The Chiefs’ defensive line features arguably the best 3-4 nose in the NFL in Dontari Poe, and also has one of the best run-stuffing 5-tech ends in the business in Mike DeVito. But after that, it’s shaky at best.
Tyson Jackson has been a colossal bust of epic proportions. Then GM Scott Pioli took Jackson third overall in 2009, with the hopes he would develop into another Richard Seymour, whom Pioli had a hand in drafting as the Director of Player Personnel with the New England Patriots.
Well, Jackson never turned into Seymour, who could very well be enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame one day. Jackson turned into a mediocre defensive end who offered little to nothing in terms of a pass rush. Thankfully for Chiefs fans, Jackson will be gone after this season, as his contract is finally up. It will leave a void, however, and there’s really no one else on the current roster who would be an improvement.
Allen Bailey was thought to be that guy one day, but he’s never developed into the player the Chiefs thought he would when they took him in the third round of the 2011 draft. Rookie Mike Catapano has been admirable in making the team as a seventh rounder, but his ceiling is low. He has solid backup written all over him.
Then that’s it, that’s the defensive ends for the Chiefs next year. DeVito, Bailey and Catapano. They could bring back Jackson on the cheap, but it’s unlikely, and it obviously wouldn’t be an improvement. All of this means the Chiefs will be, or at least should, be looking hard at potential 5-tech ends in the draft.
Ideally, Stephon Tuitt (Notre Dame) would be the best fit, but it’s a long shot that he’d still be around when the Chiefs are picking, which will probably be in the mid-20’s. Ed Stinson (Alabama) has been a rock stopping the run for the Tide, and he’ll be around in the second and third round range. Taylor Hart (Oregon) would also be a good fit, and has outstanding size (6-foot-7, 295 pounds).
Also keep an eye on some defensive tackles who could make the transition to 5. Ra’Shede Hageman (Minnesota) is an absolute freak of nature physically, and could be had at the end of Round 1. Aaron Donald (Pitt), DaQuan Jones (Penn St.) and Kelcy Quarles (South Carolina) are also possibilities in the second and third round range.
If they could add a stout prospect with some pass rushing ability, the Chiefs’ defense could go to the next level. They’ve been missing an able-bodied third pass rushing option after OLB’s Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, and it would allow defensive coordinator Bob Sutton to be even more creative with his blitz packages.