NFL Draft Profiles: Inside Linebackers For The Chiefs To Consider

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Aug 29, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Derrick Johnson (56) on the sidelines before the game against the Green Bay Packers at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 30-8. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft is three weeks away, so we’re running out of time to wildly speculate about prospects. Today we take a look at the inside linebackers in the 2014 class.

Inside linebacker doesn’t rank particularly high on the Chiefs immediate needs but time is coming quickly to a day where it may be. Consider Derrick Johnson will turn 32-years-old in November and has only two years remaining on his contract. How much will the Chiefs want to pay a soon-to-be 34-year-old linebacker in March of 2016?

Bad news is there is not a lot of great fits for a project replacement for Johnson in this draft. There are a couple of candidates who the Chiefs could have a shot at drafting but both come with more questions than answers as prospects. The likelihood of finding Johnson’s successor in the 2014 draft seems low.

What the Chiefs could find is a way to open up future salary cap space by finding role linebackers. The Chiefs have spent millions on linebackers Akeem Jordan and Joe Mays in the last two free agent periods. Opening up the cap space by having a draft pick and Nico Johnson battle for the role could help the Chiefs afford some of their more immediate needs, like re-signing Justin Houston and Alex Smith.

It should be noted the Chiefs defensive scheme is in a bit of a flux. In the playoff loss to the Colts, the Chiefs played in a 2-3-6 over 85% of the time. This means Johnson was on the field by himself for most of the game, and did not have a traditional second middle linebacker next to him. This indicates not only the importance of Johnson, but how spending $6 million on Joe Mays over two seasons isn’t the most efficient use of their cap space.

Creating depth and competition in the middle would give the Chiefs a better and cheaper solution to their second middle linebacker spot. And if that player happens to be someone who could develop into Johnson’s replacement, it would be extra useful.

So who are some inside linebackers who may make sense for the Chiefs? Let’s take a look.

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Prospects Kansas City Chiefs

  • KCMikeG

    Andrew Jackson WKY – UDRFA who will be a great player.

  • berttheclock

    Ah, love that note on Christian Jones of “has speed to chase down the action”.

    That is the one flaw I see in Nico Johnson, He does not have speed and a large range.

  • berttheclock

    Love to see those 5.5 sacks by Skov the year after returning from an injury.

    However, the Stanford player I’m really going to watch is Skov’s team mate, Trent Murphy. He has played both DE and OLB. Considered by many to be a tweener and not athletic, but, he had 15 sacks last season for Stanford and 23.5 drops for a loss. Rob Rang compares him to his seeing Jared Allen coming out of Idaho State. Real meanness and plays with a very tough attitude Steer wrestler, yet, doesn’t appear to be particularly strong

  • CaliChief57

    I think Shazier should be put on this list also! In the nfl he will more likely be a ILB due to his short stature for a OLB, and he gots the speed to cover.

  • Drewfish

    What about Morris from Iowa he was a 3-4 year starter who plays decent coverage and is pretty athletic. Him and Kirksey were a huge of the Iowa d success.

  • Bigtexjayhawk

    Christian Jones has been my sleeper stud of the draft from day one. His versatility is tremendous. He is fast, quick and strong. He has the height to cover the taller TEs that little EB has had to cover. Depending on draft grades I would not care one bit if they took him in round 1. In mocks he is anywhere from early rd 2 to late 3rd. If KC could trade back and grab him that would be awesome. I say play him inside with DJ and we would have a fantastic athletic 4 LBs. Bob could blitz anytime anywhere. Bring the heat!!