Derrick Johnson Falls to the Chiefs

Once the Detroit Lions shocked the world by drafting wide receiver Mike Williams at the ninth pick, Kansas City fans began dreaming that Texas Linebacker Derrick Johnson would fall to them at the fifteenth pick. But he did and the Chiefs have themselves one of the best players in this draft.

Though they had there hearts and minds set on Georgia Safety, Thomas Davis who went a pick ahead of them to the Carolina Panthers; they have one heck of a steal at #15 by drafting one of the premier college linebackers.

In a shocking development, the Kansas City Chiefs continued their second day of good fortunes. After a bizarre serious of events after the 8th pick, the Chiefs could clearly set their targets on one of two players that felt could make an impact on this defense this year. With the Panthers selecting Thomas Davis a pick earlier at #14, Kansas City had little choice but to take the best available athlete on the board.

Kansas City after trading for cornerback Patrick Surtain on Friday has drafted the one missing link to this defense. They have found a playmaking outside linebacker who has the uncanny ability to make plays anywhere on the field.

But still the Chiefs had to be shocked that he was available at that spot. One person who didn't seem to be upset was Derrick Johnson himself. He had no problems with being drafted in the middle of the first round and he's glad to be in Kansas City.

"I'm a little bit (surprised) but not all that much. You never know what goes on in the draft. I'm just glad I'm off the board," said Johnson.

Like Surtain when he addressed the media earlier this morning; he knows the Chiefs will be counting on him to help their defense right away. He's familiar with the teams' struggles and he's confident that he can help restore the defensive glory of the past.

"It's going to be a defensive comeback mode for us being on the Kansas City Chiefs and I'm ready to be a part of that," said the nations best linebacker. One thing is certain Johnson believes he can start and play either outside linebacker spots.

The Chiefs had other options with the mid round pick but even though they discussed trading down in the first round; they held their ground and selected Johnson. As you would expect, Kansas City Chiefs CEO/President Carl Peterson was very excited about the addition of Johnson but warned that he'll need time to develop.

"We think he's the most productive linebacker in the draft when you look at solo tackles, assisted tackles, sacks and interceptions. He's been an extraordinary player for the University of Texas. We're very pleased with this guy," said Peterson.

Another man who shared Peterson's thoughts was Head Coach Dick Vermeil who continues to add quality players to his defense.

"We drafted Derrick Johnson with anticipation of bringing here a very quality player. I don't know if he'll be ready to play ion the league opener. But he'll line up and play a lot of football for the Kansas City Chiefs," said his new head coach.

Now the knock on Johnson has been the fact he does not have the ability toi run through blocks; instead he uses his speed to get to the ball carrier or the quarterback. In Kansas City, he knows that might not always be possible.

"Well sometimes my ability and speed on the field can overwhelm me where I can go over a block and it doesn't hurt me. But at the same time with the Kansas City Chiefs that doesn't happen I can go through blockers. I'm the type of player that just sometimes uses my speed a little bit more, " said the Chiefs top draft pick.

Still Johnson was quick top point out his rookie status and inexperience won't slow him down in getting on the field and helping the Chiefs defense once the games count on Sunday. Nor will it matter which linebacker spot he plays for the Chiefs.

"I can do it all. I can play both, being a linebacker that is versatile," said Johnson.

That's good news for Chiefs fans and even better news for defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham.


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