Breeland Speaks provides Chiefs with needed help along front seven
By Matt Conner
The Kansas City Chiefs addressed a serious need for long-term help along the defensive front by taking Breeland Speaks in the second round.
The Kansas City Chiefs had enough bodies along the defensive line to get them through the 2018 season. Beyond that, however, they were in some serious hot water.
The Chiefs have Chris Jones and Xavier Williams under contract beyond 2018. Other than that, the Chiefs had absolutely no one else set to play for them up front in 2019 and beyond in the trenches, the very place they say football is won and lost. Take a close look at the recent Super Bowl winners, the Philadelphia Eagles, and you can see the importance of stacking talent up front.
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Jarvis Jenkins, Rakeem Nunez-Roches and Allen Bailey are all unrestricted free agents in nine months, which means the Chiefs are thin in both quality and quantity over the long-term. In addition, all of those guys are rotational bodies at this point of varying quality and other than Chris Jones, there’s not a single elite-ceilinged player of the bunch.
In addition to a need along the line, the Chiefs could also use another edge rusher, especially as the team has question marks with Tanoh Kpassagnon’s development, Dee Ford’s health and the loss of Tamba Hali.
All of this is why Brett Veach traded up to take Breeland Speaks, a 6’3, 285 lb. lineman out of Ole Miss. Speaks is definitely an under-the-radar talent who wasn’t often mocked to anyone in the second round, but it’s clear the Chiefs believe he can be something special. Speaks had 7 sacks last year in a breakout season for Mississippi, and he continued to chart well in the pre-draft season as teams began to explore more of his tape.
Speaks can help line up at defensive end on passing downs and will kick out to outside linebacker, per Andy Reid. In fact, Reid mentioned Speaks as a replacement for Tamba Hali in a couple ways, so whether he’s playing outside linebacker or lining up at end next to Jones on passing downs, the Chiefs just got a lot better overall in their front seven.