How have the Chiefs rebuilt this defense?

The Chiefs went on a huge rebuild on the defensive side of the ball, so can Kansas City turn this unit back into prominence?

After the Chiefs’ overtime loss in the AFC Championship Game, it seemed that changes would be in order. Brett Veach made it a priority in the Off-season and NFL Draft as they drafted 7 players on defense, the most out of any team in the draft. The following is a list of the defensive players Kansas City picked.

  • Round 1, Pick No. 21: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
  • Round 1, Pick No. 30: George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
  • Round 2, Pick No. 62: Bryan Cook, S, Cincinnati
  • Round 3, Pick No. 103: Leo Chanel, LB, Wisconsin
  • Round 4, Pick No. 135: Joshua Williams, CB, Fayetteville State
  • Round 7, Pick No. 243: Jaylen Watson, CB, Washington State
  • Round 7, Pick No. 259: Nazeeh Johnson, CB, Marshall

The Chiefs’ biggest need heading into the offseason arguably was defensive end, they had problems with making that position productive in the past two seasons. They were able to restructure Frank Clark’s contract and bring him back. George Karlaftis was the Chiefs’ selection with their second pick in the first round. Kansas City used the UFA tender on Melvin Ingram, who was acquired by the Chiefs via Pittsburgh last season.

The need for depth at cornerback quickly became a larger problem after the start of free agency. Charvarius Ward headed out west after signing with the San Francisco 49ers and Mike Hughes decided to head north, signing with the Detriot Lions. Creating a major hole within the Chiefs’ secondary. After failing to come to terms with a free agent they turned their focus to the NFL Draft. Selecting Trent McDuffie from the University of Washington with their first pick in round one. They would also use three of their last five picks on cornerbacks.

Justin Reid was a huge addition to fill the hole left by Tyrann Mathieu when it seemed like he would be on his way out. Which proved to be true as he signed back where he played college football when he tabbed a three-year deal with the Saints. Bryan Cook was selected in the second round by the Chiefs and it seems like Cook, Reid and Juan Thornhill will rotate snaps at some point this season. Deon Bush will also fight for snaps after signing with the Chiefs after playing his entire carer in Chicago.

The linebacker core seemed to be set in stone with Nick Bolton and Willie Gay. Anthony Hitchen’s contract is now finally off the books and the Chiefs found two promising replacements to fill the void. Jermaine Carter was signed during free agency after playing with the Carolina Panthers in 2021. Kansas City also took a linebacker in the NFL Draft when they selected Leo Chanel from Wisconsin. Chanel might be one of the most athletic linebackers taken in this year’s draft. He will be able to slot in perfectly aside from Bolton and Gay.

This is what Kansas City’s depth chart looks

LDEGeorge KarlaftisMike Danna
LDTDerrick NnadiTershawn Wharton
RDTChris JonesTaylor Stallworth
RDEFrank ClarkJoshua Kaindoh
LBWillie Gay Jr.Leo Chenal
LBNick BoltonJermaine Carter
LCBRashad FentonLonnie Johnson Jr.
SSJustin ReidBryan Cook
FSJuan ThornhillDeon Bush
RCBTrent McDuffieDeandre Baker
SCBL’Jarius SneedDicaprio Bootle

For now, it seems like Brett Veach has done everything in his power to attempt to equip the defense with as many weapons as possible. All of the new additions should be able to make an impact immediately once they arrive in Kansas City.