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

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Aug 31, 2013; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive lineman Dominique Easley (2) lines up against the Toledo Rockets during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida Gators defeated the Toledo Rockets 24-6. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

3. Dominique Easley – Florida – 6’2″ 288 lbs

Dominique Easley isn’t a player that you’ve likely seen mocked to KC or even mocked in the first round at all. However, before you dismiss him as a possibility at #23, hear me out. One of the most coveted defensive players in this draft is Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald. The 6’1″ 285 pound DT is a disruptive nightmare. Despite his small stature for a DT he routinely disrupts plays with his ability to penetrate into the backfield. Most KC fans would jump all over the chance to draft Donald, but he’s not expected to be an option at pick #23.

Here’s the thing.

Dominique Easley was Aaron Donald before anyone even knew who Aaron Donald was. Easley was well on his way to being a top 15 pick in this draft early in the season before he suffered the second ACL tear of his college career. It’s that injury history that has Easley now being drafted in the 2nd or 3rd round of many mock drafts. Easley still hasn’t been able to work out for scouts yet. However, if you read the analysis of experts that have looked at his tape from before his latest injury they all say he was on his way to being a top pick. The word is that Easley will work out prior to the draft to show teams that he is healthy again.

If Easley can’t work out or he does work out but team doctors still have doubts about his ability to either be as explosive or stay healthy then he shouldn’t be considered. If Easley does work out and looks just as good as he did before and teams feel that his injuries were bad luck instead of a recurring issue you’ll see Easley fly up the draft board faster than any other player. It will start with people mocking him to teams like Seattle and Denver and move up from there. When that happens remember where you heard it first.

Easley’s size doesn’t make him a good fit as a 3-4 DE, but he’d be such a weapon on passing downs that he’d still be worth the pick. Imagine an offense having to worry about Hali and Houston on the outside, double teaming Poe on the inside, and then adding one of the most explosive penetrating defenders on the inside too. The Chiefs would be able to consistently apply pressure on QBs by only sending four defenders. That would be a huge schematic advantage.

Unlike the videos for Hageman and Tuitt, this video for Easley is not a highlight video. I actually don’t feel like highlight videos show Easley’s best attribute, his ability to explode off the snap. He’s almost always the first player off the ball and is usually half way past his blocker before they even have time to react. Take a few minutes and watch how often Easley ends up in the backfield.

So what do you think Addicts? Do you agree that KC is likely to draft a player in the trenches in the first round or do you still think they’ll go with a WR or FS? If they do draft a player in the trenches do you agree that one of these players is likely? Do you have a favorite amongst them? Is there another player that I’m missing? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!

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