Joshua Kaindoh brings excellent long-term potential to KC Chiefs

Date Unknown; Tallahassee, FL, USA; FSU defensive end Joshua Kaindoh closes in on NC State quarterback Ryan Finley during the Seminoles' home opener at Doak Campbell Stadium last year. Mandatory Credit: Joe Rondone-USA TODAY NETWORK
Date Unknown; Tallahassee, FL, USA; FSU defensive end Joshua Kaindoh closes in on NC State quarterback Ryan Finley during the Seminoles' home opener at Doak Campbell Stadium last year. Mandatory Credit: Joe Rondone-USA TODAY NETWORK /

It’s not a matter of talent. It has nothing to do with personality or makeup. It doesn’t even have so much to do with his health. Instead, Joshua Kaindoh just needs the reps.

During the 2021 NFL Draft, the K.C. Chiefs waited until the fourth round to address a fairly glaring need at defensive end and pass rusher. When they did, they selected Kaindoh late in the fourth as their one and only addition to the defensive front, a Florida State product who, to date, has been more projection than production. According to Seminoles defensive coordinator Adam Fuller, it’s all about those reps.

“Josh is extremely intelligent,” said Fuller to Arrowhead Addict after the draft. “He’s a super positive person. He’s somebody who I think his best football is still ahead of him.”

Fuller said he had a “pretty in-depth discussion” with Kaindoh about his decision to declare for the NFL Draft. Given the limited body of work with which teams had to scout him, there was a case to be made to come back and gain further experience before making the leap.

Florida State defensive coordinator Adam Fuller told us about KC Chiefs rookie Joshua Kaindoh.

“I was only with him for the last seven months, but prior to that, he just never really had a full season, mostly due to injuries that caught up with him. But he had one of the best fall camps I’ve ever seen a defensive lineman have. Then in that Georgia Tech game, game one, it was about the third or fourth series, he went down. He felt snakebitten, but he was able to come back a little bit sooner than expected. But he never really had a full season where he was injury free and just kept building on his success.

“He’s got all the traits that you look for in a successful defensive end and as a person, so I think it’s just a matter of opportunity and time with him being healthy. I think he’s got a chance for a good NFL career.”

During his career at FSU, Kaindoh started only 10 games for the Seminoles after coming in as a highly-rated five-star recruit out of IMG Academy (named 10th best player in the entire country). A leg injury ended his ’19 season after a single start, and Fuller mentioned the chop block that affected him in the first game of this past season. Alongside health concerns, Kaindoh also dealt with coaching turnover at FSU. In short, the last four years have been interruptive years for Kaindoh.

“It wasn’t just about staying healthy. I mean, he’s played football—he was at IMG Academy and then came to Florida State—but without having a full season under his belt, when you’re not healthy, it affects practice time,” said Fuller. “Practice time brings reps. There were times where things would happen and they would be first-time occurrences for him.

“After another spring and fall camp, I knew his reaction time would pick him and then his natural athletic ability would take over a little bit more. There were still some mechanical things of ‘if this happens, then I’m gonna do this’ that was still being processed because, again, the consistency of being on the field and getting the reps and doing it again and again was all that was missing. I thought if he did decide to come back, that’s what he was going to get, and his production would increase from all of that.”

For all the focus on his pass rushing potential, Fuller says no one should project him solely as a disruptor. In fact, Fuller says he’s a good bet to be a future starter at defensive end, a player who can be a well-rounded asset up front for the Chiefs.

“He’s a physical football player. He’s not shy on contact,” said Fuller. “He’s got a physical presence to him. He’s obviously got great arm length. He’s strong enough at the point of attack. But he’s an aggressive person, so I don’t think you’re gonna find somebody who’s gonna run around blocks. He’s gonna play into blocks. He’ll fight pressure. I don’t think he’s limited to just being a pass rusher. Actually I think one of his strengths is going to be his length and point of attack. If he gets his technique consistent, he’ll be a presence on first and second down at the point of attack who can then be a transitional rush player on early downs as well.”

When asked about a player comparison, Fuller was stumped and said he wasn’t sure he’d ever coached someone who had the blend of Kaindoh’s skill set and length to go with the lack of production for reasons that were not his fault.

“He’s kinda unique with his size and strength and speed. It’s not limited reps, because it’s not like he hasn’t played football. But he just never really had a full season of the production that matches that size, strength, and speed. But usually that doesn’t happen because guys don’t buy in or they don’t work hard at it. None of that is true with Josh. He’ll go out there and practice really hard. We tried to limit his reps to get him healthy at times, but he didn’t want that. He wants to be challenged. He wants to be pushed. He wants to know why.

“His frustration level that he wasn’t as productive as he wanted to be was due to just his consistency of being out there and getting the necessary reps constantly. So it’s tough to compare. I don’t really have anybody I can compare him to who I have coached.”

The primary task for Chiefs defensive line coach Brendan Daly and the rest of the defensive staff is going to be on helping Kaindoh get those reps as consistently as possible. The heart is there. The effort is all-in. The physical attributes are readily apparent.

“I had a sense that he’d be in that mid-round take, but I did tell most people that if he gets into your program that you’ll enjoy having him. He brings positive energy to the things he does and he’s got the physical tools. It’s just about putting them together through repetitions. If you get a healthy version of him and consistent time with him, it will pay off.”

Next. Check out the Chiefs post-draft report card. dark