Welcome to "Know Your Chiefs", Vance Walker Edition.
This Chiefs season, a lot of red and gold fans know who @SwaggerVance is. His birth name is Vance Jack Walker and his hobbies include: Eating QB's, and using offensive linemen as thick gauged toothpicks for getting QB's out of his teeth.
The Legend of Swagger Vance, himself.
Which brings us to a philosophical question.... How do you get to know something / someone that you haven't seen? I don't know... but it's not like Vance Walker wasn't in 73 NFL games. It's not like we went back in time and deleted all the tape from his 26 NFL starts. We didn't delete his 8 sacks. We didn't rob and pillage his profootballreference page. Nope, all the footage and stats still exist. I checked, just for you.
What "can" we know about Vance?
We can know that Vance was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the 7th round of the 2009 NFL Draft, 210th overall. We can know that Vance spelled backwards capitalized is: ECNAV. We can now know this information tells us nothing new about, ecnav (even in lower-case.) We can know that Vance Walker once tweeted:
Anybody else desperately miss the 90's— Vance Walker (@SwaggerVance99) April 29, 2014
But that doesn't do anything but make me admit I miss the '90s too, especially that Chiefs "D." Someone should ask his Vanciness of Swaggerize if he misses the '90s because of the Chiefs "D." We "can" potentially know that...
So, what do we "need" to know about Vance Walker?
Chiefs fans need to know that even out of college, Vance Walker was said to be quick off the snap. His NFL.com profile said his strengths were:
Flashes initial quickness off the snap... Locates the football quickly and has the short-area burst to close... Has the upper-body strength and is effective enough with his hands to rip off his man and pressure the quarterback or corral backs in the hole... Short, squatty build with long arms that helps him hold up against double-team blocks and in short-yardage situations due to his natural leverage advantage... Good lower-body strength to push the pocket... Uses his hands to get off blocks up front to get to the ball... Hustles downfield and chases down the line to help his teammates.
Quick off the snap doesn't necessarily equate to speed... It takes the big man approximately five years, four months and four days to fun a forty yard dash. Or 5.44 seconds if your want to be technical and not exaggerate, but where's the fun in that?
Technically, Swagger Vance is supposed to be slow, but his relentless attitude and initial first step has made him a nightmare for the offensive linemen he's faced at every level he's played football. With the Chiefs, Vance will be next to Dontari Poe, Justin Houston, Dee Ford, Mike DeVito, Tamba Hali, Allen Bailey, Mike Catapano and whoever else makes the Chiefs defensive cut in August. He'll be exploding off the line with them, rushing to the kill the QB in synchronized sequence (especially in my insanity.) Ruthless attitude on display for all of us to see. Slow 40 time or not, Vance Walker will quickly make an impact in Kansas City off the line.
At KCChiefs.com in March, Columnist - Reid Ferrin wrote about Vance Walker's "Path to the Chiefs." He showed some pictures, listed some stats...awesome. But I walked away feeling like I still didn't know Vance Walker very well. Don't get me wrong, I learned Vance went to Georgia Tech and that while he was there, he wreaked considerable havoc on offensive lines in college... But I still don't feel like I know how he'll play as a Chief.
Granted, Reid Ferrin talked about Walker's 8 NFL sacks, 11 QB hurries and 19 tackles for loss in his career. But... the only thing he said that sparked my imagination was his final words in the post:
"The former Raider DT will bring his talents to Kansas City, where defensive line coach Tommy Brasher and defensive coordinator Bob Sutton will put Walker in position to hopefully post his greatest season yet as a pro."
One more time, concentrated slightly: "Post his greatest season yet as a pro."
The delusional Chiefs fan in my head perked at this notion. Can the Kansas City defensive coaching staff put Vance Walker in position to have his greatest season as a pro? That seems like a tall order, but this is "Know Your Chiefs." Tall orders with a side of delusion is occasionally what we serve up. Enjoy, AP.
What will the Chiefs serve up on defense with the addition of Vance Walker?
Hopefully wins. We don't know Vance Walker that well yet. We don't claim to be inside the mind of @SwaggerVance (scary and humorous.) We only know and believe that the Chiefs added a quality defensive football player. Perhaps not a super-star. But a player that likes to rip the heads of QB's that believe they're super-stars... and that's good enough for me.
What we do know about Vance is that in the first three seasons of his career, he wasn't very productive. He batted down two passes his rookie season and had some tackles, but didn't light the world on fire... It wasn't until his third season in 2011, that Vance got his first sack. Vance got to the QB twice that season and burnt an entire globe to the ground... The students were really freaked out in the classroom the globe called home.
To know Vance Walker, is to know that Vance Walker is a late bloomer. 2013 was the first season Mr. Walker started more than 10 games in his career. He started 15 and he sacked the QB three times on his way to 40 tackles, the highest total of his career.
Vance Walker is 27 years old, he's young and he's entering the prime of his life. He's not an old 27 either, he just turned 27 in April. In fact, Vance Walker shares a birthday with my nine year old son. Vance Walker is exactly three times older than my son, Brandon... To me, that's cool. To others, that's a skimmable stat. But it gives me something to relate to Vance Walker with... He's an incoming free agent, so we have to look deep for commonalities to build that initial red and gold bond.
These are our Chiefs! They represent Kansas City. I love finding ways to relate to these players and to humanize their actions. Because the Kansas City Chiefs are all humans. People. Just like you and I... only massive versions like Vance Walker and Dontari Poe... or insanely fast like De'Anthony Thomas or Jamaal Charles. It's fun to get to know these guys. It's awesome to realize these Chiefs love your fan support. It helps motivate them. It helps them feel special when they look in the mirror trying to achieve the look of an NFL baller (picture them posing...)
When you think about knowing your Chiefs, like Vance Walker. Always remember the human connection. Remember that this is a man that wants to be accepted in his third American city since leaving Georgia Tech after the 2008 season. Remember this is a Kansas City Chief that will spend beyond hours and hours practicing and studying to prepare to rip-off Peyton Manning's helmet and put him on his ass. Remember this is a player that will do everything he can to please you, the fans of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Remember football is a game. One that the Chiefs want to win. I want to win. I know you want to win... and you can be rest assured that players like @SwaggerVance not only want to win, but want to stand on a pile of opposing QB necks on the way to the top.
Welcome to Kansas City, Vance Walker!