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Chiefs rookie breakdown: Joshua Kaindoh

Let’s see how the Chiefs’ fourth-round selection fits into the crowded defensive line room.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 18 Delaware State at Florida State Photo by Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Now that the Kansas City Chiefs’ 2021 draft process is complete, it’s time to start evaluating how each player fits into the team’s scheme, how they’ll factor into the 2021 depth chart, and how they project to contribute in the long term. I continue with 2021’s 144th overall selection: Florida State edge defender Joshua Kaindoh.

Team fit

At Kaindoh’s pro day, he was measured to be 6 feet 6 inches tall, 260 pounds and have 34.5-inch arms — all measurables that absolutely fit what Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has historically looked for in defensive ends.

When you watch Kaindoh rush off the edge at Florida State, you can see the raw talent that made him a five-star high school recruit.

His ability to bend at his ankles and tightly turn the corner to penetrate the pocket from behind stands out. He uses his long arms well to disrupt the quarterback if he can’t finish the sack. Besides his pass-rush ability, he has above-average athleticism in general — allowing him to chase down runs from the backside of the play.

When I said he had raw talent, I meant it. First, he doesn’t fly off the ball as much as you’d like to see with his talent. He also doesn’t appear to have any pass-rush moves besides beating the offensive tackle around the arc or attempting a bullrush — which isn’t used much either. If he can’t show any counter pass-rush moves, NFL offensive tackles will sit on that and wash him out past the point where he can impact the pocket.

On top of that, he wasn’t particularly good at beating blocks in the run or taking on a kick-out block effectively. His height became a detriment in those areas; he needs to work on lowering his pad level more consistently.

His success will largely rely on how well the Chiefs can coach him up — but he has the right foundation for a Spagnuolo edge pass-rusher.

How he factors into the 2021 depth chart

Jacksonville State v Florida State Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

That raw talent will likely slot him in as the fourth or fifth defensive end off the bench. Defensive ends Frank Clark, Mike Danna and Taco Charlton should all see the field before he does, plus there is talk that defensive tackle Chris Jones could play on the edge more. Even third-year, former undrafted free agent Tim Ward — who made multiple big plays in Week 17 last season — has reason to play before Kaindoh.

If Kaindoh is to make an impact his rookie season, it will be as an edge pass-rusher in seldom situations — and that’s only if he can learn some counter pass-rush moves. As it stands now, it’s hard to see him on the field in any significant situation. He might have a similar year as Tim Ward’s 2020: a member of the 53-man roster that isn’t active for most games.

Long-term outlook

Jacksonville State v Florida State Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

With four years to find out if Kaindoh can put it all together, there’s time to get the best out of the former five-star recruit. The team took a chance on his impressive traits — and it’s difficult to blame them. It’s harder to teach the things Kaindoh does, and easier to teach the things he doesn’t look comfortable with yet.

Another factor with Kaindoh has been injuries: He has dealt with hamstring issues and an ankle injury in his college career — limiting the number of snaps he had as a college player.

It’s tough to expect a fourth-round player to become more than a solid, situational contributor — and it’s reasonable to see Kaindoh eventually becoming that. It will take a great coaching job by defensive line coach Brendan Daly and Spagnuolo, but Kaindoh has the ceiling to become an exciting player.

Either way, he’s the latest Chiefs’ defensive lineman with an incredible combination of length and athleticism, which is no fun for opposing offensive lines to deal with.

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