Countdown to Camp: A Look At The Defensive Line

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May 6, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Tanoh Kpassagnon (92) speaks to media during the rookie mini camp at the University of Kansas Hospital Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
May 6, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Tanoh Kpassagnon (92) speaks to media during the rookie mini camp at the University of Kansas Hospital Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The countdown to Chiefs camp begins now. Over the next two weeks, cover32 Chiefs will have in depth analysis at every position heading into training camp. Jake Schyvinck and Braden Holecek dive into every battle and roster spot up for grabs.

Dontari Poe’s exit leaves the Chiefs with a gaping hole in the middle of the defensive line. A smart offseason move may fix that with the addition of Bennie Logan. The trenches are no doubt a key part to success in the NFL, and many players in the trenches do not get enough credit. Besides Logan, the defensive line is filled with questions and youth.

Last season, the Chiefs young defensive lineman were learning on the fly in big games late in the season. Injuries to Jaye Howard and Allen Bailey forced the Chiefs to bring in players from either their practice squad or other team’s’ practice squad. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton is aggressive and innovative enough to make sure the Chiefs defensive line will be ready to go by the beginning of the season.


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The Starters

Bennie Logan: The Chiefs signing of Logan is still one of the more underrated moves of the NFL offseason. While with the Philadelphia Eagles for four seasons, Logan continued to improve every year. Logan can move impressively well for his size, and plays both the run and pass well. Logan will not have much competition going into camp at the defensive tackle position. The Chiefs signed him to be a cog in the middle of the defense, and he could be one of the top defensive tackles in the AFC by season’s end.

Rakeem Nunez-Roches: Nunez-Roches was drafted in 2015, but really came on strong for the Chiefs late last season. His quickness and angles to the football are something special and something fans could see a lot more this season. Nunez-Roches could be a versatile player for the Chiefs in the future.

Chris Jones: Jones had a decent rookie season last year for the Chiefs. Coming out of Mississippi State, Jones’ fundamentals needed a little bit of work compared to some of the other recent draft picks by Kansas City. But, Jones drive and effort is there every play and his energy helps the defense to make plays. Jones has a high ceiling and has great build for a defensive end.

Role Players

The players that will provide depth for the defensive line are young and mostly unknown. Allen Bailey has been with the Chiefs for six seasons now, but with an injury history how much can the Chiefs get out of him? When healthy, Bailey can provide instant pressure against the pass.

Tanoh Kpassagnon was drafted by the Chiefs this spring out of Villanova. Kpassagnon is similar to Chris Jones with lacking fundamentals, but that can easily be fixed. What Kpassagnon provides is aggressiveness and quickness.

The rest of the depth chart is filled with players who have bounced around on different teams practice squads. David King has been on the Chiefs practice squad the last couple of seasons after spending time on the Seattle Seahawks practice squad. King has played in ten games in his career, with three of those being in a Chiefs uniform. Others like Cam Thomas and Jarvis Jenkins were formerly with San Francisco before coming to Kansas City. They have an opportunity, but no guarantees going into training camp.

Kansas City can set themselves up well for the next few years with most of these players on the defensive line. On defense, it’s all about getting after the quarterback and these guys have the speed and strength to consistently do that. These players have nothing to lose and that atmosphere could create some great competition for the defense going into the season.

Braden Holecek is a writer for cover32 Chiefs. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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