When the Chiefs weren’t able to sign Melvin Ingram, it was a blow to some Chiefs’ fans. Many wanted him as they recognized the skills he brought to the table. Also, there is a backup plan needed for the whole Frank Clark situation; moreover, he was our number one target for it. While that may be true, the blow may be softened with a signing made earlier today.
Just recently, the Chiefs resigned their former pass rusher and eight-year veteran Alex Okafor to a one-year deal, bringing him back for his third year in KC:
It may not be a game-breaking signing, but it is still very much needed for this Chiefs defense. Here are my initial reactions to this signing:
Added Depth At The DE’s
Let’s be honest with ourselves; outside of Frank Clark, Taco Charlton, and Chris Jones (flexing to DE this season), there isn’t anybody else with true NFL experience on the defensive ends. Mike Danna is still trying to prove his worth in the league after a solid rookie year. Tim Ward has only played one game (Week 17 vs Chargers) but showed some skills that could prove his worth. Kaindoh is a rookie development prospect with good upside, and anyone else lower in the depth chart hasn’t seen on-field play.
Alex Okafor would add veteran depth needed on this defensive line. Okafor is also a solid defensive lineman too, totaling 140 tackles and 30 sacks throughout his career. He may not be the best, but he will bolster that defensive-end core, especially on the left side, to which we can predict that is where he will be lined up.
Knowing The System
Alex Okafor knows the Chiefs’ and Steve Spagnuolo’s defensive system pretty well. He was solid in his two years with the franchise; in 21 games (nine starting), he had 38 tackles, 19 QB hits, eight sacks, six tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles, and a pass deflection.
Of course, you’d always want to bring someone in who can work within your system, so why not bring somebody in that knows it already? He can probably help the younger players to understand it better along with being able to improve himself as well.
Frank Clark Scenario
With how the Frank Clark scenario turns out, there are a lot of questions about what will happen if he’s gone. If he’s released, it would leave a gaping hole within the defensive end group.
Charlton has experience in both LDE and RDE, so he could flip to whatever side needs him the most. Chris Jones has decided to flex between as a DE and an NT this coming season, which would help too. Okafor can flex too as he has experience as both the LDE and RDE. Okafor’s signing leaves the Chiefs’ options open on where to place who once the final depth chart is supposed to be released.
Alex Okafor’s Injury Concerns
Injuries have taken a toll in his time in KC. In 2019, he tore his pectoral muscle in Week 16, which landed him on the Injury Reserve for the rest of the season. He also has other injuries spanning throughout that year too. In 2020, he missed five games due to multiple encounters of a Thigh Hamstring Strain Grade 2, which put him on IR through Weeks 7-9.
His health is a concern, but it has been improving as time goes on. However, it will be something to watch out for once training camp and the season begins.
Alex Okafor’s signing was a good idea for the Chiefs. He will provide good depth for the Chiefs, and he could come up with some clutch plays. He has shown to be a solid pass rusher, so let’s hope it stays that way and he stays healthy this coming season!
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