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2017 KC Chiefs Roster Analysis - The Defensive Line

 
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KC_Guy


Joined: 07 Jan 2008
Posts: 8925
Location: Brussels, Belgium
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:32 am    Post subject: 2017 KC Chiefs Roster Analysis - The Defensive Line Reply with quote

The little chart below is a depth chart excerpt from the 2017 KC Chiefs Skeleton Depth Chart linked in the database. Throughout the analysis we will use that (continuouslyy updated) chart as a reference point for our considerations.

Color Codes:

black: 2016 player
bold: under contract through 2017 (in italics: status not confirmed)
violet: 2016 Practice Squad player
red: Free Agent
green: Draft Pick
orange: UDFA


DE - Howard, Nunez-Roches
NT - Barnes
DE - Bailey, C. Jones

Other Players: Poe, Jenkins, Reyes, C. Johnson, King

A General Look at the Unit:
This unit is special this year. Ravaged by injuries to both starting DE it was rebuilt on the fly with unproven players fresh from the draft or practice squad and veterans picked up from the street. Another aspect I consider weird: obviously Bob Sutton prefers rotating a full line in and out over an individual player rotation. This may be caused by the relative short time left to the players to adjust to his system - establishing some continuity in terms of formations may speed up the process.

The Guys Under Contract:
Rakeem Nunez-Roches came on from the practice squad. He's got a more than decent motor. He won't be in a position to challenge for a starting job once Howard and Bailey return, but should provide valuable depth for the foreseeable future. I originally considered him a DT, but as far as I remember I saw him at DE more or less exclusively. If he moves inside he might be an option post-Poe.
Chris Jones was a true find in last year's draft. The 2nd rounder probably got more opportunities to show his skills than he hoped for when Bailey and Howard went down, but after some early struggles he took advantage of his chance. It sometimes seems unreal what this man does to the opposing OL. His combination of power, speed and niftiness should bring joy to the Chiefs' DL for the foreseeable future. It will be interesting to see where he will end up positionwise. He might be one of three capable DE, rotating in and out with Howard and Bailey next year, and take over for Howard when his contract expires after the 2017 season. Or he may immediately take over for Poe at the nose, if Poe leaves in free agency.
T.J. Barnes is HUGE: 6'7", 360+ lbs. He just eats up space by his presence. In limited action he did not create those Wow--moments, but he wasn't a liability either. If the Chiefs fail to retain Poe he may be an option to look at for the nose next year.
Jaye Howard and Allen Bailey went to IR halfway through the season. They should be ready for camp and recoup their starting positions in 2017.
Cory Johnson and David King didn't see any action. They'll probably return for the off-season but will have a hard time to make the active roster.

The Guys in Red:
Dontari Poe is the elephant in the room. While he seems to have less direct impact on opposing QBs than we were use to over the past years, he still draws double teams frequently - but no longer holds up against them as he did prior to his back surgery. He's definitely part of the equation why Jones is able to harass whoever holds the ball in the backfield as frequently as he does. The big concern about Poe is his back. He played through some issues there during the first half of the season, and it showed. His future contract may be dependent on a thorough medical examination, and the Chiefs should have much better knowledge than other teams. With this concern about his durability popping up in a contract year Poe may come a bit cheaper than we thought at the end of last year on a probably incentive-laden contract.
Jarvis Jenkins and Kendall Reyes were brought in when Howard and Bailey went down. They proved to be unspectacular albeit solid signings. I wouldn't object keeping them around for the next year on a vet minimum contract as solid depth.

Cap Considerations:
With Howard and Bailey each counting 6.5 M$ against the cap the Chiefs already have invested heavily in the DL. Bringing back Dontari Poe would be nice, but given the cap situation I seriously doubt the Chiefs will be in a position to keep him, if they also retain Eric Berry. They may be able to handle both contracts in 2017, but once the bigger numbers kick in in 2018 they run into issues, especially as then a whole bunch of other players will hit free agency as well. I will discuss the Poe vs. Berry issue in a separate post at the very end of this series, as that decision will shape the better part of the Chiefs' offseason moves. For now I will assume Poe is gone.

Overall Assessment:
A solid unit, that compensated well when two key players went to IR. The addition of some veteran street free agents paid off big dividends, but homegrown talent still forms the nucleus of the line. I like the Chiefs approach to permanently rotate the players to keep them fresh not only during a game, but at a larger scale throughout the season. The depth they built (and maintained even after the injuries) allows for this approach. Maintaining it in 2017 should be one of the overall objectives. The issue for next year will be the NT (if Poe leaves). While I think the Chiefs may have players on the roster to take over, adding through the draft should be considered a must.

Coaching:
Britt Reid just finished his first year as Defensive Line coach after spending the previous three years as Quality Control and Assistant DL coach. I thínk he did well keeping the unit together when injuries struck, so he should be back. I just wonder whether it's not time for him to find another team to avoid being permanently brandmarked as "Andy's son".

2017 DEFENSIVE LINE PROJECTION:

DE - Howard, Nunez-Rochez
NT - Jones, Barnes, mid-round draft pick
DE - Bailey, Reyes or Jenkins
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Last edited by KC_Guy on Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:25 am; edited 2 times in total
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ArrowheadRage58


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm thinking Jaye Howard would be starting NT in base 3-4 (out of our current guys left) if Poe isn't back.
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jimmydee1


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent analysis as usual. My gut tells me Poe is gone, primarily due to his back which I think is worse than we may now. Just a feeling...may be wrong. But I do like or rotational options they stand before the draft.

Good thought on "Andy's" boy as DL coach. Although it seems he has done a very good job.
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KC_Guy


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ArrowheadRage58 wrote:
I'm thinking Jaye Howard would be starting NT in base 3-4 (out of our current guys left) if Poe isn't back.


Definitely an option as well. However, he's only under contract through 2017 - and I'd prefer some continuity at that pivotal position.
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samsel23


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:28 pm    Post subject: Re: 2017 KC Chiefs Roster Analysis - The Defensive Line Reply with quote

Quote:
WR - Howard, Nunez-Rochez
Slot - Jones, Barnes, mid-round draft pick
WR - Bailey, Reyes or Jenkins


That is one big WR core Shocked
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ArrowheadRage58


Joined: 31 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KC_Guy wrote:
ArrowheadRage58 wrote:
I'm thinking Jaye Howard would be starting NT in base 3-4 (out of our current guys left) if Poe isn't back.


Definitely an option as well. However, he's only under contract through 2017 - and I'd prefer some continuity at that pivotal position.


...but shouldn't Chris Jones stay at his better/more natural position at DE?
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KC_Guy


Joined: 07 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:50 pm    Post subject: Re: 2017 KC Chiefs Roster Analysis - The Defensive Line Reply with quote

samsel23 wrote:
Quote:
WR - Howard, Nunez-Rochez
Slot - Jones, Barnes, mid-round draft pick
WR - Bailey, Reyes or Jenkins


That is one big WR core Shocked


With Poe out of the picture I don't think they have a capable QB left --- thus they move on
Twisted Evil
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mayanfootball


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ArrowheadRage58 wrote:
KC_Guy wrote:
ArrowheadRage58 wrote:
I'm thinking Jaye Howard would be starting NT in base 3-4 (out of our current guys left) if Poe isn't back.


Definitely an option as well. However, he's only under contract through 2017 - and I'd prefer some continuity at that pivotal position.


...but shouldn't Chris Jones stay at his better/more natural position at DE?
I tend to agree with ArrowheadRage here. Jones at DE with KC.
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