3 defensive crushes for the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2024 NFL Draft

Draft week is upon us, but there's still time to take an 11th hour look at some of my favorite defensive options for the Kansas City Chiefs. Defense was the strength of Kansas City's championship campaign in 2023. Backfilling a few spots and adding depth to raise the overall floor of the defense will be key to sustaining one of the league's best young defenses.
NFL Combine
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DeWayne Carter, Defensive Tackle, Duke

Draft Projection: Round 3-4

Defensive tackle is one position group where the Chiefs are returning all players from 2023. Chris Jones, Derrick Nnadi, Mike Pennel, and Tershawn Wharton were all retained on new deals to start the offseason. That kind of continuity should inspire confidence in the room, but for many in the Kingdom, it hasn't. The Chiefs need a floor raiser at that position.

Beyond 2023, Jones is the only interior defensive lineman slated to be under contract in Kansas City. In fact, every IDL option presently on the roster is at least 27 years old. It's time to get younger there and the middle rounds of the draft present a good opportunity to do so, potentially with Duke defensive tackle DeWayne Carter.

The former Duke Blue Devil is another high-effort defensive line prospect. Though, unlike Kamara, he's a bit more versatile in what he brings to the table as both a pass rusher and run defender. Defensive line coach Joe Cullen will love his leadership as Kamara was a three-time captain at Duke (the first in school history). That was largely due to his football acumen. He has a good understanding of how to shed blocks and use his leverage to his advantage. That said, it may still take him some time to pay dividends as a pass rusher. He needs to learn how to adapt when his initial pass-rush plan doesn't work.

Carter makes a lot of sense for Kansas City with a good blend of size and speed. Due to shorter arms, he won't live there, but he can occasionally kick outside to end. He'll have to get under the pads of significantly taller tackles in the NFL, but he's flashed the ability to do so. Versatility is a calling card for Spagnuolo and I believe Carter gives them another piece they can move around the Chess board. He's quick and has a sufficient first step to disrupt plays in both the run and pass games.

Two Games to Watch:
Duke vs. Notre Dame
Duke vs. Florida State

The joy of watching general manager Brett Veach operate is how adept he is at identifying contributors throughout all three days of the NFL Draft. He's put on a masterclass in recent years with his defensive picks and I'm anxious to how he'll continue to bolster the defense with this year's rookie class. I expect the Chiefs to draft heavily on the offensive side, but if they can snare another 2-3 defenders who can get on the field in short order, Kansas City should again field one of the league's top defensive units.