Kansas City Chiefs: Speed is the new signature

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When the Chiefs drafted Phillip Gaines last year, one clear skill he brought to the table was speed and there was much talk about his ability to recover once beat. However, no one knew how long it would take for him to pick up the defensive schemes or if he ever would at all. Chiefs’ 2009 draft pick, corner Donald Washington, proved his speed and physical prowess meant little. So little he is now playing for the Toronto Argonauts. Gaines made a lot of progress in 2014 and will be relied upon greatly in 2015, especially in the first two games when Sean Smith serves his suspension. Plus, it looks like Gaines is making an impression with that speed during OTAs this week.

While Dee Ford’s 40 time is listed as 4.59 above he also ran a 4.49 a year ago and that’s wide receiver speed. He may fear Frank Gore and talk like Michael Jackson (when he was alive) but his speed is unique for a linebacker and it translates into pure force on impact. If you missed ESPN’s Sports Science segment on how Ford compared to other prospects they’ve recorded check it out below.

Isn’t it interesting to note that Dee Ford recorded the fastest time of anyone they’ve measured in two years. Let’s hope he gets a lot more snaps in 2015.

If Tyvon Branch can stay healthy his 4.26 40 time is going to offer highlight reel moments at the Safety position. At least until Eric Berry can return. Any time under 4.30, for any player, puts him in a select group, because  there are only two or three players per year, coming into the league, who can move like that. At 6-foot-0 and 209 pounds Tyvon Branch is no Featherweight.

Before we flip back to the offensive side of the ball and talk about the speed over there, please don’t forget that when Mr. Dontari Poe came into the league at 350 plus sized pounds he ran a 4.98 40 at the combine. Check out this little GIF comparison of Dontari Poe vs. this year’s hot topic at nose tackle Danny Shelton in the 40 yard dash.

Poe beat Shelton by ten yards. A sub-5 second 40 is still rare for linemen but for someone who goes 350 pounds? It’s freakish speed for a big, big man.

Then consider beastly looking defensive end Allen Bailey who ran an official 40 time of 4.71 coming out of college. So, John Dorsey is adding speed on top of speed when he drafts guys like Rakeem Nunez-Roches who ran a 4.99 40 and Mike “I hope he sees the field this year” Catapano with his 4.71.

As far as linemen go, on the offensive side of the ball, Eric Fisher ran an official time of 5.03 but his low was 4.93. Donald Stephenson gives the Chiefs a likely starting right tackle who can put out a 4.94. Eric Kush ran a low of 4.94 but an official time of 5.04. If it is intentional that Mr. Dorsey and Dr. Reid are cooking up a fast offensive line to pave the way for one of the fastest backs in the league, it’s clear they are succeeding. That kind of speed is going to leave many opponents stunned. And hopefully on the losing side of the ledger.

A significant advantage new wide out Jeremy Maclin brings to the offense is his 4.45 speed. Maclin knows how to read defenses and split seams. He can go long or play the short game. However, there aren’t many wide receivers who can do those things at the speed he does them which is going to simplify quarterback Alex Smith’s job. “Yea, but now teams are going to double-team Maclin so there goes the easy target for Alex.” Don’t forget DeSean Jackson left Philadelphia a year ago leaving Maclin the primary target in 2014 so he’s already used to being double-teamed and gained 1,318 yards receiving in spite of it all.

If speed really does kill? Kansas City’s group of wideouts should be committing first degree murder in 2015. While 5-foot-9 Albert Wilson is listed as running a 4.38 40 noted above, he’s also been recorded running a 4.28. At training camp last summer his speed was immediately apparent. I personally watched Wilson easily creating separation and making one amazing catch after another.

Everyone I spoke with thought he’d not only make the team but be a regular starter. Why it took so long for his number to be called is a mystery but that’s often the way with rookies — UDFAs or not — who are first breaking into the league. Wilson should figure into the offensive scheme early and often this year and the fact that he has great hands should make his speed a huge asset, as well as another tool for coach Andy Reid to wield. I predict Albert Wilson wins the #2 wide receiver position to begin the 2015 season.

Next: What can Dorsey do for you?