State Of The Chiefs: Defensive Tackle

After spending May standing on the sidelines of the Arrowhead practice facility, the time has come to evaluate what we've seen out of Kansas City's current players and position groups. For the next six weeks, Mike Nugent and Mike Campbell will take an in-depth look at the Chiefs offense and defense so our readers will have a good idea of where the team stands before training camp.

This week our focus starts with the most critical unit on Kansas City's defense, the defensive tackles. No position group needs more help more than these guys, and at this point it appears that the talent they so desperately need will have to come from within. Missing out on free agents LaRoi Glover and Rocky Bernard could come back to haunt this team in a big way.

Lional Dalton - Right now, Dalton is the best defensive tackle on the team. He's not a game breaker, but he's a vastly underrated player who's a solid number two on the depth chart.

Technique-wise, he's a fun player to watch because he does so many things "text book" for his position. He always exhibits great leverage and balance while he's pushing the pocket, and because he's a shade over six feet tall he naturally fires out low.

Out of all of the tackles on the Chiefs, Dalton has the best chance of making the roster. After him it's a bit of a toss up.

John Browning – Browning is an older, but wiser veteran who's as tough as nails. He fought through a lot of injuries last season. Right now he looks completely healthy and rejuvenated (if you watched him during mini-camp you'd think he was 25 again).

Browning is a versatile defender that can play any position on the defensive line. Unless he runs into some serious injury issues during training camp it's hard to imagine he won't make the team.

Jimmy Wilkerson – Although the Chiefs have him listed at defensive end, Wilkerson is comparable to a younger and quicker version of Browning. He's not as massive as Browning but has the burst to be more productive as a pass rusher.

Last season, Wilkerson's coaches called him the most fundamentally sound player on the defensive line. It appears that his new coach Tim Krumrie has taken a shine to him as well. When it's all said and done, don't be surprised if Wilkerson ends up as Kansas City's starting "three technique" defensive tackle.

Ryan Sims – Sims has never come close to being the type of player the Chiefs thought he would be when they selected him with the sixth overall pick in the 2002 draft. You have to wonder when the organization will finally run out of patience with his lack of production and sever their ties with him.

What's unfortunate is that Sims really wants to live up to the Chiefs' expectations, but he has faced one series of setbacks after another. Haunted by injuries, he's never been able to get over the hump and have a prolific season.

If he struggles in training camp or fails to impress the coaching staff, I think Sims could be cut. There are younger players beneath him that are making a push and head coach Herman Edwards has been emphatic about starting his four best interior defensive linemen.

Ron Edwards – Edwards was brought in as a free agent from Buffalo this off-season and obviously he's a Chief due to his history with Krumrie. Unfortunately, he has yet to do anything to make me notice him. Maybe this will change once he's able to put pads on and go full contact.

Junior Siavii - I don't see Junior making the 53-man roster this year. He should have spent the last two off-seasons in NFL Europe honing his skills instead of lounging in Kansas City.

There isn't a lot to get excited about when you watch Siavii on the field, and right now he looks like biggest reach the Chiefs have made in the draft since Trezelle Jenkins.

Steve Williams -This guy is huge. He's so big that he looks like an eight-year veteran, and at first glance you would never have guessed he played at Northwest Missouri State. He looks more like a monster from the ACC or SEC. He took a lot of reps with the first team during mini-camp, but we won't know how good he really is until he gets in pads at River Falls.

Alex Guerrero - Guerrero first caught my eye while I was watching Boise State. I loved the way he fired off at the snap and bulled his way through offensive linemen. I was also enamored by his quick feet and the way he blew past people on line stunts like they were standing still. Unfortunately, when the Chiefs picked him up after the draft I never made a correlation between him and the stocky No. 99 that I'd seen chase down quarterbacks on the blue astro-turf at Boise State. After seeing him in mini-camp it finally dawned on me who he was.

While studying Guerrero, I cannot help but compare him to a couple of Chiefs defensive tackles. Height and weight-wise he reminds me a lot of Lional Dalton, and he shows some of Dalton's balance as well. From the waist down, he reminds me of Dan Saleamua with his thick calves, thighs and glutes. While he's not on either Dalton's or Saleamua's level yet, you can certainly see the potential is there.

Out of all of the un-drafted rookie free agents on defense, Guerrero has the best chance of making the squad. He has the type of work ethic that typically attracts defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham and the body type that usually enamors a defensive line coach.

Zach Ville – A product of the University of Missouri, Ville joined the Chiefs as an un-drafted rookie free agent in 2005. He showed enough flashes during training camp to make it on the practice squad and was later allocated to NFL Europe.

Although he played defensive end in college, Ville was impressive playing a "three technique" for the Rhein Fire. With all of the help Kansas City needs at tackle there's a good chance he'll continue to play that position for the Chiefs.

Ville had a nice run in Europe, but he'll need to continue that progress against the competition in preseason and training camp. If he meets this challenge he has as good a shot as anyone to make the roster.

Arrion Dixon – Arrion Dixon was an un-drafted rookie free agent in 2005 from the University of Arkansas. Although he had a few intriguing performances during last year's training camp, there weren't enough of them for him to make the 53-man roster.

Like several of his teammates from last year's class, Dixon was allocated to NFL Europe during the 2006 off-season. Unfortunately, he was never able to distinguish himself from his German teammates, so it's even less probable he'll be able to do so against the competition at River Falls. Top Stories