Will There Be Enough Pass Rush To Help Chris Jones?
All-World defense tackle Chris Jones had a career year in 2022. He ended the year tying a career-high in sacks with 15.5, was named to his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl, and was a first-team All-Pro for the first time. Jones had at least half a sack in 10 of his last 11 regular season games and recorded a solo tackle in all but one game during the entire 2022 campaign, including the playoffs. Jones did not have much help, however, as he was the only Chief with more than six sacks. With the losses of Frank Clark, Khalen Saunders, and Carlos Dunlap, there are going to need to be some other players that step up for Jones to continue doing his thing.
George Karlaftis had a slow start to his rookie campaign, only notching a half-sack through Thanksgiving. It seems like Furious George got that good eating because he took off during the back half of the year with sacks in six of the last seven regular season games. He was held a bit more in check during the playoff run with only four tackles and one sack, so he will be looking to show that his regular season surge was more than just a flash in the pan. He is currently listed as the starting defensive end alongside a newcomer that the Chiefs hope will bolster the pass rush.
Charles Omenihu is a fifth-year end that came over as a free agent from the San Francisco 49ers. Omenihu signed a two-year, $16 million deal to replace, and hopefully increase, the production left behind by the departures of Clark and Dunlap. The biggest question about Omenihu is off the field as he was arrested for suspicion of domestic violence after an incident in January. The legal process is still being played out, so his future is still very much in the air. If he is to miss some time, then the backups are going to have to take up for him.
Kansas City’s hometown kid Felix Anudike-Uzomah was drafted in the first round of the 2023 draft, and he might find himself facing NFL action sooner rather than later with Omenihu’s looming potential suspension. FAU is coming off a strong career at Kansas State, where he notched 98 tackles, 19.5 sacks, and eight forced fumbles during his two years as a Wildcat starter.
Mike Danna, Derrick Nnadi, Malik Herring, and Joshua Kaindoh are all returning to the defensive line rotation after making contributions in 2022. If it does turn out that Omenihu will be missing significant time, the Chiefs will have some options that can fill in during his absence.