The various 2011 NFL mock drafts we see out there often have the Kansas City Chiefs selecting a linebacker at the 21st pick. GM Scott Pioli was asked at a NFL Combine press conference about the 2011 class of defensive ends calling them a "strong group" and says there are players that can help every team in the league.
Occasionally, a 4-3 defensive end, someone in the group Pioli referenced, will turn into a 3-4 outside linebacker. When that's the case, these workouts become even more important since there's not much tape.
At his press conference on Saturday, talking about defensive ends and linebackers, Pioli mentioned the ability to drop into coverage as another important part of the switch.
"Some of those guys, that are defensive ends, have had their hand in the dirt so to speak, you haven't seen them drop.....
"This is when it's a critical time to work those players out. Not that you're going to know every detail of them being able to drop into coverage, but you have to be able to look at them and see what their physical skills are when you work them out on campus or here, but then there's also this other part that you can't really tell until you see it, if he's on your football team, whether he has the awareness, the spatial awareness, as a coverage guy.
"There are guys who can do both things right now."
I'm not sure we can read a whole lot into his words. It's much, much harder to predict Pioli's move because there are so many more options, and so many more things that can happen with the 21st pick rather than the third or fifth pick. Even he doesn't know how the draft will go.
That said, it's important to note that he likes this class. Maybe a deep defensive end class will give the Chiefs the best value at No. 21.