The Chiefs “Taking Care Of Business” Checklist p. I

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2. Stopping the Run

For the Chiefs to do a good job at stopping the run in 2015, they must improve these positions during the offseason in a big way:

1) Defensive end

2) Inside linebacker

3) Safety

There’s no doubt that it takes a village… err, a whole defense… to stop the run, but the primary responsibilities for stopping the run often fall to these three positional players.

The Chiefs could draft a cornerback with the idea that he would “help out” with stopping the run, but that would never be the #1 reason they select a specific corner. While the Chiefs seems to be targeting CBs who are 6′ or taller to hopefully cover better, the primary reason is to better deal with the taller receivers coming into the league, guys who are getting bigger and bigger every year. Nine out of 10 of the top wide receiving prospects in the 2015 draft are 6-0 or taller (seven of them are 6-1 or taller).

I’ve pointed out early in the offseason that the Chiefs were not much better at stopping the run in 2013 when both DE Mike DeVito and ILB Derrick Johnson were playing (and performing at 100 percent in their primes). This is one reason the Chiefs have re-signed their own backup ILBs John Mauga and Frank Zombo. That should also be reason enough to expect the Chiefs to make a run on draft day at getting a guy they are targeting as a future ILB.

Target Practice

You can be assured that the idea of drafting an ILB is not alien to the Chiefs brass (Reid and Dorsey have been with teams who’ve picked a LB in the first four rounds, for six years running). Ever since the NFL Combine, the Chiefs have worked out or visited with ILB Paul Dawson from TCU. During the Combine the Chiefs had a little meet-n-greet with Dawson and Ramik Wilson.

The Chiefs also attended the pro days for ILBs: Clemson (Stephone Anthony), TCU (Dawson), Georgia (Wilson), Kansas (Ben Heeney), USC (Hayes Pullard), Michigan State (Taiwan Jones), and Mississippi State (Benardrick McKinney).

The Chiefs did not attend the pro days for schools: Cincinnati (Jeff Luc) nor UCLA (Eric Kendricks).

If you think there’s a pattern of interest in any of those contacts it would have to be with… Paul Dawson from TCU and/or Ramik Wilson out of Georgia.

The Chiefs are aware they need to stop the run and they’re leaving no stone unturned. Adding Tyvon Branch to their list of safeties is not solely a move to improve coverage. It looks like S Eric Berry is improving and it’s speculated that he may be back on the field as early as mid season.

Question: what’s missing from this run-stopping menagerie? Answer: a run-thumping defensive lineman, be it DE or DT who can rotate inside or out.

Level of Need Already FULFILLED for Run Stoppers: ✓✓

GM John Dorsey gets a check mark for both safety and ILB going into the draft but must add another check at DE once he gets there.

Run Stopper Draft Day Considerations: Rounds 1-4 (DE), 1-3 (ILB), 1-6 (S)

ILBs- Josh Mauga and Frank Zombo look like permanent backups. The Chiefs must draft an ILB of the future this year, or next year, at the latest. Derrick Johnson was drafted 10 years ago and is showing his age. The Chiefs may also bring in a couple ILBs as UDFAs. Remember Jovan Belcher was an UDFA out of Maine, and he was pretty good on the field.

Safety- the Chiefs could go safety in this draft but would have to spend an early pick to get one who would make any difference as this draft is not deep on safeties.

DEs- with Vance Walker and Kevin Vickerson both walking this offseason, it appears like the position of defensive end has risen to the top of the Chiefs’ list of needs right up there with center, WR, right guard and right tackle… and could be their top need overall. While most of the DEs in this draft are tailor-made for a 4-3 defense, 6’6″, 294 lb. Henry Anderson could be had in the third round. It’s more likely the Chiefs will convert a DT to DE and there are a number of prospects who could fit the bill so don’t be surprised to hear one of these names called by the Chiefs: Malcom Brown, Eddie Goldman or Jordan Phillips early in the draft. Later on, the Chiefs could go after Gabe Wright, Leterrius Watson or Derrick Lott. Several of these men would make excellent run stoppers at the DE position with the big plus of giving our illustrious Mr. Poe an occasional break in the middle.

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Don’t miss out tomorrow when we look at the “WRs Who Must Catch TD Passes” checklist, plus the “Making the QB Position More Efficient” checklist. Be sure and “check” it out.

What do you think, Addict fans? Do you have your own “Taking Care of Business” checklist for the Chiefs?