2014 NFL Combine Preview: Five Pass Rushers to Watch

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Aug 31, 2013; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Louisiana Ragin

The NFL Combine starts Saturday, which means we are getting closer and closer to figuring out who the Kansas City Chiefs are going to select in the 2014 draft. For the next few days we are going to take a look at some of the guys who could play in to the Chiefs draft thoughts and therefore, should have your attention at the combine.

Today we’re going to look at pass rushers, an area the Chiefs desperately need to add depth to in the off-season.

Kansas City is fortunate enough to have two young up and coming pass rushers in Justin Houston and Dontari Poe to go along with a multi-Pro Bowl linebacker in Tamba Hali. But when Houston and Hali were banged up in the second half of the season, the Chiefs didn’t have a second wave of pass rushers to pick up the slack. As a result, the Bob Sutton had to start being creative with how he brought pressure, which in turn left the secondary vulnerable to big plays.

Adding some depth to the front seven would go a long way towards improving the defense. It wouldn’t be a complete fix, but it certainly would make a difference. So who are some guys the Chiefs may be watching at the combine? Well, here’s four guys who have already met with the Chiefs and another who should get a call from KC this weekend.

1. Chris Smith

School: Arkansas
Watch to Watch: Bench Press, Shuttle Run, Cone Drill, Rip and Swim Drill
2013 Stats: 8.5 sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss
Met with Chiefs: Yes

A 6-1, 266 pound defensive end from Arkansas, Smith profiles as an outside linebacker for the Chiefs. A two-time all-SEC player, Smith was tied for third in the SEC with 8.5 sacks in 2013, raising his career total to 21.5.

An added bonus for Smith is he already has some experience at outside linebacker in college. Playing against SEC offensive lines, he’s been well tested and shouldn’t have to make as big of a leap to be productive in the NFL as some of the other tweener candidates in the draft.

We should expect good initial burst and quickness from Smith, but not necessarily a lot of straight-line speed. It is said he has under-rated strength, but it is not really defined what kind of strength he actually has, so pay attention to his bench press.

Concerns here are that he’s undersized for the position even though he is considered to be a think dude. If you think Michael Sam is undersized then you must feel the same way about Smith, who is an inch small than Sam.

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