We haven't heard a whole lot about the Chiefs and outside linebackers leading up to the April 22nd draft. I'm sure they're on the minds of the Chiefs brass but for some reason they aren't one of the main attractions like safety.
That's probably because with Tamba Hali and Mike Vrabel, 2010 is pretty much set at outside linebacker. Sure, you need depth but Hali and Vrabel are the starters heading into the season without question.
That said, the Chiefs have expressed some interest in TCU DE/LB Jerry Hughes.
"It was good," Hughes recently told Nick Wright of 610 Sports about talking with the Chiefs at the Combine. "It was just talking with the coaches and they were asking me questions about how I feel about playing the outside linebacker position. Then they were just picking my brain on my football skills."
He played defensive end at TCU, a position he's admittedly more comfortable at.
"I played defensive end for four years so I'd have to say I'm more comfortable playing that position just because I've played that before," he said.
That doesn't mean the 6'2", 255 pounder isn't ready to make the transition to linebacker, which is what he expects if a 3-4 team drafts him.
"At the same time," he said, "I'm confident in my ability that I can play linebacker as well. So all I have to do is get it from the coaches, make that adjustment and I"ll be good to go."
It sounds like Hughes is rated as an early second round pick. The Chiefs of course could have a shot at him with the 36th overall pick. Somehow, though, I don't see them using an early pick on a pass rusher because the impact in year one would be minimal with Hali and Vrabel already manning the outside.
I've previously expressed some concern about taking a defensive-end-turned-linebacker with a significant pick like a second rounder. There's no guarantees when you do it because you're asking the player to go from playing with his hand on the ground to standing up.
That said, I feel more confident in the abilities of the Chiefs coaches considering Hali made a similar transition quite successfully.