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Defensive snap-count observations: Chiefs take a long look at Steven Nelson

Cornerback Steven Nelson played the most snaps of anyone on the team in the Chiefs’ 17-16 preseason loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday, while KeiVarae Russell didn’t appear until the third quarter.
Cornerback Steven Nelson played the most snaps of anyone on the team in the Chiefs’ 17-16 preseason loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday, while KeiVarae Russell didn’t appear until the third quarter. The Associated Press

Here are some observations based on the defensive snap-count data from the Chiefs’ 17-16 preseason loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday. Numbers are provided by the NFL.

Interior line

Rakeem Nunez-Roches — 37 (49 percent)

Chris Jones — 28 (37 percent)

David King — 26 (34 percent)

Nick Williams — 23 (30 percent)

Jimmy Staten — 18 (24 percent)

Dontari Poe — 17 (22 percent)

Allen Bailey — 16 (21 percent)

Jaye Howard — 16 (21 percent)

Niko Davis — 8 (11 percent)

Analysis: Jones, Nunez-Roches and Williams were the second-teamers after the starters — Howard, Pope and Bailey — departed. Jones and Williams were the nickel interior rushers with the second-team. Davis and King each gaught my eye by generating multiple pressures against third-team competition. King, in particular, was very good, racking up a sack and three quarterback hits.

Outside linebacker

Jonathan Massaquoi — 39 (51 percent)

Andy Mulumba — 36 (47 percent)

Dadi Nicolas — 21 (28 percent)

Dezman Moses — 19 (25 percent)

Frank Zombo — 19 (25 percent)

Dee Ford — 19 (25 percent)

Analysis: Ford and Zombo were the first teamers while Moses and Mulumba were the second-teamers. Massaquoi and Nicolas — who flashed aggressiveness, burst off the edge and bend around the corner in the fourth quarter — were the third-teamers. I wouldn’t mind seeing Nicolas bump up to second-team in the next game so I can see how he fares against better competition.

Inside linebacker

Justin March — 32 (42 percent)

Tyrell Adams — 21 (28 percent)

Ramik Wilson — 21 (28 percent)

Derrick Johnson — 19 (25 percent)

D.J. Alexander — 13 (17 percent)

Terrance Smith — 5 (7 percent)

Analysis: This was March’s first game in a year, so the Chiefs wanted to take a hard look at him. Ramik Wilson started the game in the base defense next to Derrick Johnson and earned a few second-string reps, as well, at least until D.J. Alexander re-entered the game after suffering a rib contusion on a massive hit he received on a punt.

Cornerback

Steven Nelson — 43 (57 percent)

D.J. White — 37 (49 percent)

Marcus Cooper — 36 (47 percent)

KeiVarae Russell — 32 (42 percent)

Marcus Peters — 19 (25 percent)

Deveron Carr — 15 (20 percent)

Bryce Cheek — 15 (20 percent)

Malcolm Jackson — 6 (8 percent)

Analysis: Nelson started the game and earned the most reps on the team, which is an indication of the club’s desire to take a closer look at him. Russell, a third-rounder this year, has been consistently getting second-team reps throughout camp but he didn’t appear until the third quarter (with the third stringers) because of the team’s desire to see what Nelson can do. White, a sixth-rounder, earned reps in the second quarter because he’s the second-teamer a nickel corner, while Russell — who is primarily an outside corner — is a third-teamer there. Cooper earned first-string reps on the outside in nickel and second-string reps on the outside in the base.

Safety

Eric Murray — 36 (47 percent)

Jamell Fleming — 29 (38 percent)

Shak Randolph — 21 (28 percent)

Stevie Brown — 20 (26 percent)

Ron Parker — 20 (26 percent)

Jeron Johnson — 19 (25 percent)

Daniel Sorensen — 19 (25 percent)

Akeem Davis — 17 (22 percent)

Analysis: Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton loves to use a safety as a nickel linebacker in certain situations. Daniel Sorensen is the first-string guy, but Stevie Brown — the second-string nickel linebacker — looks the part, at least physically. Before the play begins, it’s tough to differentiate Brown (5-11, 215) and inside linebacker Justin March (6-0, 220).

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Davis, who has made a play or two during camp, appears to be the third-string nickel linebacker from what I could tell — he spent a ton of time playing there, especially in the fourth quarter — but Johnson also got a few reps there. Randolph — who has shown the ability to cover some tight ends in space in camp — played there in the fourth quarter.

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