was nothing but a miracle.

“I play this game from an old school standpoint. It’s a mental game with me. It’s a mental game. I look at a lot of the older players. I got guys like (secondary coach) Sam Madison on our coaching roster, who I can look to for advice, who I could look to talk to. “ said Clark after the game.

He sure brings passion to the field, and his presence made him a key player in the Super Bowl run.

Harrison Butker

Harrison Butker nicknamed Butt Kicker is second in NFL history in career field goal percentage (minimum 100 attempts) with 89.72%, trailing only Justin Tucker.

On September 26, 2017, Butker was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs off the Panthers’ practice squad. On October 2, 2017, Butker converted a game-winning field goal in his debut game against the Washington Redskins.

That was the beginning of a great adventure.

The third-year kicker entered his third season with the Chiefs in 2019.

With 38 made field goals during the 2017 season Butker holds the franchise record for most field goals made in a single season.

He is tied for fifth in franchise history for the most field goals made of 50+ yards in a Chiefs kicker’s career with six.

His professionalism and seriousness has made him an anchor for the special teams.

Other than an era, many journalists and observers talk about a possible Kansas City dynasty, with the duo Andy Reid / Patrick Mahomes at the center of it.

This coming season could be really interesting, with possible new talented players who will shine and make this list in a few years.

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