Remember Justin March? Of course you do. He’s the Kansas City Chiefs linebacker we’ve talked more about than any other that hasn’t seen a snap in a regular season game.
March was an undrafted free agent last year out of Akron. One of those players you notice a couple times and then don’t think much about as roster cuts come.
March, however, was very noticeable. During camp last year he stood out among the veterans and even earned some first team reps. That’s impressive. Andy Reid, John Dorsey and others noticed.
Unfortunately, a knee injury ended his season early. I was very disappointed to see that because it felt like we were on the verge of seeing a young breakout star.
After a year of rehab in which March says wasn't as hard as he figured it would be - a credit to the Chiefs trainers - the Chiefs LB is back and in the fold this offseason.
“It’s been great,” March told reporters via quotes from the Chiefs. “The injury was last year, so I put it behind me. (Chiefs trainer) Rick (Burkholder) and those guys, they did a great job in the training room, helped me with everything I needed. With just that, that’s in the past – I’m just looking forward. So it’s been great.”
March says he's healthy now. He doesn't feel any pain. Reporters at OTAs and minicamp have noticed that and called out his efforts, especially his pass coverage.
“In college, I did a lot of it in college," March said of his impressive pass coverage. “Being man-on-man on tight ends, playing out in space, I played a SAM linebacker in the 4-3, so I was outside always in space. I’m kind of comfortable with that.”
Kinda like a certain linebacker I know — Derrick Johnson. Pass coverage is a way to get onto the field because more than half the downs these days are passing downs. DJ has a lot of flexibility when it comes to pass coverage too.
March, by the way, referenced DJ's name three times in his interview.
“So March, very, very intelligent and instinctive,” Andy Reid said a couple weeks ago "You look at him and you go, he’s not the biggest guy but he’s a good football player. We didn’t get a chance to see enough of him last year but from what we have seen, we felt that way then so we’re giving him some reps here to just see what he’s about and we’ll continue to do that.”
March said he uses his size - only 5'11 and 238 pounds - as an advantage in shedding blocks. But at which inside linebacker position will he be shedding blocks? Is he the next DJ or the next Josh Mauga?
"I believe that I can do either one of them,” March said. “Wherever Coach and those guys need me, I’m ready to go.”
“I think he can play either side,” Reid said. “He’s a very powerful kid with tremendous strength, so I think he can do either side.”
It would be a boon if the Chiefs found an undrafted free agent who can back up both inside linebacker positions. I say that because the Chiefs have drafted a few of those inside linebackers who, so far, have not worked out.