Grading the KC Chiefs position groups before the 2023 NFL Draft
The Chiefs linebacking corps simply just got better this offseason. Darius Harris, who filled in nicely during Willie Gay’s suspension last year, remains a free agent. However, the signing of free agent Drue Tranquill immediately improved the overall talent and athleticism of this unit. Many fans were left puzzled as to why the Chargers were unwilling to bring back their leading tackler from last season, especially due to the cheap price tag. The 28-year-old veteran just came off his best year and was signed to an affordable 3 million dollar one-year contract. Adding such a key player to a position group that was already solid cements the Chiefs linebackers as one of the youngest and most talented units going into this year.
New toys are fun, but we can’t forget the headliners of the pack. Fan-favorite, second-year player Nick Bolton is coming off an impressive season in which he set a new franchise record for solo tackles with an astounding 180. Bolton has only gotten better at showcasing his ability of consistently being in the right place at the right time. Additionally, Willie Gay Jr. has also made a name for himself through utilizing his impressive speed to fly all over the field, making him half of a dangerous duo that made plays all year long for Kansas City. Though have both struggled with coverage at times they remain the best Kansas City linebackers since Derrick Johnson.
The rest of the unit is rounded out by Jack Cochrane, Cole Christiansen and Leo Chenal. Chenal came off a solid rookie season and saw action on 23% of defensive snaps. Having a year to learn Spagnuolo’s system will undoubtedly prove beneficial as he seeks to build upon his resume over the coming season. Overall, the youth, depth and athleticism touted by this unit is enough to make any defensive coordinator salivate. The Chiefs should be content entering the upcoming season without making any additional pickups.