Chiefs news: Turk Wharton worked on pass rush in offseason

While the addition of a signing like Carlos Dunlap or a draft pick like George Karlaftis were nice additions for the Kansas City Chiefs defensive line, the team was also hoping to see growth from internal candidates as they take a hopeful step forward together in 2022. One often overlooked player who could provide a significant boost is Turk Wharton.

Coming into his third season, Wharton is no longer a feel-good story as a long shot who somehow made the team despite being an undrafted free agent out of a school like Missouri S&T. These days, he’s a proven interior lineman who has beaten out plenty of competition for rotational reps behind Derrick Nnadi and Chris Jones.

These days, Wharton is now familiar enough with what it takes to compete as a pro football player that any starry-eyed experiences are now long gone. Instead, he’s focused on improving his game in ways that lead to further playing time and team success.

Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Turk Wharton has already shown off some impressive pass rush moves in training camp.

When speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Wharton made it clear he no longer feels like a man out of place.

“Coming in from a small school, these guys were a bit more polished than me, but now I feel like I belong. Now it’s more so every day I’m working to get better and I feel I have to compete with the top guys.”

In order to hang with those “top guys”, Wharton is taking advice from them as he seeks to improve his pass-rushing prowess heading into another season. Wharton detailed his offseason regimen for reporters and stated he was specifically focused on improving his chances of getting to the quarterback.

“As far as being a pass rusher, I worked a lot on getting my hands faster and boxing, things of that nature, just to get them up. I was talking to Frank and Chris and they were telling me some things they did in the offseason. That was one thing Chris told me he did, and you know Chris has good hands, so he told me to do that and I stuck to it.”

This season, it will be interesting to see how some positional coaching changes will affect things for everyone. Former defensive line coach Brendan Daly is now with the linebacking corps after the team lost Matt House back to the college ranks (to become the defensive coordinator at LSU). The team imported longtime Ravens d-line coach Joe Cullen, who was the defensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars a year ago.

“I think Coach Cullen wants me to use my speed, just let me get up the field. I’ve been watching Chris a lot, so he wants us to go. That’s making me play faster more than read-and-react,” said Wharton about the change.

Through two seasons, Wharton has proven to be quite durable with 33 games played in his first two seasons. Last year, he had 29 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 8 pressures while playing in 45 percent of the defensive snaps.