Elijah Qualls, DT, Washington, 4th (No. 132 overall)
Qualls is definitely a big body at 6-1, 313 lbs. and shows off the kind of strength and athleticism that could provide a serious boost in the middle for any team needing a punch. Qualls is very strong, with 33 reps on the 225 pound bench press at the NFL Combine. Last year, he was first team All Pac-12 for the Huskies with 38 tackles and 3 sacks. Although Qualls could become a nose tackle type of player, his burst and strength should make him more disruptive than expected.
Why this could work:
The Chiefs could absolutely use another rotational body under club control at this point. Bennie Logan is on a one-year deal. Jaye Howard is in his last year as well. Allen Bailey, depending on how well he responds coming back from injury, could also be a cap casualty as his financial hit rises above $8 million in 2018. The potential exit of all three means that Chris Jones and Rakeem Nunez-Roches are the only guaranteed players to be on the Chiefs one year from now. That’s not good.
Qualls has taken hits for putting on excess weight and struggling with inconsistency and work ethic. Some of those same knocks we heard about Jones one year ago. The Chiefs know how to coach up defensive line talent, and they’ve done wonders with a waiver wire pick like Howard, an athletic but untested wonder like Dontari Poe and last year’s rookie sensation in Jones. Qualls could turn a corner and become a mid-round steal if the Chiefs could keep him lean(er) and motivated.
Why this couldn’t work:
Honestly of any of the picks so far, this is the most obvious. McCaffrey is a luxury in the first round. Witherspoon is a bit unknown for the second round. Anzalone’s health record is too suspect and Nathan Peterman won’t excite anyone in Kansas City. However, Qualls at the bottom of the fourth round? There’s no reason at all why this wouldn’t work, unless Dorsey was too scared off by the lack of motivation.