Without a doubt, nose tackle is one of the most important positions in the 3-4 defense. There has been a lot of discussion as to who might be playing this position for the Chiefs should they decide to pursue this defensive scheme. I figured I would make a post discussing some possibilities so we can discuss it in the comments.
Scott Pioli will probably be looking for a tackle similar in size to NE Patriots NT Vince Wilfork. Keep in mind Wilfork is 6-2 and 325 pounds... this is what I will use for my basis in naming candidates.
Possible Draft Prospects:
DT B.J. Raji, Boston College. 6-2 337 lbs. (Round 1)*
DT Dorell Scott, Clemson, 6-3 312 lbs. (Round 3)
DT Sammie Lee Hill, Stillman College. 6-4 329 lbs. (Rounds 5-6)*
DT Chris Baker, Hampton. 6-2 326 lbs. (Round 6)
Round 7 and UDFA Prospects (Probably unlikely to be immediate starters)
*Denotes player on AP's Chiefs Draft Interests Page
Analysis: With B.J. Raji testing positive at the NFL combine, it's unlikely we will draft him at #3 overall. Dorell Scott is a little light to play NT, but is a solid prospect that could be an upgrade over anything we currently have. Sammie Lee Hill has had a private workout with the Chiefs and by all means has the size and potential to become a great late-round pickup at nose tackle. Chris Baker has not worked out with the Chiefs, but definitely has the size to be a NT. He is still a junior though and would probably benefit from another year in college. None of the 7th round or later prospects seem to be possible immediate starters, but you can click the link above and make your own judgements.
DT's on the Chiefs roster with significant starting experience:
Glenn Dorsey, 6-1 297 lbs. (23 years old, 1 yr experience)
Ron Edwards, 6-3 315 lbs. (29 years old, 8 yrs experience)
Tank Tyler, 6-2 306 lbs. (24 years old, 2 yrs experience)
Analysis: By no means does Glenn Dorsey have the size to be the kind of tackle Scott Pioli is looking for. He will have to get by on skill alone. Personally, I think he would be better suited for DE, but lets not start that discussion here. Ron Edwards is by far the best candidate for NT. He has adequate size and does get some push on the line (1 sack as backup in 2008, 3 sacks as starter in 2007, 2.5 sacks as starter in 2006, according to NFL.com).
Chiefs players with starting experience that are big enough to play NT:
Damion McIntosh, 6-4 328 lbs. (32 years old, 9 yrs experience)
Analysis: This was obviously posted in a kind-of-joking way, although it's hard to deny that McIntosh has perfect size to be a nose tackle in the NFL. He does have significant professional starting experience on the line, and knows how to get physical when he needs to. Not to mention we probably won't need him on the O-line and are still paying him left tackle money. Please do not knock this post just because of this paragraph, I honestly was joking when I started it... but it does make you think a little.
Possible (but unlikely) trade prospect:
Shaun Rogers, 6-4 350 lbs. (30 years old, Cleveland Browns)
Analysis: Word on the street is that Rogers wants out of Cleveland. Word on the street is also that Cleveland is not planning on trading Rogers. The Chiefs don't have anything to trade for Rogers, either. Some of you will say Tony G since they recently traded Kellen Winslow, but lets be honest here: why would they trade away a younger elite TE and then trade for a TE almost at the end of his career? Keep in mind they also drafted Mizzou's TE Martin Rucker next year, who by all means may end up being a great starter for them this year. The only reason I included Shaun Rogers on this post was because I knew there would be one person saying "let's trade for Shaun Rogers!"
Final thoughts: Sammie Lee Hill is probably our best draft prospect right now. He'd be a late round pick up with obvious NT size and endless potential. He's also not a pothead. If we decide not to draft, Ron Edwards probably has the best natural ability to be our nose tackle. Damion McIntosh is intriguing, but seriously... it was a joke. Discuss your thoughts in the comments below.