The more I think about the Chiefs draft the more I wonder what they are planning to do to acquire a true starting nose tackle.
Currently the position is manned by Ron Edwards, who while doing an admirable job last season, is not the guy the Chiefs need in the middle of their defensive line.
Pioli brought in former Cleveland Brown Shaun Smith this offseason but Smith appears to be nothing more than a backup brought in for depth.
Most of the veteran free agent nose tackles were resigned quickly this offseason, proving how much teams value the position. The 3-4 nose tackle often has to deal with double and even triple teams. He is a space eater there to clog up the middle of the defensive line to allow the linebackers behind him to make plays. It is a thankless job without much glamour. It takes a tough, nasty fellow to be an NFL nose tackle.
As things stand now, it appears the Chiefs will be going after a NT in the draft. The top two nose tackle prospects are Dan Williams out of Tennessee and Terrence Cody from Alabama. Most mocks I have seen have Williams going to the Dolphins at #12. Here is what ESPN.com’s Todd McShay had to say about Williams and Miami:
McShay: Jason Ferguson is a 35-year-old coming off a season-ending injury and facing an eight-game suspension. In other words, Miami would be wise to get help at nose tackle through the draft, and Williams is the premier two-gap player on the board.
Anything can happen, of course, but it really does seem like Williams will be gone long before the Chiefs draft in the 2nd round.
As for Cody, I can almost promise you that he will be gone before the Chiefs number gets called in round two. For a long time Cody was projected as an early 2nd round pick but with the premium placed on a good NT in today’s NFL, plus the growing number of teams now running to the 3-4 defense, Cody has many suitors that will be drafting late in the 1st round.
The Chargers, Jets and Ravens all have Cody scheduled for a visit before April 22nd. Baring some unforeseen injury or problem, Cody will likely be taken by one of those teams.
No, there will be only one time the Chiefs will be able to guarantee that they can get themselves a blue chip, nose tackle in this year’s NFL draft and that is with the #5 overall pick.
Get your torches and pitchforks ready. I am going to suggest something wild here. I am going to suggest the Chefs strongly consider taking Dan Williams at #5.
If he is ok for the Dolphins to take at #12, why can’t the Chiefs take him at #5? Will they probably get stuck paying him more money that they would like? Of course, but the same will go for any other player they take at #5.
Every time I hear about the 3-4 defense, I hear over and over again about how the nose tackle is absolutely the most important position in the scheme. If that is true, then the Chiefs need to get their guy and complete their defensive line. If that is true, Williams will make everyone behind him better.
I know a lot of Chiefs fans really like Berry and McClain. I am one of those people but neither of those players will be effective if offensive linemen are blocking them out before they can get to the ball carrier because the nose tackle can’t clog the line.
One concern I have heard around AA is that folks think the Chiefs need a playmaker on the defensive side of the ball. This is true but the fact is, the Chiefs may already have playmakers. Guys like Derrick Johnson and Brandon Flowers may flourish with better play along the middle of the Chiefs defensive line. Sometimes a playmaker is useless unless he has the big guys up front doing some dirty work for him. If you don’t believe me, just ask Larry Johnson and Priest Holms how valuable Willie Roaf, Will Shields, Casey Weigmann and Tony Richardson were to their careers.
I am not saying that Dan Williams is the clear-cut choice for the Chiefs at #5 but I am saying that it isn’t totally crazy for the Chiefs to seriously consider snatching him up. If they can trade back a few spots and still get him that would be even better but they should be careful.
If the Chiefs really want a nose tackle that can come in and start from day 1, they might have to find a way to get one in the first round because after that, all bets are off.