Expert: McBride A Perfect Fit In Detroit

The switch from Kansas City to Detroit will be a welcomed one to second-rounder Turk McBride. And Kansas City Chiefs' insider Nick Athan explains why the Lions made pefect sense from the beginning.

Nick Athan is the Publisher of Warpaint Illustrated on the Network.

When the Kansas City Chiefs signed veteran wide receiver Bobby Wade on Tuesday, it was very obvious who they were going to cut from the active roster. When defensive end/linebacker Turk McBride was inactive for last Sunday's season opener at Baltimore, the writing was on the wall.

As soon as we heard that Turk McBride was cut, we knew he'd end up a Detroit Lion. The man who was so adamant about drafting him three years ago was none other than Lions Defensive Coordinator Gunther Cunningham.

There was no doubt that after many conversations with the now Lion Defensive Coordinator that he felt something strong about McBride. He had him rated as a first round talent and saw all the potential that made him one of the Tennessee Vols best defensive lineman.

He loved his versatility and his attitude. Cunningham also likes guys that can play multiple positions on defense. At Tennessee he played defensive tackle and defensive end. This past off-season the Chiefs tried to convert him to outside linebacker. It failed.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz on Turk McBride

"We did a lot of work on him when I was in Tennessee and the Lions did a lot of work on him a couple of years ago when he was coming out and comparing notes both groups of scouts felt the same way about him, and obviously Kansas City felt good about him drafting him so early.

"We saw him a little bit different. We saw him as a defensive end and as an inside pass rusher, and what happened is he sort of got caught in the switch at Kansas City. He went from being a starting defensive end to trying to convert to a 3-4 outside linebacker. He did everything they wanted him to do, he lost a lot of weight to do it, but you know obviously it didn't fit their scheme and we were fortunate to be able to get him. We're excited about him. I think his skill set fits what we do on defense. We're gonna try and get him up to speed as quick as we can. We'll try to put a little bit of weight back on him."

On McBride's Role in Detroit

"All our ends could've played both sides. Our tackles play both sides, our ends play both sides. He's going to start off as a defensive end and then we'll see where he does with gaining his weight back and those kind of things and maybe even transition him to some inside pass rush."

However, the Chiefs 3-4 scheme doesn't suit McBride whereas the Lions 4-3 defense is a perfect landing spot for McBride and his talents.

There may not be a harder worker on defense and he never makes excuses. He was one of the Chiefs better pass rushers a year ago, and true that's not saying a lot considering he led the team with 2.5 sacks but that wasn't his fault. The cast around him was pitiful.

Injuries have also been a problem and until this off season the conditioning programs in Kansas City had been terrible. However, McBride did his work in the weight room and in the right scheme can be a productive defensive player for the Lions.

His only shortcomings are the fact that he's not a superstar player but a guy who must be a fit in the right system. There isn't any question that as bad as the Lions and Chiefs defense for that matter was a year ago, that McBride can become a solid contributor and eventual starter in Detroit.

McBride was very good against the run in Kansas City and when he was able to get to the quarterback he generally put him on his back. He's extremely intelligent and has outstanding football savvy, something Cunningham loves about him.

However, if he's going to develop into that player, Cunningham must find a single position for him. He can be a productive defense end but he's going to have to add some bulk and that might happen until he can get back in the weight room in 2010. He shed too much weight in my opinion to be an effective end since he made the switch to outside linebacker.

But on the positive, he's going to be reunited with Cunningham and he'll resurrect his career and the Lions will eventually be rewarded because he will make plays. And if the cast around him is better than the one he played for in Kansas City the last two seasons, then he'll exceed the expectations that Cunningham had for him when he began scouting and recommending him to then General Manager Carl Peterson.

I do know that the Chiefs were high enough on him to consider taking him in the first round but the organization felt they could not pass up on LSU Wide Receiver Dwayne Bowe.

Will he live up to the lofty expectations? That remains to be seen but my bet knowing Cunningham as well as I do, McBride will be that and more in Detroit.

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