The former Kansas Jayhawks pass rusher is the ideal, must-have player for the Chiefs at the No. 54 spot in the upcoming draft.
Not having a first round pick in what appears to be an offseason of transition is a tricky game, especially when a defense is so obviously in need of new blood and the offense will have a new starter. With the departures on defense of Marcus Peters and Derrick Johnson, it is actually edge rusher that remains the top position of need for the Chiefs in the draft. And there is perhaps no player better suited for the Chiefs in the second round then Kansas Jayhawk pass rusher Dorance Armstrong.
The most telling part of the past season has been the Chiefs’ inability to generate any type of pass rush opposite of Justin Houston. Dee Ford had some really good games in place of the hobbled Houston in 2016, but has been a non-factor since. The impending departure of Tamba Hali, either via his release or retirement, also seems to be on the horizon.
Frank Zombo is a nice special teams player but is not an impact linebacker. He’s also a candidate to be released to create more cap room. Dadi Nicolas missed the entirety of the 2017 season rehabbing a late 2016 knee injury and saw limited defensive snaps during his rookie 2016 season, so there isn’t much to go on with the 2016 sixth round pick.
Another factor is the contract situation of Justin Houston. After this 2018 season, Houston himself becomes a candidate to be released or traded as he is now cheaper to let go tha n to keep. Due a cap number of 21.1 million in 2019, releasing the pass rusher would save the Chiefs 14 million against the 2019 cap after this season. Houston will be 30 by the end of the upcoming season, a not-so-magical number for NFL football players and their value. Finding a replacement for Houston is an important factor for the organization.
Enter Dorance Armstrong, the Kansas defensive end. First, we’ll go over his combine measurements and compare them to a NFL pass rusher at the same point.
- 6’4, 257 pounds
- 34.75″ arm length
- 4.87 second 40 yard dash
- 7.12 second 3 cone drill – Measures prospect ability to bend, change direction and accelerate
- 4.23 second 20 yard shuttle – Measures prospect change of direction, body control in space
- 118″ broad jump – Measures lower body explosiveness
- True junior – Only spent three seasons in college
Mystery Comparison Prospect (at combine):
- 6’6, 244 pounds
- 33.16″ arm length
- 4.60 second 40-yard dash
- 7.18 second 3 cone drill
- 4.32 – 20 yard shuttle
- 237″ broad jump
- Junior (Three years at college after one year at Prep School)
- 2016 NFL 1st round draft pick
Both are tall lanky prospects with pass rushing abilities with similar numbers with similar builds coming out of college. The prospect is Leonard Floyd, the 9th overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft from Georgia.
In 22 career games thus far, Floyd has recorded 11.5 sacks and 67 total tackles with the Chicago Bears.
Obviously free agency can impact the Chiefs needs and approach to the Draft. However, with short term questions marks at the OLB spot opposite of Houston and long term questions in general at the position, the Chiefs will need to find someone that can contribute opposite Houston in the short term and possibly replace Houston in the long term.
What do I like about Dorance Armstrong?
A lot. Shows not only an ability to rush the passer, but he’s a solid tackler and willing defender against the run. A huge issue with Dee Ford is the black hole disaster he is against the run. He also plays with a relentless motor and never quits on a play. Being the only quality defender on the atrociously awful Kansas football team, opposing offenses avoided Armstrong as much as possible, often double or even triple teaming during his junior season. Armstrong has the potential to be a difference maker for the Chiefs early.
What needs to improve about Dorance Armstrong?
First and foremost, Armstrong needs to be stronger, especially in the upper body. While has the quickness and bend you look for in an edge rusher, Armstrong needs to improve his strength if he is going to mix his finnese moves with power. Once he’s able to attack the body of an offensive lineman, that will help open a wider array of moves.
Past that, Armstrong spent much of his Kansas career playing left defensive end, and obviously will need to move outside in the NFL. As life is not a Madden game, transitioning positions can be difficult and take time to adjust.
Here are some scouting reports for Dorance Armstrong to help pass the time:
Video taken from draftbreakdown.com via Draft Blaster.