Nick Athan is the Publisher of Warpaint Illustrated on the Scout.com 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.
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.
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.