Although Brett Veach explained that he loved Speaks’s motor and ability to stay off the ground, it was not a great start for Speaks in Kansas City. As predicted, Speaks looked like he was playing out of position. At EDGE, Speaks did not showcase enough burst or quickness to be a truly effective pass-rusher. At times, Speaks would be knocked out of a play and rendered ineffective against the run and the pass.
What does Speaks do well?
Speaks is tough and Brett Veach brought him on to the roster for that reason. In college, Speaks was ejected twice for his overly aggressive nature. The question has been and remains: where does he fit and what does he do particularly well? After two seasons in the NFL, it is still impossible to know the answer.
Coming out of college, Speaks was known for being agile for his size and having a high motor. Some scouting reports lauded Speaks on his awareness and vision as well. While this could be seen in his rookie season, in many cases, the bad outweighed the good. Offensive linemen took advantage of his high pad level by getting underneath him and controlling him to go wherever they wanted. Speaks played with high intensity, but looked as though he lacked NFL quickness. It is still unclear what his true NFL value is.
After a miserable defensive performance in the AFC Championship in 2019, defensive coordinator Bob Sutton was fired and Steve Spagnuolo was brought on board to fill the role as defensive coordinator. To Speaks, this was supposed to be his chance to show his true value. Spagnuolo brought an aggressive 4-3 scheme that seemed to be the best fit for him but unfortunately, he never got an opportunity. Speaks was knocked out of the 2019-2020 season with a knee injury in the second preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
At a glance, Speaks had gotten work at both defensive end and defensive tackle and was going to play a “hybrid” role. For Steve Spagnuolo, versatility is a valuable asset and Breeland Speaks was set to be a key cog in that role. In 2018, Speaks was incredibly inconsistent, but had a few nice plays. In his rookie season, Speaks started four games and came away with three tackles for a loss and a sack and a half. There was much more potential for Speaks in a 4-3 and he never got the chance to prove doubters wrong in 2019.