Josh Scotten (Point)
Former Troy Trojan Cameron Sheffield could be the dark horse the Chiefs need to help their much-maligned defense this upcoming season. Sneaking in as a late fifth round gift, he has top-notch pass rushing ability that could translate to more sacks than any other member of the Chiefs' defense had last season.
Last year, Sheffield broke down the walls of opposing offenses 10.5 times for a loss. But will he be a liability as a rush defender?
If there is a hole in his game, it's pass coverage. Sheffield has limited experience in dropping back and reading quarterbacks. But like every fresh-faced rookie will tell you, he's up to the challenge.
"It has been a slight change" Sheffield said after his first round of OTAs. "But I am more than capable of making the adjustments."
Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel is trying to rebuild an arsenal of blitzing weapons first with cornerback Javier Arenas and now with Sheffield. In fact, the two of them combined have accounted for 18 sacks.
The Chiefs are desperate for higher sack totals, but blitzing too often can often translate to large gashes in yards. Unless this faction of blitzing specialists properly learns to stay disciplined within the system, teams will continue to run the ball like a charging stampede.
If Sheffield fits the character profile that Pioli and Haley are looking for, and is open to the tutelage of Crennel, he could compile double digit sack numbers that might make Chiefs fans forget Jared Allen.
Nick Athan (Counterpoint)
This late in the NFL draft you never know what you're going to get. Generally, any draft pick after the second round falls into the ‘beauty's in the eye of the beholder' category, so most teams are rolling the dice in the fifth round.
Though I like the pick of Sheffield and generally agree with my counterpart Mr. Scotten, there are some drawbacks to his game.
Though he has a high motor, he has a tendency to take off plays from time to time. The fact he dominated his non-BCS league does not mean he can do the same in the NFL.
You can't take a single snap off in the NFL. OK, maybe that's not true -- there were plenty of Chiefs that did that a year ago. That won't happen under the watch of Crennel nor offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.
Still, the Chiefs need Sheffield to show the sack happy flashes that saw his stock rise from undrafted free agent to fifth-round pick. If Crennel can shortcut his learning curve, I could see a scenario where he could be a perfect compliment to Tamba Hali in 2010.
Hali made a successful transition from defensive end to outside linebacker. Sheffield has to make the same transition in his rookie season. That is going to be the hardest aspect of his rise to productive NFL starter.
But with Hali in the final year of his rookie contract, and with Mike Vrabel taking up unproductive space as a starter for this defense, the door is open for Sheffield to solve one of the Chiefs biggest needs: someone else who can sack the quarterback.
If not, there is always 2011.
Point – Counterpoint: LB Cameron Sheffield
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