The Kansas City Chiefs have undergone quite a makeover under John Dorsey and Andy Reid, but one area that could present problems for the new regime in 2013 is the defensive line.
The Chiefs haven’t done much upgrading to the line this offseason. The major change was the departure of DE Glenn Dorsey in free agency. The former first-round draft pick was a disappointment in KC given his draft stock. He developed into a solid run-stopper in Romeo Crennel’s 3-4, but never really had the opportunity to become the pocket-collapsing DT he was projected to be coming out of LSU. Dorsey had been selected to play DT in a 4-3 but coaching changes forced him to move to end.
The Chiefs replaced Dorsey with a similar player in former New York Jet, Mike DeVito. Like Dorsey, DeVito is know for his physical play and run-stopping prowess but not for getting to the QB.
At NT, the incumbent starter is last year’s first-round pick, Dontari Poe. Poe is still a raw talent and while he played well at times last season, his overall performance was average at best. Poe has incredible athletic talent and if new defensive coordinator Bob Sutton can find a way to use Poe’s talent to make him a better, the second-year player could become a force in the middle of KC’s line. If not, Poe will go down in the books as another bust at defensive line for the Chiefs.
Speaking of busts, Tyson Jackson will likely start at the other DE spot. Jackson is following a similar career path to Dorsey in that he showed some improvement after an abysmal rookie season. Jackson even managed to get to the QB a few times last season, though he still wasn’t able to provide consistent pressure, which is much more important than sack numbers.
Sutton is expected to run a much more aggressive version of the 3-4 than Romeo Crennel so it will be interesting to see if DeVito, Poe and Jackson can flourish in his system. DeVito is familiar with the type of system Sutton runs, so if the former Jet’s sack numbers from his time in New York are an indication of what we can expect from the DEs in KC, we may not see much of a change in 2013.
Lastly, the Chiefs have a staggering lack of depth along their defensive line. Allen Bailey and Jerrell Powe are still hanging around but neither have made much of an impact during their time in KC. The Chiefs could use some more seasoned backups in case of injuries to their starters.
The Chiefs, on paper at least, are extremely talented at the linebacker and corner positions. If the defensive line is up to the task, Kansas City could sport one of the NFL’s best defense. If, however, Jackson continues to be average and Poe fails to improve, then the line could be the downfall of Andy Reid’s 2013 Chiefs.
What do you think, Addicts? Will the 2013 Chiefs defensive line rise to the occasion or will they be the weak spot on the defense?