clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Justin Houston likes what he sees in rookie linebacker Breeland Speaks

The Chiefs announced they officially signed Speaks on Thursday afternoon.

The Kansas City Chiefs have signed rookie linebacker Breeland Speaks, the team announced via its official Twitter account Thursday afternoon.

The Chiefs selected Speaks, 22, in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft with the No. 46 overall pick. Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said he made the selection because he wanted to leave the draft with “someone who could affect the passer.”

The Chiefs think they have that in Speaks.

“I love his effort,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said of Speaks after day three of Chiefs OTAs Thursday. “He’s got some natural ability. He has a good feel for things and then he’s coming out working hard.”

Right after the Chiefs drafted Speaks, Reid compared him to longtime Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali.

“The way he used his hands—that combination of things, it was really something,” Reid said. “Brett did all the studies on him and you get comparisons to people, so similar to Tamba and his measurements, testing, all these things.”

Just as Hali did in 2009, Speaks is in the process of transitioning from defensive end, which he played at Ole Miss, to outside linebacker.

And so far, so good through three days, according to Justin Houston.

“I think he’s very smart,” Houston said of Speaks. “He’s a D-end, and [to come] in and learn outside linebacker, a lot of guys you see in the NFL struggle switching from a D-end to outside linebacker, but he’s picking up the defense fine.”

Speaks actually discussed the process of learning the defensive playbook at rookie minicamp earlier this month.

“My first reaction had to be, I could do this,” he said. “I looked at a few defenses that we install for the day and pretty much went over those and know those by heart already. Feeling pretty good about the playbook so far.”

That has translated to the field through the first three days of OTAs, as confirmed by one of the NFL’s best at the outside linebacker position.

“He’s looked good in coverage,” Houston added. “I think he’s going to help us a lot.”

The Chiefs have now signed Speaks, fourth-round safety Armani Watts and sixth-rounders Tremon Smith and Kahlil McKenzie. Of their six draft picks, third-rounders Derrick Nnadi and Dorian O’Daniel remain unsigned.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Arrowhead Pride Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Kansas City Chiefs news from Arrowhead Pride