The Kansas City Chiefs on the third and final day of the NFL Draft shored up their defense and got some much needed help in the tackling department. With a selection of a safety and outside linebacker, the defensive depth chart of Kansas City just got a lot better. One note that General Manager Scott Pioli mentioned in his third day bonanza to the Associated Press was that all of the draft picks for the Chiefs were elected their team captains in college.
Overall the Chiefs have addressed the major needs from major conferences. Four of the seven picks were from the SEC and two from the Big 10. Four picks were also on defense and only one pick overall was a skill position, which was pretty much what the Chiefs were expecting to need. I saw the team needing two things and those were speed and tacklers. They got both yesterday.
Here’s the rundown of the last two picks for an ailing defense that will hopefully mature quickly and add depth to a team that is in need of some spark. With its final two picks, Kansas City chose Kendrick Lewis of Mississippi and Cameron Sheffield from Troy.
Kendrick Lewis is another Ole Miss product joining teammate Dexter McCluster who will be on offense or special teams. Roommates in college, now they will play professionally on the same team just like best friends and just in time to help an ailing squad get some juice. Helping Lewis’ stock were the two interceptions he had against Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl to go along with his career-high 85 tackles from the safety position.
Lewis will probably take a while to develop into the weapon he is capable of. Reading offenses and keeping up with changes in zone defense are trademarks of NFL teams and how quickly he can absorb the new scheme will depend on how fast he develops. Still, as a defensive leader and captain who’s used to making play calls and seeing plays in his head, Lewis should have little trouble becoming an adaptable player who can change on an instant’s notice.
Cameron Sheffield of Troy will be adding some run stoppage to his outside linebacker position. At 6-2 and 250 he is stout and should provide plenty of run support and get some quick moves towards the quarterback during blitzes. His team fell in the GMAC Bowl in double overtime, and despite being from a non-power league three members of the Trojans were drafted in 2010.
Sheffield is coming off a monster season at Troy. He had six sacks amidst 30 solo tackles for one of the top rated defenses in the country. Quickness and a good tackler is what the Chiefs need on defense no matter where the position is on defense for this team. An outside linebacker and a threat to rush the quarterback are perfect for the defense that Kansas City uses. He may take some time to get used to the calls on defense but once he does watch out.
As a longtime Chiefs fan I’ve always hoped that they do better in the draft. Hopefully these new Chiefs will realize their potential and stick around with quality players around them. With recent staffing troubles such as Larry Johnson with so much promise fizzling out to nothing, I am trusting in quasi-new General Manager Scott Pioli to get this team back on track.
The Associated Press and ESPN contributed information for this article.