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Examiner Bio Defensive stars shine at Combine and the Chiefs could bite
Mizzou's Sean Weatherspoon stood out at Monday's Combine for more than just his cool white unitard.
View all » The Kansas City Chiefs have been bad on defense for the last decade. At times, they’ve been historically bad. This years’ NFL draft is supposedly one of the deepest in years for defensive talent. With three draft choices in the top 50, the Chiefs could use one, two, or even all three picks to dramatically upgrade one of the league’s worst defenses.
Monday’s NFL Scouting Combine highlighted the defensive linemen and linebackers, two places where the Chiefs could use a major influx of talent. Two tackles, Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy of Oklahoma are expected to go in the top three picks, so it’s highly doubtful either one of them will be available for the Chiefs. After that, however, the Chiefs might make someone who starred at the Combine Monday with their first pick.
One thing Chiefs fans learned last year is that Head Coach Todd Haley and General Manager Scott Pioli won’t hesitate to take someone projected to go in the lower half of the first round with a Top-5 pick (see: Jackson, Tyson LSU) if the Chiefs can’t trade out of that pick.
Here are the prospects from Monday that stood out to me:
1. Missouri LB – Sean Weatherspoon (6-1, 239 lbs). It’s highly doubtful the Chiefs would take Weatherspoon with the #5 pick in the draft, but I absolutely love this guy and would cut off my best friend’s right arm to see him wearing Chiefs Red next fall. (Hey, I need mine to type!) With Alabama’s Rolando McClain sitting out the Combine drills because of injury, “Spoon” became the darling of the linebacking corps. It might have had something to do with the full length white bodysuit he wore under his Combine shirt that set him apart, but I think it had more to do with his outstanding numbers.
Spoon finished second in the bench press and vertical jump and was in the top 10 in the 40-yard dash. But he really shined in the linebacker drills that showed his agility. He played outside linebacker at Mizzou, but many of the experts and scouts agreed that he could easily switch to the inside in a 3-4 system. Some mock drafts have the Chiefs taking McClain at #5 and he is a very talented linebacker, but I’d be just as happy with Weatherspoon. At least his interviews would be more fun.
2. TCU Inside Linebacker – Daryl Washington (6-2, 230 lbs). Washington was the leading tackler for the #1 defense in college and watching him at the Combine it was easy to see why. He posted one of the top times in the 40, but he flat-out killed it in the individual drills. He looked more like a safety during the agility drills and his draft stock moved from a possible third-round pick to a rock-solid second. With two second-round draft picks, the Chiefs could use one of them on Washington and send current Chiefs linebacker, Corey Mays, to special teams duty.
3. USC Defensive End – Everson Griffen (6-3, 275 lbs). Griffen was one of the most athletic defenders on the field at the Combine and did very well in the bench press and 40-yard dash. He may have performed well enough that he rose from a second-round pick to a late first-rounder. However, for a team that needs a shot of athleticism in its front seven, the Chiefs may want to take a look at Griffen if they were able to trade out of the fifth pick. Way out.
4. Texas DE – Sergio Kindle (6-4, 250 lbs). Remember last year when Chiefs fans thought the team should have taken Texas lineman Brian Orakpo, but they took Tyson Jackson instead? Sorry for that painful memory, but you know defensive ends in 3-4 defenses don’t compile statistics, right? Well, at least in the CHIEFS 3-4 they don’t. Orakpo just went on to be the Defensive Rookie of the Year, and Jackson???
Ahem ... anyway, Sergio Kindle is a defensive lineman that has the athleticism to move to outside linebacker in a 3-4. Like other hybrid linemen/linebackers at the Combine, Kindle was terrific in the agility drills, the 3-cone drill and others. If you put him in Mike Vrabel’s outside spot opposite Tamba Hali, the Chiefs pass rush improves dramatically. There’s a chance Kindle could fall into the second round which is the only way the Chiefs will get him.
5. Utah LB – Koa Misi (6-3, 251 lbs). Another college defensive lineman that will move to the outside LB position in the 3-4, Misi is a bit of a project and can be gotten in the third round of the draft. He was impressive and fluid during the agility drills and did well in the bench press. He is very strong and could be an outstanding pick-up for the Chiefs. His first year, he could be a special teams star and then eventually move into a starting role with the linebacking corps.
To be brutally honest, I didn’t necessarily see a dominant playmaker at the Combine that would excel in the 3-4 defense the Chiefs will run. There are plenty of nice players that could help the team, but nobody that made my jaw drop. If a cosmic miracle would occur and Suh or McCoy was to fall to the Chiefs at #5, I’d scoop them up. Other than that, I’d hate to see the team go for another lineman this high in the draft ... again.
On the other hand, Tuesday’s group at the Combine are the defensive secondary players, an area where the Chiefs need massive help, and several playmakers could easily be there when they pick.
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