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Kansas City Chiefs roster bubble: Searching for pass rushers on the d-line

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Who are the KC Chiefs locks and bubble players on the defensive line? Nick Jacobs (@Jacobs71) gives his take as we await the start of training camp.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Chiefs defensive linemen did not wear pads this offseason so it's difficult to evaluate their performance. The organization needs improvement from this group to enhance the pass rush. The line lacked the ability last year to consistently collapse the pocket on opponents. The hope is that that's changing this year.


Locks to make the roster

Dontari Poe: Headed into just his third season, Poe showed an impressive transition from year one to year two. Poe commanded double teams and remained on the field for a majority of the snaps but he wore down towards the end of the season. His biggest challenges are continuing to add strength and improving his conditioning, especially if he doesn't get more help on the line.

Mike Devito: DeVito spent the offseason altering his diet. He wanted to increase his stamina and become a factor in the pass rush on sub-packages. The eight-year veteran could see time at defensive tackle next to Poe in the sub-packages. DeVito looked slimmer and quicker in individual drills. The recognition that he needs to change his diet shows DeVito's dedication, which the Chiefs hopes increases the pocket collapses this fall.

Mike Catapano: Catapano walked into the offseason program weighing in at 290 pounds. He showed solid pass rush ability early on last season. Catapano, a 2013 seventh round pick, needed time to acclimate to the strength needed in the NFL. He has clearly used his free time this offseason to dramatically improve. Catapano will be an intriguing player to watch during training camp.

Allen Bailey: Bailey was listed at 288 pounds last season but he spent the offseason bulking up and weighs in the 300-pound range now. He has a noticeable increase in size when standing next to Dontari Poe. Bailey is in a unique situation entering the final season of his rookie contract and is still looking to make his mark on this defense. He has been effective at times in sub-packages but hasn't commanded starting snaps. His bulk up this season may get him in the starting line-up.

Vance Walker: The offseason acquisition didn't see a ton of time with the starters this offseason. He started out with the third team and worked his way up to snaps with the ones. Walker provides a unique skill set because he can play multiple positions across the defensive line.  He could potentially be the primary rotation guy to spell players across the line. Walker's biggest adjustment right now is getting comfortable with the system.

On the bubble

Jaye Howard, Kyle Love. Dominique Hamilton, Jermelle Cudjo, Kona Schwenke

The defensive line will be improving from within this season. Where the depth comes from will be the question of this camp.