I decided to combine the entire defensive line into a single group since the Kansas City Chiefs lack depth at both defensive tackle and edge rusher.
It’s no secret that the Chiefs’ pass rush is a major concern, even with the signing of Carlos Dunlap. Frank Clark has had a strong training camp so far but he’s been average at best throughout his tenure in Kansas City. The young pass rushers, including George Karlaftis, Mike Danna, and Joshua Kaindoh, are all unproven commodities, even if the potential is there. The Dunlap signing is a game changer for Kansas City but he is 33 years old and it’s likely that his best days are behind him.
The drop-off between the Chiefs’ “first tier” of defensive ends (Clark, Dunlap, and Karlaftis) and their “second tier” (Danna and Kaindoh) is significant. They are going to heavily rely on their top guys, which is a problem since one of them is a rookie, another is well over 30 years old, and the other has never been a great player in KC. If they lose one of their top 3 outside pass rushers to an injury, that puts them right back where they started before the Dunlap signing.
Relating to defensive tackle, the Chiefs do not have a lot of depth behind superstar Chris Jones. Their other main guys are Derrick Nnadi, who is not a great pass rusher, Tershawn Wharton, who has shown flashes of a great pass rusher but is not established, Taylor Stallworth, who is likely just a solid depth player, and Khalen Saunders, who has also not yet established himself as a starting caliber player in the NFL. The Chiefs also brought in former first-round pick Danny Shelton but I don’t anticipate him being any more than a depth run-stuffer as he has only recorded 6.0 sacks in 100 career regular season games.
If the Chiefs lose anyone significant on the defensive line, especially if it’s Chris Jones, they are in a world of trouble when it comes to generating a pass rush. They do not have the established depth to overcome a serious injury and will heavily rely on veterans like Jones, Carlos Dunlap, and Frank Clark to stay healthy throughout the season.
What do you think of the position groups mentioned in this article? Which group(s) did I leave out? Feel free to let me know in the comment section or on Twitter (@StrozinskyLucas).