When Scott Pioli drafted Alex Magee in the 3rd round of the 2009 NFL Draft, I was pretty sure it meant the end of Glenn Dorsey in Kansas City. The Chiefs were switching to a 3-4 defense and at the time, most thought Dorsey would not be the best fit to play DE in that scheme. Rumors swirled all through training camp that Dorsey was on the trading block. This may very well have been true. From what I understand, the Chiefs were not initially sure of how well Dorsey would handle the transition from tackle to end.
The start of the season came and Dorsey was still a Chief. As the season went on, his play seemed to improve and coach Todd Haley mentioned on a couple of occasions how happy the Chiefs were with his progress. When Dorsey was injured and missed the Cleveland game, KC got torched on the ground, leading many Chiefs fans to the conclusion that Dorsey was more important to the Chiefs ability to stop the run than he may have seemed.
Now the Chiefs are about to embark on a new season and yet, the Dorsey rumors remain. Some think he will be staying at end. Others think he should still be traded.Then there are a few, including former Chiefs coach Herm Edwards who think he play nose tackle.
“He can do that,” said Edwards taking with Steven St. John of 810 Sports back on April 27th. “There’s no question. Yeah, he can do that. He can hold up on the double team. There’s no doubt.”
At a press conference in March, Nick Wright of 610 Sports asked Pioli point blank if Dorsey might move to the nose tackle position.
Pioli’s response and more, after the jump.
Text from Arrowhead Pride:
Wright: “You mention Glenn Dorsey. I’m personally hearing from people close to the player that there have been discussions about him maybe playing nose tackle. Is that true?”
Pioli: “I think Glenn is a unique player in that he has the physical skill and body type to play numerous positions. Like we do with other positions, we’re going to collect as many good players as we can and then the players themselves will sort out who are going to be the best ones on the field. It’s like what you do with the offensive line. Find the five best guys and get them on the field.”
Wright: “So he can play nose, specifically?”
Pioli: “He can do a lot of different things.”
It sure doesn’t sound like Pioli is ruling out the possibility of Dorsey at the nose, is he? If Dorsey is going to play NT for the Chiefs, who is going to step forward at DE? That is where the wild card, Alex Magee comes in.
The man I believe the Chiefs originally drafted to replace Dorsey, may still do so. Magee didn’t see a ton of playing time last season but when he was on the field he was fairly productive. He even had a couple of sacks.
Magee is the epitome of a Pioli guy. He is a hard worker and a gym rat and if his work ethic last season matches his scouting report, then he may be ready to go this coming season.
From CBS Sports.com:
Athletic Ability: Magee lacks the ideal frame you look for in a physically imposing defensive tackle, but has impressive strength for a player his size. He lacks suddenness of the snap when he gets too high in his stance, but when he sinks his pads, he causes problems for bigger blockers, as he can burst off the snap and get under his man’s jersey to jerk and control. He demonstrates natural feet and good body control working down the line. He has adequate change of direction agility, but shows inconsistency accelerating to the ball when having to chase down along the corners. He flashes the ability to stack and control at the point of attack, and has the balance needed to stay on his feet working through trash. GRADE: 6.4
Work Habits: Magee is an avid worker in the weight room, evident by his impressive bench press showing at the NFL Combine. He plays with good desire and effort, taking that work ethic into practices and by spending extra hours in the film room. He has a lot of Kelly Gregg (Baltimore Ravens) in him – tough, intense and refuses to give an inch to any offensive lineman. He is a solid worker and a self-motivator who does not need to be told the same thing twice. GRADE: 6.6
If Magee has continued to improve physically and the Chiefs think he looks good in training camp, I can see them going with a tandem of Magee and Gilberry at defensive end, opposite Tyson Jackson. Remember, Wallace Gilberry and Alex Mageee combined for 6.5 sack last season. It is possible that Magee could play downs 1 and 2 with Gilberry rotating in sometimes on 3rd down and long.
In the end, all of this is just wild speculation. There is a question of whether Dorsey is even big enough to play the nose. Magee also played a very limited amount last year and I find it hard to believe the Chiefs think he is ready to take on a starting role based on that limited field time.
I am sure Scott Pioli had a plan for Magee when he drafted him. The question is, what is his plan for him now? Is he there to serve as depth behind Dorsey at the end position or is he a starter in waiting?
On possible clue we may receive is what kind of shape Dorsey will be in when he arrives for OTA’s. If the Chiefs are going whole hog with Dorsey at NT, then they will likely have him bulking up a little bit by putting on some muscle and good fat.
Then again, once the Chiefs start lining up, we should know for sure what the man in charge is thinking. I’ll have the offseason practice dates a little later today.
Do you think Dorsey can play the nose? Is Magee his replacement at end? The Chiefs once mentioned that they thought Magee could play at DT. Might he be the planned NT for this season? Is it simply going to be an Edwards, Smith rotation or is this years starter at NT not even on the roster yet?