By any objective measure the Chiefs have improved their secondary this offseason. Safety Tyrann Mathieu alone makes this crew better than its 2018 version. Add in a healthy Armani Watts and the newly drafted Juan Thornhill and the position of safety has gone from total liability to one of the team’s strengths.
The defensive line in Kansas City has also gotten better this offseason by increasing its depth and physicality. Along with returning stud Chris Jones and starting nose tackle Derrick Nnadi the Chiefs have added Alex Okafor, Emmanuel Ogbah, rookie Khalen Saunders, and the man they believe could one day be an NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Frank Clark.
The gaudy sack totals may drop overall from last season. But this group will bring consistent and more varied pressure to the quarterback, be much better against the run, and allow the defensive line to be more aggressive in its substitutions, giving them more potential aggression in play calling.
At linebacker the notable additions are a now fully healthy Jeremiah Attaochu, coming over from the Chargers, and Damien Wilson from the Cowboys. They both have the potential to be fine additions to the Chiefs, but considering the uninspiring play of the entire unit in 2018 – and specifically the abysmal seasons of Reggie Ragland and Anthony Hitchens – it’s hard to get too excited about this level of the Chiefs defense.
Another addition may be coming, however, in the person of Jamie Collins. You may best remember Collins as a Pro Bowl linebacker for the Patriots who won a ring after recording 138 tackles in the regular season and another eight in the Super Bowl. Hopefully you know him less for his two and a half seasons in Cleveland. Although to be fair he was hurt in 2017, and did rebound last year to record over 100 tackles.
Collins is the best of the free agents still unsigned. The Chiefs have money to spare at the moment. Linebacker wasn’t addressed through the draft. (Although keep an eye on undrafted rookie free agent Gary Johnson out of Texas.) And after tomorrow, May 7th, teams can sign veteran free agents without losing any potential compensatory picks – which the Chiefs are likely to have because of the loss of Steven Nelson, and maybe another for Spencer Ware.
So if the Chiefs do desire to add another veteran, the signing of a versatile linebacker like Collins later this week makes the most sense. And for Collins, who turns 30 in October, joining a contending team with a lack of sure tacklers at linebacker also makes good sense.
Stay tuned for Wednesday.