Kansas City Chiefs’ Roster Review: Defensive End
Today the offseason review of the Kansas City Chiefs’ roster focuses on defensive end. The other part of the defensive front, the interior, was reviewed yesterday and the links to discussion of the offensive line’s component parts are provided below. For those new to this series, the idea is to compare Kansas City’s personnel to other AFC West teams to get the possible gauge on what GM Scott Pioli’s offseason priorities need to be.
Kansas City is one of two teams in the division that are predominantly 3-4, a circumstance that makes it less likely defensive lineman, including ends, will register big stats. Even given that, KC’s Glenn Dorsey is still one of the AFC West’s—if not the entire NFL’s best. Combining tremendous natural talent with fundamental play that wins the praise of ESPN’s Scouts Inc., Dorsey can get pressure even playing in the 3-4. He could move inside and play tackle if the team ever wanted to go 4-3, and he plays the run well. His mate on the other side Tyson Jackson, a competent, if not spectacular play who can still get better age 25. The scouts pan his techniques and consistency, but not his natural talent, so what Jackson makes of his career in his own hands.
San Diego is the other 3-4 team, and neither defensive end would sniff the field in Kansas City. Corey Liuget had an unimpressive rookie year, while Vaughn Martin has Jackson’s technique issues while lacking his talent. In fairness, the Charger ends are only 22 and 26 respectively, but there doesn’t look like a lot of upside here.
Denver and Oakland both run 4-3’s, and by necessity need quality at this position. Whereas the 3-4 funnels plays to the linebackers and relies on blitz packages for pressures, ends in a 4-3 need to make plays, not just tie up blockers. No one makes plays better than the Bronco’s Elvis Dumervil. Though he’s a bit undersized, he has terrific speed and gets to the quarterback. His size does make it possible to run at him, which is perhaps the best way of neutralizing his pass-rush skills. On other side is Robert Ayers, 26 years old is a very good pass-rusher in his own right. The defending division champs are stacked here.
Oakland’s Lamarr Houston is a coming star in his own right, with good explosion off the edge and a very aggressive work ethic. Scouts say he needs to develop some more effective counter-moves for when the offensive lineman wins the first hit, but when you have a player who works hard, has great natural talent and is only 24, that’s a good sign the necessary improvements will be made. On other side the Raiders have Jarvis Moss, who is a serviceable, if not irreplaceable commodity. At 6’7”, there’s a certain appeal to his physical bold, and scouts believe he can get better with more work in the weight room. But if it hasn’t happened after this many years in the league, how much more can we really expect?
Overall, Kansas City is pretty good at the ends. While Denver and Oakland are better off, that’s a product of schematics more than anything. There’s no reason this position needs to be a priority in free agency or the draft.