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Evaluating the Chiefs’ biggest defensive need after Emmanuel Ogbah trade

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We discussed just that on the latest edition of the AP Laboratory.

New York Jets v Cleveland Browns Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Chiefs made a smart move this week to acquire EDGE Emmanuel Ogbah from the Cleveland Browns in exchange for veteran safety Eric Murray. They saved more than $600,000 of cap space to add a player that fits the profile of the kind of defensive end that Steve Spagnuolo typically desires. The Chiefs were likely going to cut Murray after his salary escalated to over $2 million next season due to the proven performance escalator.

Slowly but surely, Chiefs GM Brett Veach is adding pieces that fit the vision of the new defensive coordinator. They’ve been able to address positions of need through free agency with players like EDGE Alex Okafor, SAM linebacker Damien Wilson, cornerback Bashaud Breeland and, of course, safety Tyrann Mathieu. With cap flexibility and plenty of draft assets at their disposal, things are starting to shape up. However, they still have plenty of needs to address.

We were asked on this week’s episode of the AP Laboratory what position could use the biggest upgrade at this point in the off-season. If you ask five people, you might get five different answers. There are strong arguments to be made for the cornerback position needing a playmaker. There’s a strong argument for a single high safety type who can patrol the back end of the defense. The Chiefs don’t have a ton of solutions at SAM linebacker.

However, you’ll be surprised at what Matt, Craig and I all think needs the biggest upgrade.

It’s still defensive line.

Veach and company are being creative in how they’re piecing together enough disruption. It’s going to be a team effort to affect the quarterback. They’ll need to lean on Chris Jones to lead the charge and hope that everyone around him can raise their level of production just a little bit. Steve Spagnuolo and Brendan Daly will help play a role in ensuring that players like Okafor, Ogbah and Speaks can be put in positions to help get after the quarterback. If Jones were to get hurt, the Chiefs have a massive problem on their hands. They don’t have someone they can rely on to consistently disrupt at the level he can. The Chiefs would be desperate if they can’t identify another potential impact defensive lineman.

The Chiefs still have an incomplete roster, but EDGE or defensive line continues to make a ton of sense in the first round of the draft. There could still be a solid player like defensive linemen Christian Wilkins, Jerry Tillery, Jeffery Simmons or EDGE Clelin Ferrell available or within striking distance for the Chiefs in the first round. All of those players would help the Chiefs bolster their ability up front, give them more flexibility and potentially another player they can trust consistently.

The defensive front outlook is improving and starting to look more like what Spagnuolo and his staff want. It’s still very fragile and top-heavy with Jones’ impact a necessity. It would be a scary proposition if the Chiefs didn’t address at bare minimum a top-64 pick toward the defensive line. It still makes a ton of sense to look there first in round one, especially with the value in the secondary not looking great where the Chiefs are picking.

KC Draft Guide

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