In: Anthony Hitchens, Nick Bolton, Willie Gay Jr., Ben Niemann, Darius Harris
Out: Dorian O’Daniel, Emmanuel Smith, Omari Cobb
For the first time in years, this unit isn’t looking like a disappointment.
The linebacking corps is exciting chapter of the defense in 2021 with young investments like Willie Gay Jr and Nick Bolton ready to contribute alongside Anthony Hitchens, who has looked better in the last year than he ever did in red an gold. That’s a very solid trio of linebackers with a high ceiling and the Chiefs defense should be that much better for it.
From there, Ben Niemann is often criticized as a low-ceiling player, but he’s tough, smart, knows what he can and cannot do and minimizes mistakes accordingly. The Chiefs need to not ask him to do what he can’t, and that’s where fans have been frustrated. That’s not on Niemann, by the way.
From there, Darius Harris looked good enough in the preseason to be done with the Dorian O’Daniel experiment. While he’s a former third round pick in Veach’s first ever draft class, he’s never turned into anything more than a quality special teamer. At this point, the Chiefs need to coach up someone else to be that valuable for Dave Toub while retaining better potential on defense. Harris gets the call over Cobb here.