Kansas City Chiefs could be building a special defense


Sep 29, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs free safety Husain Abdullah (39) returns an interception for a touchdown against New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City won 41-14. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, the Kansas City Chiefs front office ended a rigorous three days of fielding calls and strategically picking the new breed of Chiefs players for this upcoming season. What the Chiefs also did was successfully address several areas on the roster that needed attention. In retrospect, Andy Reid’s Kansas City teams have shown more promise and success than previous groups, but have often lacked the attitude and nastiness to strike fear in fear in opponents on both sides of the ball.

After this draft you can see the Chiefs’ approach was to change that; they added players who are fast, aggressive, and possess attitude.

Kansas City selected Marcus Peters with the 18th-overall pick. This was the start of several draft moves that had a common theme of “attitude.” The Chiefs want a team that fights and plays with a chip on their collective shoulder. Peters fits defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s scheme beautifully. He’s a physical corner that can press opposing wide receivers. There are some analysts that compare him to Broncos corner back Aqib Talib, which bodes well skill-wise for the young corner, but unfortunately compares him on the off-field issues as well. The last time the Chiefs took a corner in the first round was in 1992; you may remember Dale Carter.

Again, there some parallels between Carter and Peters, both on and off the field. While the Chiefs knew up front about Peters’ past, Carter’s off-field issues surfaced after he was drafted. Carter definitely pressed and played with attitude, causing all kinds of problems for opposing quarterbacks. If Peters’ college days are any indication, we can expect the same from Kansas City’s new cornerback.

The ‘97 Chiefs had a special defense and could serve as model and blueprint for Sutton to follow. The Chiefs had two good corners in Dale Carter and James Hasty, and two solid safeties in Jerome Woods and Reggie Tongue. TKansas City went 13-3 and tallied 54 sacks (ranked 3rd overall) along with 21 interceptions (4th overall). I think Chiefs fans miss having an elite defense that makes Arrowhead the stuff of nightmares for opposing teams. We’ve had flashes of being elite in different areas but not the whole package. The good news is after this draft, I think we’re getting there.

After choosing Peters in the first round, the Chiefs went, again, after another physical cornerback in the third round, picking Steven Nelson out of Oregon State. He’s not expected to be a starter since Sean Smith and Marcus Peter will more than likely serve in those roles, but he will be able to come in and contribute immediately in our nickel and dime packages. He’s aggressive and tackles well. Per Pro Football Focus, Steven Nelson was one of two players who didn’t miss a single tackle in 2014.

The Chiefs were among the best in rushing touchdowns allowed, they were the worst in the league in rushing yards per game. They attempted to address this concern by drafting inside linebacker Ramik Wilson in the fourth round to help in the missed tackles department. Wilson finished 2014 with the SEC’s highest tackle-quality grade among starting linebackers.

In the next round, the Chiefs added outside linebacker D.J. Alexander. Mark Dulgerian of NFL Network described the prospect, “Alexander is a speedy linebacker who can use some time to learn behind Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali.”

The last defensive pick was defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches. Let’s see what Mark Dulgerian has to say about Nunez-Roches, “Kansas City adds more speed/quickness to their defense with this pick. Nunez-Roches is a one-dimensional penetrating tackle who will need time to become a more well-rounded NFL player.”

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John Dorsey saw what Chiefs fans saw last year: an unfinished product with a long way to go. He knew if the Chiefs were to get to the postseason, they were going to have score more points (ranked 16th in the league), so he upgraded the offensive line through free agency and the draft. He also saw that the defense lacked production in turnovers (ranked 31st in the league) and stopping the run, so he spent five of nine draft picks on defense. Dorsey is making an effort to change the makeup of this team and instill a killer instinct that this team lacked last year.

If he’s successful, the Chiefs can possibly carry a mental toughness that would prevent a disaster like losing to a winless Raiders team late in the season.