The Chiefs didn’t address a leaky run defense during the first two days of the NFL Draft. That changed Saturday when the Chiefs selected Georgia linebacker Ramik Wilson in the fourth round with the No. 118 overall selection.
He’ll play inside for a defense that ranked 28th in the NFL last season, allowing 127.3 rushing yards per game, and 30th with a 4.7-yard average per carry.
“He’s big, he’s fast and he can run and hit,” Chiefs assistant director of college scouting Dom Green said. “Those are the things that jump out at you on tape when you’re watching him.”
Wilson’s production matches that assessment. He led the Southeastern Conference with 133 tackles as a junior and, under first-year defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, racked up another 110 tackles as a senior.
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“He did a nice job of picking up their new defense and getting in there and making plays,” said Green, who was particularly impressed with Wilson’s 19-tackle performance against Georgia Tech.
Wilson was used in Georgia’s base and nickel packages, but came off the field in dime situations. Green believes he has the coverage skills to be a three-down linebacker for the Chiefs.
“No question,” Green said. “At his pro day, he ran a 4.62-(second 40-yard dash) … and I think he weighs around 238-239 (pounds). I definitely think he can run with the tight ends down the field.”
Wilson said he knew the Chiefs were interested in him, because they’d stayed in communication with inside linebackers coach Mike Ekeler.
Now, he’s thrilled to reunite with a growing number of Georgia players on the Chiefs’ roster, including third-round pick Chris Conley and quarterback Aaron Murray, a fifth-round pick last year. The list also includes All-Pro outside linebacker Justin Houston.
“I know him pretty well,” Wilson said of Houston, who led the NFL with 22 sacks last season. “He always comes back after the season. He rehabs in Georgia and sometimes he works out. We got the opportunity to talk a lot.”
Wilson also indicated that he admires Derrick Johnson, an incumbent starter inside linebacker who is returning from a torn Achilles’ suffered in the 2014 season opener.
“It’s going to be great,” Wilson said. “He’s a Pro Bowler, great teammate, great team leader. I think he’s perfect for someone to learn under, and I can’t wait to work with him.”
In other picks, the Chiefs selected cornerback Marcus Peters in the first round with the 18th overall pick Thursday.
On Friday, they picked Missouri guard Mitch Morse in the second round (49th overall), Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley with the 12th pick in the third round (76th overall) after trading a sixth-round pick to Minnesota, and Oregon State cornerback Steven Nelson with the 34th pick in the third round (98th overall).
On Saturday, they drafted Oregon State linebacker D.J. Alexander and Illinois State tight end James O’Shaughnessy with back-to-back compensation picks in the fifth round (172nd and 173rd overall) and Southern Miss defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches in sixth round (217th overall). With their final pick, in the seventh round, they drafted Northern Illinois receiver Da’Ron Brown (233rd overall).
Chiefs’ fourth-round pick
▪ WHO: Inside linebacker Ramik Wilson
▪ PICK: Round four (118th overall)
▪ SCHOOL: Georgia
▪ HEIGHT: 6-2
▪ WEIGHT: 237 pounds
▪ COMBINE STATS: 33-inch arms. 10 5/8-inch hands. 4.77-second 40-yard dash. 23 bench reps. 35-inch vertical. 111-inch broad jump. 4.51-second three-cone drill.
▪ HOW HE FITS: The Chiefs need numbers at inside linebacker, and Wilson was a productive three-year starter who led the SEC in tackles in 2013. He’ll immediately compete for a spot on special teams and for a reserve role behind Derrick Johnson and Josh Mauga.