What can Brown do for the Chiefs?

As Nick Athan reported in our premium forum on Thursday, the Chiefs are interested in Chicago defensive end Alex Brown. Apparently the team was in talks with the Bears about a week before the NFL draft.

Fans understandably jumped all over the possibility of Kansas City acquiring Brown like starving dogs. After all, the Chiefs' major weakness on defense last year was a lack of pass rush, and considering Jared Allen's looming suspension, bringing in Brown might be the ideal solution to both problems.

Now don't get me wrong – Brown is a solid player. He's no Eric Hicks, and his experience in Chicago's Cover 2 system makes him an ideal fit to replace Allen during the first four games of 2006.

But I believe that's all he should be doing. I wouldn't view the guy as a long-term replacement for Allen, who is a far more talented and versatile defensive end.

If the Chiefs get Brown, I think they'd be wise to view it as no more than a move to increase their depth at defensive end. Other than corner, it's probably the thinnest position on that defense, with only Allen and Tamba Hali as viable players. Jimmy Wilkerson really hasn't shown much and the Chiefs drafted Turk McBride to play some snaps outside.

At 6-foot-3 and 260 pounds, Brown would be a liability against the run. Allen started out as a liability in run defense early in his NFL career, but improved his strength in the weight room and worked hard on his technique to become a very solid run defender last year, when he posted 11 tackles for loss.

Brown also doesn't have Allen's massive wingspan, which has been a key factor in the amount of fumbles Allen has posted the last few years.

But here's what really sends up red flags. The evolution of Chicago's defense started when they drafted Pro-Bowl defensive tackle Tommie Harris in 2004. The Bears grabbed Harris with their first-round selection that year, brought in Lovie Smith and immediately jumped from 22nd in scoring defense to 13th.

That's when Alex Brown started playing better, too. And when Harris went down with a torn hamstring near the end of the 2006 regular season, Brown's play dropped off. Brown had only one sack over the season's last four games, and in the playoffs and Super Bowl had just one sack in three games. That's two sacks in seven games. Not good.

The Chiefs don't have a player of Harris' ability in the middle of their defensive line. They certainly need one, and maybe McBride or Tank Tyler can give them that presence, but it won't happen this year.

Even listening to Bears fans talk about Brown gives me caution. They describe him with sentences like "slightly better than average," and "went long stretches of games where he was invisible."

And the Bears themselves don't seem all that enamored with signing him to a long-term contract. Rookie Mark Anderson burst onto the scene last year with 12 sacks, and according to a radio report Friday, in mini-camp Brown was running with the second team while Anderson was starting at right defensive end.

And of course the Bears did draft a defensive end (Central Michigan's Dan Bazuin) in the second round this offseason. Bye, Alex!

Let's hope the Chiefs don't give up too much for him. I wanted Kansas City to acquire depth at defensive end this offseason (they let former Buccaneer defensive end Dewayne White go to Detroit without much interest), and Brown would definitely fit the bill, but let's not view him as Allen's long-term replacement – unless you can somehow pry Tommie Harris away, too.

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