Why The Kansas City Chiefs Will Draft A Defensive Lineman In The First Round

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Dec 28, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive end Stephon Tuitt (7) celebrates after sacking Rutgers Scarlet Knights quarterback Chas Dodd (19) in the fourth quarter of the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Notre Dame won 29-16. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

2. Stephon Tuitt – Notre Dame – 6’5″ 304 lbs

The other prime candidate for KC to target at pick #23 that would fit the mold of being able to play 3-4 DE and provide a pass rush presence would be Stephon Tuitt. While he possesses the prototypical size for a 3-4 DE, he actually is believed to have the pass rush skills needed to play DE in a 4-3 as well. While his highlights don’t always show the same brute force that Hageman’s do, he is a more natural pass rusher. During his sophomore season he put up 12 sacks from his spot as a DE in ND’s 3-4. Those are fantastic numbers.

Most believed he would be even better this past season, but he had hernia surgery in the offseason and it took him a while to get back to his peak playing condition. He did improve as the season went on, but it left some questions. Was Tuitt a little too lax in getting back in shape or did it just take longer to recover than expected? If the Chiefs believe in Tuitt’s work ethic and that 2013 was just a bump in the road then he could be a bargain at pick #23. A player that size with that type of athleticism is rare (as we discussed with Hageman).

In my opinion, the difference between Tuitt and Hageman is a matter of personal opinion. They are both rare physical specimens with the size and strength to play 3-4 DE and stuff the run, but enough athleticism to be a factor as an interior pass rusher. I see Hageman as having a little more brute force on the inside and Tuitt having a little more versatility with his ability to apply pressure on the outside.

Here is a video of some of Tuitt’s highlights from his impressive Sophomore season.

While Hageman and Tuitt are the two clear cut best fits for KC if they go for a defensive lineman at pick #23, there is one dark horse candidate that I don’t think anyone else is talking about yet……..