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The Draft Pick No One is Talking About
Derek Dietz @OriginalMrDietz Chiefs Focus @ChiefsFocus
Most fans knew the 2022 Draft would be defense heavy for the Chiefs. We all knew Corner, Edge, and Safety were weak spots on the team and ones that must be addressed early and often. The one pick that flew under the radar was the pick of Wisconsin Linebacker Leo Chenal.
Chenal has the resume we all wanted growing up. Big 10 Linebacker of the year. AFCA First Team All-American. 2nd Team AP All American. The list goes on and on. So, the question is, why did the Chiefs draft an inside linebacker?
He has the classic size you want at MLB, standing 6’2” and 250 pounds. At Wisconsin he played in 29 games and made 180 tackles, including 25 TFL and 12 sacks. Some projected Chenal to be a second-round pick, and the Chiefs nabbed him with the 39th pick in the third round (#103 overall), so on paper there is some great value. He was the Wisconsin Small High School player of the year and three-star recruit, so Wisconsin did a fantastic job developing him to be successful in big time D-1 football.
I feel he was drafted due to the simple fact that the Chiefs need good young defenders at every level. Gone is fan favorite whipping boy Ben Niemann, so there are a lot of special team snaps available as well as traditional defensive snaps. The Chiefs have Nick Bolton and Willie Gay as every down linebackers, but the position is pretty thin after that with journeymen and role players. The Chiefs also run a lot of five defensive back sets, leaving 2 or 1 linebacker on the field in long pass situations.
If Leo Chenal can rush the passer & stuff the run, he will see the field early and often for Steve Spagnuolo’s Defense. His scouting reports indicate he could be limited in pass protection, but that is OK with the new DB’s that are in town. Fans should love him as he is built like a brick outhouse, and his relentless motor will play well with the fans at Arrowhead.
If Leo Chenal can get on the field, stuff the run, get a couple sacks, and maybe win one game with a defensive game changing play, the sky is the limit for his success in Kansas City!