Chiefs

The Chiefs need a defensive lineman. Here are the best available in the NFL Draft

Vita Vea out of Washington is Terez A. Paylor's top defensive lineman prospect in this year's draft.
Vita Vea out of Washington is Terez A. Paylor's top defensive lineman prospect in this year's draft. Tacoma News-Tribune

Included in measurables are height, weight and 40-yard-dash time. Grades and rankings are based on film study and proprietary reporting. Grades are intended to convey a general sense of the draftee’s value and where he might be selected.

Chiefs’ need at the position: High. The Chiefs let their best interior run stopper, Bennie Logan, walk this offseason due to injury concerns, leaving Chris Jones, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, Allen Bailey, Jarvis Jenkins and newly signed nose tackle Xavier Williams as their top guys for 2018. Problem is, Nunez-Roches, Bailey, Jenkins and Williams are all slated to be free agents after the season.

The Chiefs could really use some young depth here, and quick.

GRADING SCALE

7.5-7.1: Top 10 pick

7.0: 11-20

6.9: 21-32

6.8: Top half of the second

6.7: Bottom half of the second

6.6: Top half of the third

6.5: Bottom half of the third

6.4: Fourth-round pick

6.3: Fifth-round pick

6.2: Sixth-round pick

6.1: Seventh-round pick

6.0: Priority free agent

5.9: Nonprospect

Top 10 rankings

1. VITA VEA, Washington

Measurables: 6-4, 347, 5.1

Bio: Two-year starter who had 43 tackles (5 1/2 for loss), 3 1/2 sacks and four pass deflections in 12 games in 2017. Declared after true junior season.

Consensus: Massive nose with outstanding strength, strong hands, scheme versatility (strong enough to two-gap and quick enough to one-gap). Better athleticism than you’d expect for his size but needs to work on his stamina and initial quickness so he can affect the game on an every-down basis in the NFL.

Grade: 7.0

2. Da’RON PAYNE, Alabama

Measurables: 6-2, 311, 4.95

Bio: Two-year starter who had 53 tackles (one for loss), one sack, three pass deflections and one fumble recovery in 14 games in 2017. Declared after true junior season.

Consensus: Plus athlete with a powerfully built frame, terrific strength (particularly in the run game) and excellent motor who can be counted on to help early; despite his lack of initial quickness and pass-rush production in 2017, he has the long arms and strength to become a good rusher.

Grade: 7.0

3. TAVEN BRYAN, Florida

Measurables: 6-4, 291, 4.98

Bio: One-year starter who had 37 tackles (six for loss) and four sacks in 10 games in 2017. Declared after redshirt junior season.

Consensus: Has the raw tools to be a Pro Bowler; boasts really good quickness and athleticism for his size but needs to improve his awareness, stop playing so high, shed blocks better and get stronger — he’s on the ground a little more than you’d like.

Grade: 6.9

4. MAURICE HURST JR., Michigan

Measurables: 6-2, 282, 4.98

Bio: Two-year starter who had 59 tackles (13 for loss), 5 1/2 sacks, two pass deflections and one forced fumble in 13 games in 2017.

Consensus: Undersized, disruptive, super-productive gap-shooter who used his outstanding quickness off the ball to compensate against bigger blockers; draft stock took a hit due to a heart condition that became public at the NFL Combine.

Grade: 6.8

5. HARRISON PHILLIPS, Stanford

Measurables: 6-4, 307, 5.21

Bio: Two-year starter who had 98 tackles (17 for loss), 7 1/2 sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in 14 games in 2017.

Consensus: Powerful guy whose tremendous production and run-stopping chops should help him compensate for his average athleticism and quickness, though the latter might still limit his pass-rush upside in the NFL if he doesn’t find ways to compensate for it.

Grade: 6.8

6. NATHAN SHEPHERD, Fort Hays State

Measurables:
6-5, 315, 5.09

Bio: Three-year starter who had 38 tackles (12 1/2 for loss) and four sacks in 12 games in 2017.

Consensus: Has Pro Bowl-caliber tools; boasts good strength and initial quickness and is a hard worker who plays with good effort but might need a year (at least) to acclimate to the speed of the NFL, shed blocks better and learn how to use his immense tools to win with technique.

Grade: 6.6

7. TIM SETTLE, Virginia Tech

Measurables: 6-3, 335, 5.37

Bio: One-year starter who had 36 tackles (12 1/2 for loss), four sacks and one pass deflection in 12 games in 2017. Declared after redshirt junior season.

Consensus: Massive, powerful run-stopper who plays hard, fires off the ball and shows impressive initial quickness for his size. He needs to work on his pass-rush sophistication and overall technique (so he can stay upright) and improve his body/stamina.

Grade: 6.6

8. B.J. HILL, North Carolina State

Measurables: 6-4, 315, 4.99

Bio: Four-year starter who had 55 tackles (3 1/2 for loss), two sacks, three pass deflections and one forced fumble in 13 games in 2017.

Consensus: Experienced gap-shooter who chases on the backside and flashed the ability to be disruptive off the snap with his initial quickness. Needs to get stronger — gets stalled on his pass-rush too often and moved on the double too often.

Grade: 6.5

9. DERRICK NNADI, Florida State

Measurables: 6-1, 299, 5.38

Bio: Three-year starter who had 53 tackles (10 for loss), 3 1/2 sacks, one pass deflection and one forced fumble in 13 games in 2017.

Consensus: Consistent and strong with some initial quickness and pop in his hands; also does a nice job finding the ball against the run, though some will still knock him for his lack of size.

Grade: 6.5

10. DEANRIN SENAT, South Florida

Measurables: 6-0, 314, 5.16

Bio: Two-year starter who had 66 tackles (10 1/2 for loss) and six sacks in 11 games in 2017.

Consensus: Squatty and strong with good quickness; also plays his tail off but can be overwhelmed by bigger men.

Grade: 6.4

Others to watch: Andrew Brown, Virginia; Folorunso Fatukasi, Connecticut; P.J. Hall, Sam Houston State; R.J. McIntosh, Miami (Fla.); Kendrick Norton, Miami (Fla.); Breeland Speaks, Mississippi; Kentavius Street, North Carolina State; Trenton Thompson, Georgia

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