The K.C. Chiefs will have to do their homework on the defensive ends in the 2021 NFL Draft, an enigmatic group with some promising upside. The Chiefs’ top priority will likely be rebuilding the offensive line this offseason, but finding another difference-maker on the defensive front should be the next task on the agenda. The established pass rushers set to hit the market will command big contracts, and the Chiefs are not in a position to go on a spending spree.
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has demonstrated the ability to build a championship-caliber defense with a strong pass rush, so giving Spags the tools to do just that is a wise investment for Kansas City. Lineman Chris Jones got paid last offseason and had a solid season. Meanwhile, defensive end Frank Clark had a lackluster campaign when measured against his salary. The rest of the defensive line struggled to stand out or make a difference throughout the 2020 season, and the story was no different in the Super Bowl loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Even if Kansas City’s front office and coaches are content with their current players at the position, the Chiefs only have two defensive ends under contract for 2021 with starting experience: Frank Clark and Mike Danna. Alex Okafor, Tanoh Kpassagnon, and Taco Charlton are all scheduled to hit free agency. The Chiefs have a lot of financial investment in the front four, but without adequate complementary pieces offenses have been able to neutralize the star players.
A closer look at defensive end prospects for the K.C. Chiefs.
The 2021 NFL draft will be complicated as the league continues to navigate the challenges of COVID-19 and the players who opted out of the 2020 college season. There are several players on this list who have not played organized football since 2019. Additionally, there are some players absent from this list—maybe most notably Georgia’s Azeez Ojulari—because they do not fit what the Kansas City Chiefs look for in their defensive ends.
Let’s take a look at the defensive end prospects for the 2021 NFL Draft