The Chiefs know that the starting outside linebackers will be Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, so the backup spots will be determined by the play of Gabe Miller, Andy Studebaker and Cameron Sheffield. Two of those three will end up making the squad and Gabe Miller still has practice squad eligibility. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, before Justin Houston emerged as the starting OLB opposite Hali both Studebaker’s and Sheffield’s performance was pedestrian. I have a feeling we will be hearing a lot about Gabe Miller(who will be the focus of the next Jinx’s Sophomore Series).
Dexter Heyman’s name is all over KCCD, justifiably so. He is a unique player that provides a lot of versatility who has the ability to play defense moving in any direction. Most UDFA’s specialize in one area, whether rushing the passer or dropping in coverage, but Dexter can do both while showing very good lateral agility. Inside linebacker does need upgrading opposite Derrick Johnson. The need for depth is critical as well. The closer we get to training camp, the more attention is being paid to Dexter. My boldest pre-camp prediction is that Dexter makes the final 53, but does he replace Greenwood or Siler? Do not be surprised if the Chiefs run 5 deep at IL and 3 deep at OLB. Dexter is also a very productive pass rusher who can play OLB in a pinch.
The second level of the front 7 will have many moving parts. Versatility and ability to contribute to specials will be very important for any player that wants to win a back up role. Cory Greenwood has been a staple for the Chiefs special teams, for him to be unseated someone will have to emerge through camp.
When the Chiefs open training camp their will be new faces that could have resounding impact through the season. Will these new faces be integral parts of the team, though? Most eyes from Chiefs Nation and the national pundits will be focused on Dontari Poe. He will be used in multiple positions in several fronts. The less educated observer will be the first to critique Dontari if he does not pressure the quarterback or break through the offensive line to cause pocket confusion. The more keen analyst will see what Dontari is asked to do and whether or not he executes with the proper technique and leverage.
A story line that deserves attention is the progress of Allen Bailey. Does he make the strides to deserve more base defensive snaps? Bailey never had the best positional coaching in college and with more time under the tutelage of Romeo Crennel and Anthony Pleasant he could see more snaps as his career goes on. If you see Allen in more traditional 5-technique roles through out camp one can assume during preseason games he will get some time there. The Chiefs will need to apply more pressure to the quarterback from different somewhere other than OLB in the base defense, Allen Bailey could be the guy that provides that.
The front 7 has a lot of pressure in developing run stoppers and those who can constrict the quarterback in any defensive front. As with any Romeo Crennel defense those who can play in multiple fronts have a greater chance of showing off their skills during training camp. That will give those players a chance of making the final 53.