Chiefs Defensive Line Problems Won't be a Quick Fix

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The Kansas City Chiefs defensive drafting woes have been well-documented.  In a piece by DThomasReigns (that Dr. Z mentioned in his Sports Illustrated column) came this "terrifying" reality:

"In the last 7 years, the Chiefs have spent 4 of 7 First round picks on Defense, EVERY Second round pick on Defense, and 5 Third rounders on Defense."

Yikes!  And that news isn't going to get much better next season, especially at the defensive tackle position.

The time it takes a defensive tackle to fully develop has also been well documented around here. With free agency pretty much done, it's becoming evident that (barring a trade) the Chiefs won't have a NFL-ready tackle to start the season.

Glenn Dorsey may be the best candidate to start at the nose tackle come opening weekend, unless the Chiefs pick up a tackle in the draft. But judging by the tackles the Chiefs have been looking at, there isn't one in the draft that will be ready to be a force on opening weekend.

Let's take a quick look at the defensive tackles the Chiefs have reportedly shown interest in and tell me if any of these guys can be the team's starter in September.

Jarron Gilbert (San Jose State DE/DT - 6'5" 288 pounds)

Technically a defensive end in college, Gilbert appears to have the build to pack on a few more pounds and take a run as a defensive tackle. Though that's unlikely, he's still a player the Chiefs will work out.  Still, as a defensive end in college, it's unlikely Gilbert can or will make the switch to tackle by opening day.

Ricky Jean-Francois (LSU DT 6'3" 290 pounds)

Francois worked out for the Chiefs on March 17th in Louisiana.  He's got the beginnings of the size needed for a 3-4 defensive tackle but as a likely mid-round pick (3rd-5th round), I don't see him being ready to start at defensive tackle to start the season.

Fili Moala (USC DT 6'4" 303 pounds)

Of all the prospects that we know the Chiefs have shown an interest in, Moala appears to be the most likely to be able to start opening day.  He's been compared to the Patriots' Vince Wilfork and is related to Ravens tackle Haloti Ngata.  Still, he was a junior college transfer because of academic problems coming out of high school which isn't the best pedigree for a tackle to start as a rookie. 

Sammie Lee Hill (Stillman DE/DT 6'4" 329 pounds)

Hill has the most NFL ready size out of all the prospects the Chiefs have scouted for tackle.  Unfortunately, we're not sure how his skills will translate to the NFL since his competition were all from small schools.

Sen'Derrick Marks (Auburn DT 6'1", 295 pounds)

I don't know a whole lot about Marks, except for his statistics which declined this year.  He's only a junior so I don't like the chances of someone as young as him starting immediately.  The knocks on him include lacking the "bulk and strength to handle anchoring against the double team" which doesn't scream opening day starter to me.


Since free agency is all but over as far as impact players go, I'm throwing my hat in the ring for Dorsey as the starter at nose tackle come the first week of September.  With the exception of B.J. Raji and possibly his teammate Ron Brace, both of which I don't think are on the Chiefs radar, I don't see any lineman in the 2009 NFL Draft starting as a 3-4 nose tackle the first week of the season.

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