KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A changing defensive scheme means the Kansas City Chiefs need interior defensive linemen who are strong with good lateral quickness, players who are solid pass rushers and able to shoot gaps.
The roster currently has one players in that mold in Chris Jones.
Second-year defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi is more of a run defender who occupies blocks and collapses the pocket with his strength.
The Chiefs could use an addition (or two) to bolster the tackle rotation and pass rush.
ADDITIONAL NFL DRAFT COVERAGE
[April 10 — Nick Jacobs: Best running back fits]
[April 11 — Nick Jacobs: Best wide receiver fits]
[April 12 — Nick Jacobs: Best tight end fits]
[April 15 — Nick Jacobs: Best interior offensive line fits]
[April 16 — Nick Jacobs: Best offensive tackle fits]
[April 17 — Nick Jacobs: Best edge rusher fits]
[April 18 — Nick Jacobs: Seven-round Chiefs mock draft, v 1.0]
[Today — Nick Jacobs: best defensive tackle fits]
[April 19 — Nick Jacobs: First-round mock draft]
[April 22 — Nick Jacobs: Best cornerback fits]
BEST CHIEFS DEFENSIVE TACKLE FITS
1. Quinnen Williams, Alabama
Height: 6-3 — Weight: 303 — Bench press: n/a — 10-yard split: 1.69
Williams almost certainly won't fall to the Chiefs, because he's a top-five talent. He is strong with great size, possesses good pass-rushing combinations with his bull rush, swim and rip.
The former Crimson Tide star is a powerful defender who controls the line of scrimmage and commands double teams.
2. Ed Oliver, Houston
Height: 6-2 — Weight: 287 — Bench press: 32 — 10-yard split: n/a
Oliver is an athletic three-technique with excellent quickness and really good size. He has a solid bull rush, great dip-and-rip, is able to splits double teams well and is impressively strong for his build when bull rushing.
Currently, Oliver struggles to hold his ground against double teams, but he has great closing speed for his size. He shouldn't make it past the 15th pick in the first round.
3. Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame
Height: 6-6 — Weight: 295 — Bench press: 23 — 10-yard split: 1.71
Tillery possesses a good blend of size and elusiveness. He is quick on stunts and twists, and also is able to split double teams.
Tillery has a solid bull rush, good rip and smart pull-and-rip. He hustles hard in run support and when rushing the passer.
4. Christian Wilkins, Clemson
Height: 6-3 — Weight: 315 — Bench press: 28 — 10-yard split: 1.76
Wilkins is able to split double teams with a quick first step, power and desire. He projects as a very disruptive one-technique with great size. He lacks top-end explosiveness but makes up for it with his power and lateral area quickness.
Wilkins commanded double teams on most plays and routinely fought through them in college. He is at his best when he is allowed to shoot gaps, but also can perform twists and stunts well.
5. Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State
Height: 6-4 — Weight: 300 — Bench press: n/a — 10-yard split: n/a
Simmons lacks initial pop when he makes contact, but once he starts driving his legs on the bull rush the power quickly shows up. He is a gap-penetrating tackle who can close quickly.
Simmons can hold the line of scrimmage, but will need more strength training to dominate it. He shows good pursuit angles in run support, but likely will like need more violent hands in pass rush. An ACL tear also may limit his early production and push him down draft boards.
6. Khalen Saunders, Western Illinois
Height: 6-0 — Weight: 324 — Bench press: 27 — 10-yard split: 1.73
Saunders has great short-area quickness and lateral movement for his size. He struggles to keep ground again double teams, but can beat one-on-one blocks with both power and finesse.
Technique-wise, Saunders has a good swim, rip and bull rush. He will likely be a one-technique — and a tough one to block once he reaches full NFL strength.
7. Gerald Willis III, Miami
Height: 6-1 — Weight: 302 — Bench press: n/a — 10-yard split: n/a
Willis has great size and good athletic ability to go with it. He shoots the gaps well with his explosiveness and has some power in his punch and bull rush.
An instinctive defensive lineman who can bull rush, rip, swim and spin, Willis can get to the ball carrier in a hurry to make the tackle when left unblocked. He would be very disruptive defensive lineman for the Chiefs.
8. Trysten Hill, Central Florida
Height: 6-2 — Weight: 308 — Bench press: 28 — 10-yard split: 1.74
Hill keeps his pad level low so no offensive linemen get a clear shot at controlling him. He is powerful with a good center of gravity, has a good bull rush and rip.
Hill's feet are always moving, and he doesn’t give up on the play unless he is insanely tired. Hill is a good rusher with some lateral area quickness, explodes through gaps and is very disruptive in the backfield.
Other edge rushers who fit the Chiefs: Dexter Lawrence (Clemson), Dre'mont Jones (Ohio State), Daylon Mack (Texas A&M), Terry Beckner Jr. (Missouri), Kingsley Keke (Texas A&M), Anthony Nelson (Iowa), Michael Dogbe (Temple) and Byron Cowart (Maryland)
Defensive tackle isn't an immediate need for the Chiefs, but it may be worth an early pick for the chance to improve their overall pass rush and run defense with a rotational player who has speed and strength.