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Could Breeland Speaks provide extra juice for defense in 2020?

Oct 7, 2018; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Breeland Speaks (57) points to the crowd after a turnover during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs 2018 top draft pick, Breeland Speaks, has a lot of pressure on his shoulders this year.

In his third year, Speaks has struggled to find his role so far. With many injuries along the way, the young DE has been unable to spend much time on the field and show his skills.

He was planned to have a big role in the defense when drafted by Brett Veach, but could not perform as expected. Brendan Daly, the Chiefs defensive line coach has big expectations for Breeland Speaks this season. The 2019 season was supposed to be a fresh start but he unfortunately suffered a knee injury that ended his season before it even started.

“Breeland has done a nice job in terms of his rehab, in terms of working post-surgery, he’s had some good time in terms of recovery,” Daly told reporters a few days back. “We’ll see. I’ve got high expectations for him. The third year, I’ve found over the course of my career, is a year that guys kind of define themselves in a lot of instances. Hopefully, we’re going to see that out of Breeland. I’ve got great anticipation and hope for what we’re going to see out of him when we can get back on the field.”

In terms of body type, Breeland Speaks is the DE the Chiefs need. He is tough and hard-nosed, has great game vision, and is agile for his size.

At 283 pounds, Speaks was seemingly too small to play a DT or DE and was too large to play an OLB. Indeed, in his first season, Speaks looked out of place, but could bring extra juice to the defense in 2020.

At first sight, Speaks could work at both DE and DT and play in both roles. For Steve Spagnuolo, versatility is always very important and Breeland Speaks could be the versatile piece he needs. Additionally, he fits perfectly in Steve Spagnuolo and Brendan Daly schemes, so the team is putting a lot of hope on him. If he can return to full health and in shape, his potential is huge.

Speaks has a lot to prove in a very small amount of time. He will try to get a spot in the defense among players that performed well last year such as Khalen Saunders, Chris Jones, Mike Pennel, and Derrick Nnadi. On the edge, Frank Clark and Tanoh Kpassagnon are the two names considered for 2020. However, Breeland Speaks faces some stiff competition from Taco Charlton, Mike Danna, and Tim Ward. If he doesn’t perform the way Daly is expecting in year three, he could be replaced by one of those players or worse.

It looks like this new season training camp will be a battlefield for defensive positions.

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