Dorian O’Daniel has his linebackers coach excited as he enters his third year with Chiefs.
After two full years, the Kansas City Chiefs haven’t gotten nearly as much out of linebacker Dorian O’Daniel as fans would have anticipated. Fortunately Matt House, the team’s linebackers coach, says he’s “excited” by O’Daniel this offseason and is looking forward to how he will grow in his third NFL season.
In a recent teleconference with team reporters, House answered questions about the position he covers and the offseason approach in the midst of shelter-in-place restrictions due to the coronavirus. House spoke highly of O’Daniel and believes consistency in scheme will be helpful for him going forward.
“I’m excited by Dorian. He’s really embraced these meetings and he’s been very, very active and worked hard, so I’m excited to see how it transpires on the field,” says House.
"“I think it’s not only important in his third year that he continues to grow and develop but it’s also teh second year within our scheme. So there’s going to be less of a learning curve coming back out on the practice field and when we start playing games for him than there was last year. Last year, that’s the one thing, it was his second year in the league but it was his first within the scheme.”"
The Chiefs first selected O’Daniel at the bottom of the third round in general manager Brett Veach’s first ever draft class in 2018. The No. 100 overall pick was a versatile dynamo on a Clemson defense that won the national championship, and O’Daniel was considered not only an important player but leader on the team.
Ever since he arrived in K.C., however, O’Daniel has earned very little playing time at a position that should be giving him every opportunity to succeed. Even after one year, we were asking questions of whether or not O’Daniel would make the team. O’Daniel had only 8 tackles in 14 games last year for the Chiefs, although he’s proven himself to be a solid special teams player.
The Chiefs have been searching for consistent production at every linebacker spot ever since Veach took over. From Reggie Ragland and Anthony Hitchens to Damien Wilson and Willie Gay, the Chiefs seem to make new investments every year in finding a long-term answer.
At this point, O’Daniel still has two years left on his rookie contract and he’s coming in familiar with the speed of the game and what defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will ask of him. House makes it clear not to give up on O’Daniel just yet and perhaps we should listen.