A Chiefs fan’s guide to the NFL Draft: The Linebackers

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 30: Lorenzo Carter
KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 30: Lorenzo Carter /
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Hercules Mata’afa – Washington State – 6’2″ – 254 pounds

I’m going to start this with a confession. Washington State’s Hercules Mata’afa is my favorite defensive prospect in this draft class. I don’t know for sure that he’ll be an every down star player in the NFL, but I want the Chiefs to be the team to give him a shot.

For those that don’t know anything about Mata’afa he was the best pass rushing defensive tackle in college football at 6-foot-2 and 254 pounds. Now, that size is the reason he isn’t viewed as a legit defensive tackle prospect in the NFL. Still, he was so explosive and disruptive that I simply can’t fathom him not finding a way to contribute in the NFL. If you don’t believe me just look at this.

That’s not even some one time special play for him. He continually explodes through the line to break up plays. It’s SO fun to watch. I simply don’t understand why the draft community as a whole isn’t more in love with this guy. I know he’s too small to be an every down defensive tackle but every defense in the NFL can surely find a role for this guy.

So let’s get to the question of if Mata’afa can make the transition to the outside in the NFL. I believe he can. Here’s one clip that shows some plays where Mata’afa was successful lining up on the outside.

If that wasn’t enough to sell you check out this last play. Mata’afa lines up on the inside as a defensive tackle then goes all the way around the outside to get the strip sack.

I love this guy. I want him in Kansas City. If he can’t play OLB in the base 3-4 right away that’s fine. Get the guy on the field in the sub package and let him get after the quarterback. Line him up like a defensive end or slide him inside and let him shoot the gap. A defense would be able to run at him there but if he is free to attack the quarterback he just continually makes plays. I am admittedly higher on Mata’afa who many are calling a project that will go in the mid rounds.

If Kansas City shocked everyone and took him in the second round I’d be fine with it. That’s how much I like and believe in his abilities. However, most see him as a mid-round guy and I think if the Chiefs landed him in the third or fourth round it would be an absolute steal.

Next up is the guy that everyone is pulling for.