The Kansas City Chiefs have been fairly active in free agency, making four new additions since the legal tampering period first opened up a week ago.
They’ve added key players on both sides of the ball such as OT Jawaan Taylor, DE Charles Omenihu, LB Drue Tranquill and S Mike Edwards. Each player brings something fresh and exciting to the table for Kansas City that will help shape their time with the team.
Here’s a quick look at one of the things to love about each of the team’s newest additions:
Jawaan Taylor: Arm length
In the Chiefs’ search for stability at the offensive tackle spot post-Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, fans have learned a lot about arm length along with Andy Reid and Andy Heck’s historical preferences at the offensive tackle position. Taylor’s 35.25-inch arms are one of the reasons the team targeted him in free agency and his ability to use them to his advantage is quite impressive. It’s also likely one of the reasons that the Chiefs are so confident that he can make the switch to left tackle if necessary.
Jawaan Taylor (naturally) has some things to clean up after his first career start in week 1, but some of the things that made him such an intriguing prospect showed up.
Movement in the run game
Capitalizing on 35 1/8 arms
HEAVY hands pic.twitter.com/sHuJFCJRp0
— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) September 14, 2019
Taylor is good at working guys around the arc using his length, but when combined with that punch, he can really disrupt even the best of pass-rush plans. His length allows for first contact often, which gives him a natural advantage on rushes, helping him from allowing defenders into his chest and keeping them from gaining a power and speed advantage.
Charles Omenihu: Versatility
Omenihu spoke a bit about the positional flexibility that he offers during his introductory press conference. This is not just a player who is going to line up as an edge rusher for Kansas City. He’s found success rushing the passer on plays where he aligned anywhere from 0-technique all the way out to the wide-9. He’s another chess piece that Spags can unleash alongside Chris Jones.
Love the versatility I've seen looking at new #Chiefs DE Charles Omenihu's tape so far. He can really get pressure from any number of spots on the defensive line. Spags and Joe Cullen are going to have a lot of fun with this one. pic.twitter.com/Rcu2rSIIKB
— Charles Goldman (@goldmctNFL) March 20, 2023
Omenihu even evoked Steve Spagnuolo’s past defenses with the New York Giants and how those defensive lines thrived on down-to-down versatility.
“I think (my skillset) fits in pretty good,” Omenihu said. “I remember (Steve Spagnuolo) a lot from the Giants. When he had those four rushers that are almost all defensive ends or defensive tackles. It didn’t matter, he’d put them anywhere. That was a big — I think when I first noticed when guys stood out to me, just Osi Umenyiora, where he would be on the edge and rush inside. Spags kind of put him in that role. He was a first- and second-down starter playing the run and stuff and then he’d rush inside.”
Drue Tranquill: Pass-rush ability
A lot of people will mention Tranquill’s athleticism and coverage ability, but I’m going a different route. No non-defensive lineman in Kansas City last season had more than 3.5 sacks on the year. Tranquill had five sacks and 15 total pressures rushing from the linebacker spot last season according to Pro Football Focus.
Count how long it takes Drue Tranquill to get to the QB. 😳
📺: #DENvsLAC on ESPN
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/mKmqBhcBpH pic.twitter.com/7remn0RBQA
— NFL (@NFL) October 18, 2022
For those who are keeping track, that’s double the sacks of the closest linebacker for the Chiefs last season (Willie Gay). In my mind, this gives Steve Spagnuolo a lot more flexibility in his blitz packages to have a guy who can get home on the blitz that you can leave on the field in both subpackage and base defenses.
Mike Edwards: Ball-hawking
The Chiefs got themselves quite the ballhawk in former Bucs S Mike Edwards. His former teammate, Logan Ryan, gave him a strong endorsement in this area. He also thinks that’s where he’ll flourish in Kansas City and I have to agree.
What an interception from Mike Edwards. pic.twitter.com/J7vMsNbs0B
— Taylor Jenkins (@TJenkinsTampa) September 28, 2020
If we’re talking Madden NFL, Edwards’ play recognition is off the charts. He has an uncanny ability to get in the right position to get after the football. Whether that’s breaking up a pass (21 career passes defended) intended for a receiver or picking it off (seven career interceptions with three pick-sixes), he makes it look natural and easy. With the Chiefs losing their co-interception leader from the 2022 NFL season (Juan Thornhill), adding more ball production through free agency was a no-brainer move for Brett Veach.