Red Zone

The Star’s Kansas City Chiefs dream team of pass rushers

Buck Buchanan
Buck Buchanan File photo

DT Buck Buchanan, 1963-75

The towering Hall of Fame tackle dominated the middle and collapsed the pocket, enabling ends Jerry Mays and Aaron Brown to get to the passer. Buchanan was such a force, the Raiders’ Al Davis drafted Gene Upshaw with the express purpose of blocking him.

NT Dontari Poe, 2012-current

The massively built Poe is the new standard for nose tackles, beating double teams and batting down passes if he can’t reach the passer. Poe, who had 41/2 sacks in 2013, is so destructive, he’s a one-man line in a 1-5-5 scheme in which the Chiefs use five linebackers and five defensive backs.

DE Neil Smith, 1988-96

Smith teamed with linebacker Derrick Thomas to form one of the most feared pass-rushing tandems in NFL history. Smith racked up 861/2 sacks and 29 forced fumbles with the Chiefs. He registered double-digit sacks for four straight seasons from 1992-95, including 141/2 as team MVP in 1992 and 15 in 1993.

DE Art Still, 1978-87

Still, a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time team MVP, was that rare player who could make 100 tackles and register double-digit sacks. He led the Chiefs in sacks six times, getting 141/2 in 1980 and ’84, and in tackles four times. His 992 tackles rank second in club history and his 73 sacks are fourth.

OLB Bobby Bell, 1963-74

Bell, the first Chiefs player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is considered among the finest all-round outside linebackers in NFL history. What didn’t he do? He rushed the passer, intercepted 26 passes, recovered 15 fumbles, scored nine career TDs (including a kickoff return), deep-snapped and did not miss a game in his 12-year career, playing in 168 straight.

OLB Derrick Thomas, 1989-99

Thomas was one of the most devastating pass rushers in NFL history with 1261/2 sacks during his Hall of Fame career. Thomas beat blockers with lightning-quick speed, and he punctuated his sacks with his signature stripping of the ball from the blind side. Thomas’ 1161/2 sacks were the most by any player in the 1990s, and he posted an NFL single-game-record seven sacks against Seattle in 1990.

To reach Randy Covitz, call 816-234-4796 or send email to rcovitz@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @randycovitz.

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