After years of underwhelming play from top-five draft selections Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson, the Kansas City Chiefs made big waves at defensive end over the past year. Choosing Dontari Poe with their top 2012 draft pick covered the nose and the release of Dorsey coupled with signing ex-New York Jets lineman Mike DeVito bolsters the defensive end position in the Chiefs 3-4 base defense.
“Man, I’ll tell you. Poe, he reminds me of Kris Jenkins, just so big and so athletic,” said DeVito, via SB Nation. “When he puts his hand down and gets going there’s just no stopping him. Tyson, just a complete player. A guy that can play the run, explosive with his hips, can rush the passer. Those guys are great to be around and I’ve learned a lot from them to try to implement some of the things that they do into my game.”
Whether these moves end up improving the line or defensive unit as a hole still has the jury out, as DeVito provided a very similar skill set and level to Dorsey, with strong showings against the run but getting little in the way of pass pressure. DeVito may very well provide improvement over Dorsey in both regards, especially with Dorsey hitting injured reserve midway through the 2012 campaign, but the two ranked very closely in Pro Football Focus grading of 3-4 defensive ends for 2011: DeVito finishing ninth overall and fifth against the run to Dorsey’s 14th overall and second against the run.
How much DeVito and other recent additions improve the line will manifest themselves in training camp and, more definitively, the pass-rush productivity of outside backers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali during the regular season. The KC defensive line has really let them down the last couple years, but if it can draw attention and create space for these two to fly off the edge, it will go a long way to this unit to finally meet their ever-growing expectations.