KANSAS CITY, MO. – For the Chiefs, the total sack dropped from 45 in 2019 to 32 in 2020.
Kansas City had to create more pressure with lightning through the linebackers and secondary.
The loss of Emmanuel Ogbah was evident throughout the season, particularly after the loss of Taco Charlton. The Chiefs didn’t have a steady wave of pass rushers to mate with Frank Clark, Chris Jones, and Tershawn Wharton.
Brett Veach, general manager of the chief, will likely be in the market to get a strong footer across from Clark, to stay ahead and beat one-on-one on pass-downs when the opportunity arises.
The defensive end market has some of the top players injured, with some outstanding performances achieved in contract years.
Romeo Okwara, lions
Height: 6’4 “, Weight: 263, Age: 25
Okwara is built very similar to Taco Charlton, but it packs a punch as a pass rusher. It’s very sporty on the edge and has one of the best corners on the market. He’s a solid bull rusher, but his depth and rift can be downright deadly. He is an energetic edge breaker and tirelessly chases the ball carrier. Okwara is able to rush from either side, but going against the right device looks more natural to him. He has a little problem in his hips when changing direction and speeding up, but once turned he gets there quickly.
Trey Hendrickson, saint
Height: 6’4 “, Weight: 270, Age: 26
Hendrickson is an energetic soccer player. It has a sneaky acceleration that offensive linemen sometimes don’t recognize until it’s too late. It has a good dip and rip. Hendrickson is able to convert speed into force with his bull storms. He can spin, grind and execute games with the best. He does a good job reading the fake before tumbling down the scrimmage line. A solid change of direction and a good feel for how to beat the device. Hendrickson’s downside is that he was rushing off the left tackle side and would likely have to play a Leo role that is currently being cast by Frank Clark. Hendrickson shines when he can prove his high energy and acceleration as an edge breaker. He’s likely to get a double digit offer in the market with what he put on tape.
Jadeveon Clowney, titans
Height: 6’5 “, Weight: 255, Age: 28
Clowney is another injured player. In early December, his left meniscus was operated on. The Titans made him read and react too much in their schema while he was a stand-up edge rusher. Clowney is at his best when he can use his speed and strength to attack the field. Before the knee injury, he still had elite acceleration and closing speed. Clowney can still fill a gap with the best and cause massive disruption to the backfield. Medicine will be crucial in getting him a number he’s likely to be looking for in the open market.
Matt Judon, ravens
Height: 6’3 “, Weight: 260, Age: 28
Judon seems more comfortable fighting the right device. It has solid acceleration and good immersion, tearing, and flexing. He could hold the ledge on either side. Judon must have strength to overcome a close finish and hold her own against a duel. He shoots the gap well on games. Judon seems a little hesitant when diagnosing the run in the backfield. However, he does not give up games and is ready to chase the ball carrier even if it is 20 meters behind the field. He will likely get good money in the market and possibly be out of the price range of the role he would take on in Kansas City.
Aldon Smith, cowboys
Height: 6’5 “, Weight: 255, Age: 31
Smith is not the same rusher he had in his prime. He still has good athletic skills and can keep up from the edge to the sideline, but the overwhelming athletic ability hasn’t flashed on tape. He still has a solid bull rush along with a good dip and rip. He is able to hurry from several sides of the line. Smith still has good powers for holding offensive linemen at bay, loosening up, and tackling the line. He could be a good rotary rusher but is unlikely to be a full time starter.
From Miller, Broncos
Height: 6’3 “, Weight: 250, Age: 31
The Broncos will likely make a decision on Miller before the new league year begins. He is not currently a free agent, but the team may decline his option and make him one. The rating is based on prior to his injury last season. Miller is able to rush to the line from either side. Its production is similar regardless of the site. Miller understands every rush in the book and how to properly fight and use your hand. He still has enough athletic skills in his tank to solve problems with the duels. He reads the backcourt well and breaks away from the blocks to try to make a game. He’s not the elite rusher he once was, but he’s still better than what the Chiefs had over Frank Clark last season when Taco Charlton wasn’t there.
Bud Dupree, Steelers
Height: 6’4 “, Weight: 269, Age 28
Dupree has an ACL violation at a less than ideal time. Teams will likely wonder how the injury affected his acceleration and ability to change direction. These are massive parts of his game both in the run and in the pass. Dupree is stronger than expected with long arms. It’s quick around the corner and has a good bathroom too. He falls hard to blow up the ball carrier and can sometimes come a little uncontrollably around the edge. It will be interesting to see what price he gets in the open market. Last season he mainly focused on left tackles.
Solomon Thomas, 49er
Height: 6’2 “, Weight: 280, Age: 25
Thomas has a torn ACL that was suffered last September. He’s a solid run defender with good strength. He has solid athletic skills that are across the board for his size. He can hold the scrimmage line and could probably hold the edge against a right tackle while the game is in progress. Thomas was able to effectively grind, twist, and pull prior to the injury. He shouldn’t break the bank but could provide a good run defender for the Chiefs who could move around the line much like Emmanuel Ogbah.
Olivier Vernon, Browns
Height: 6’2 “, Weight: 262, Age: 30
Vernon had a broken Achilles in week 17. He had lost a step athletically, but was able to make up for it with his strength and overall size. He looked comfortable when he put on the right machine. He is able to use more of a bull rushing power style and keep the edge off his injury. The doctor will be important when he can get back on the field and regain the skills he had before.
The free agency officially starts on Wednesday, March 17th at 3 p.m. Teams can start free agents on Monday at 11am until they can officially sign on Wednesday.