September 8, 2012; Palo Alto, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal defensive end Ben Gardner (49) tackles Duke Blue Devils running back Juwan Thompson (23) after the catch at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
As with Nelson, Gardner is an intriguing option as a pass rusher for the Chiefs. He started three seasons at Stanford where he played on the line and totaled 17.5 sacks over his career.
The things to note with Gardner are his toughness, versatility, and motor. He played virtually every position in the front seven for Stanford’s 3-4 scheme and played those positions well. Being able to move him to the defensive line to rush from the outside or to stand him up at linebacker would give Bob Sutton the kind of creativity he craves in his pass rushers.
The issue with Gardner is he is considered a “tweener” by scouts. He weighs 262 pounds which may concern some about what kind of ability he would have as a five-technique pass rusher. And while he ran a tremendous 6.78 three-cone drill at his Pro Day, it is unknown if he would still have that same speed and quickness should he add some weight. He’ll definitely need to get bigger if he is going to take advantage of his versatility.
Gardner was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the seventh round. After losing DeMarcus Ware from their defensive front over the offseason it may be difficult to see Gardner being cut by the Cowboys. However, should he be let go the Chiefs should definitely consider him as an option.