The 2008 NFL Draft was the best that it’s ever been in my lifetime. Of course this is my own personal opinion. I watched the entire draft on television for two days, while sitting in front of my laptop performing the necessary research of all of the draft picks. The fact that the Kansas City Chiefs drafted defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, from Louisiana State University, alone makes this draft the greatest ever. Remember “Defense Wins Championships?” Well, the Chiefs have officially begun to create that defense that will win that Championship. By drafting Glen Dorsey we now have the foundation that is needed to possess a championship defense. Not to mention an intimidating defense. As a continuing student of the game of football, I have always been taught that you build a defense beginning with the defensive line. And the same is true for the offense. More importantly, the defense needs to possess an aggressive spirit. A spirit like hmmm… Derrick Thomas, for example. I would define his aggressive spirit as the following: a talent that can disrupt an offense. A force that can make an opponent question himself, and a strength that can run through the double team. And last, but not least, a PASSION that is extraordinary. That was D.T., and that will be G.D.
From 1989 to 1994 (with the exception of 1993), the Chiefs averaged about ten picks per draft. In 1989, when the Chiefs had 13 picks, they drafted the best defensive player in the draft. His name was Derrick Thomas out of Alabama. Last year the Chiefs drafted two defensive tackles, Turk McBride (2nd Round) and DeMarcus “Tank” Tyler (3rd Round), who have the potential to provide the Chiefs with a big and powerful interior D-Line. It was no secret that the previous interior, which consisted of Ron Edwards and Alphonso Boone, couldn’t get the job done. The 2008 draft also indicated that the Chiefs have learned from the past not to invest in just any defensive tackle like they did in 2004 by drafting Junior Siavii out of Oregon. He was a big, big disappointment.
Since 2005 the Chiefs have drafted for the future on the defensive side of the ball, and DT Glenn Dorsey and CB Brandon Flowers provide the finishing touches. In the past four years the Chiefs have acquired OLB Derrick Johnson, who was the Chiefs 2nd leading tackler with 83 tackles last season (Donnie Edward, OLB, was the leading tackler with 85 tackles). DE Tamba Hali, who had 7.5 sacks last season. SS Bernard Pollard, who was the Chiefs 4th leading tackler with 74 tackles, and he had two interceptions, a forced fumble, and a safety. FS Jarrad Page, who had three interceptions and a forced fumble. Not to mention that Page also had a couple of game winning interceptions against the Raiders. That’s a total of eight defensive starters that the Chiefs have drafted since 2005 (including 2008). The remaining three starters are experienced free agents, Donnie Edwards, DeMorrio Williams, and Napoleon Harris, that can help tutor the youngsters on how to make the transition to the NFL style of play. Those three veterans combine for a total of 245 tackles, four interceptions, and 3.5 sacks last season.
I would like to illustrate the importance of a solid D-Line. The defensive line is the first line of defense, which means that it all starts here! When stopping the run the defensive line dictates where the running back can run. Despite the blocking schemes, a good defensive line can disrupt any offense. They also have the ability to set up the other players on defense to make big plays. If you can’t run the ball, then you can’t set your opponent up for the pass. Which bring us to the pass defense? There’s an old saying about a good pass rush from the D-Line, “Pressure Busts Pipes.” That means if the D-Line can put enough pressure on the quarterback, then something bad will happen in favor of the defense, such as an interception, a sack, a fumble, etc. In other words, pressure applied results into turnovers or tackles for a loss of yardage. If you have a good defensive line then it puts the linebackers in a position to “roam” every now and then. In addition to this, a good defensive line will create interceptions for the defensive backs. The cornerbacks don’t have to run around chasing wide receivers for more than five seconds. The defensive line is an integral part of all of the great defenses of the NFL. I see the potential in Tamba Hali, Tank Tyler, Turk McBride, and Glenn Dorsey (ALL UNDER 25 YRS.) of becoming one of the greatest defensive lines in NFL history.
Let’s not forget that the Chiefs also drafted a cornerback named Brandon Flowers, from Virginia Tech, and a defensive end named Brian Johnston out of Gardner-Webb. Flowers is a godsend to a team that is getting old at the corner position. By the way, he is an immediate starter! Oh how wonderful it will be to watch the pressure of Tamba Hali and Glenn Dorsey lead to an interception from Flowers or Patrick Surtain. And for those who think that Surtain is over the hill, I beg to differ. His work ethic is outstanding, and he is due to make $5,650,000 in 2008, so I expect big things from him. Probably the most exciting duo of the Chiefs defense right now is SS Bernard Pollard and FS Jarrad Page. This combination gives the Chiefs the potential to have one of the most exciting defensive backfields in football.
In conclusion, the Chiefs, since 2005, have made great strides to improve the defensive side of the ball with young and talented players. I never thought that I would say this, but the loss of Jared Allen has made us a better team. Furthermore, the Chiefs were able to obtain the aggressive spirit that was so much apart of Derrick Thomas. Jared Allen has it, and so does Glenn Dorsey. He will have other starters that will follow him to Hawaii at the end of each season. There is a new acronym in Kansas City, Missouri. It used to be D.T., and now it’s G.D.
P.S. My next article will cover a hand full of draft picks that will have an immediate impact on their new team. In addition to this article, I am working on another article about the Chiefs back-ups on defense! God Bless!