Position Overview: Defensive Line

Until the start of training camp late next week, we will take a look at the Chiefs 2009 roster and break down the 80 players based on the nine position groups. We’ll also provide perspective on what each position has done in this decade of Chiefs football.

Scott Pioli and Todd Haley left little doubt where they felt rebuilding needed to start with the Chiefs roster. They used their second-round choice to get a starting quarterback in Matt Cassel (trade with New England). They then used their first and third round choices to draft a pair of defensive linemen in Tyson Jackson (left) and Alex Magee.

In this decade, the Chiefs have spent a lot of draft picks and money on defensive linemen with mixed results. They start the ’09 season with six linemen who were drafted in the first three rounds; they drafted a total of 10. The most successful draft choice was DE Jared Allen, who was taken in the fourth round of the 2004 NFL Draft. He of course, left the team last year in a trade with Minnesota.

Some of those defensive linemen are now linebackers and only four of those 10 choices are still part of the mix along the ’09 defensive line. Pioli/Haley are counting on a big and immediate contribution from Jackson and Magee. Jackson will be part of the starting lineup at left defensive end, while Magee will likely begin the season behind Glenn Dorsey at right defensive end. But Magee will see plenty of playing time.

How the new bodies mix with the returning players is one of the puzzles the Chiefs defensive coaching staff must put together in the pre-season.

Here’s how the bodies shake out along the defensive line.


Ron Edwards (9th season/96 games-55 starts/172 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 2 recovered fumbles.) He just turned 30 years old and has survived nine seasons in the NFL because he’s a hard man to physically move out of the middle of the defensive line. Edwards is big and bulky (6-3, 315 pounds) and sometimes flashes quickness, although he’s not consistent with that aspect of his game. He’s averaged less than a sack per season over his career, so there’s not going to be a lot of pass rush from him. In the Chiefs new defense, he’s a first-down player and will come out in nickel and sub-defenses.

Derek Lokey (1st/1 game-0 starts, spent 14 games on practice squad/played 43 games-21 starts at Texas, with 101 tackles, 3 sacks.) When he stands next to Edwards on the practice field, Lokey looks like he must play another position because he’s so much smaller. At 6-1, 287, Lokey doesn’t bring a lot of bulk or power. He’s quicker and seems to have a good understanding of leverage and angles playing inside. Lokey has his work cut out for him in making the ’09 roster.

Tank Tyler (left) (3rd/31 games-17 starts49 tackles, 0 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovered fumble.) This needs to be the year that he elevates his game to the next level. The third season is frequently a breakthrough year for players and Tyler needs that kind of improvement. He rescued his career last season when after a very disappointing rookie year he changed his attitude and became a frequent visitor to the team’s weight room. Tyler has followed that up with more work in this off-season. He has the size and power to clog the middle, and he has the quickness to shoot the gaps when necessary. Early last season, teams simply had to double-team him because he was getting in the way. That pounding took a toll on Tyler physically and he didn’t finish the season as strong. He had 32 tackles in the first seven games and nine tackles in the last nine games. He’s one player who should benefit from the conditioning work that Haley has emphasized in the off-season.


Alfonso Boone (9th/113 games-37 starts/198 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 3 recovered fumbles.) A real enigma as a player, Boone can at times look like an All-Pro and at other times he simply disappears. It’s probably the reason he’s been in the league so long and hasn’t been able to secure a starting spot. Boone’s demeanor sometimes indicates he’s less than interested. Whether that’s true or not, coaches are always wondering about his motivation level. His size and abilities allow him to play both end and tackle. If Haley and his staff can find a way to keep him interested, Boone can be a big contributor, especially in a rotation system where he can stay fresher.

Glenn Dorsey (2nd/16 games and starts/50 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble.) His rookie campaign was not nearly as bad as some pundits have tried to paint since the end of the ’08 season. Dorsey’s production last year was at the level of other recent first-round defensive linemen. The good ones in that group stepped forward in their second season, and that’s what Dorsey must do in ’09. He’ll have to do it playing a new position at defensive end. There will be some growing pains there during the pre-season, but his ability to play inside and outside should help him with the transition. For him, the goal is to stay healthy; remarkably he played all 16 games last season, despite being banged up. Dorsey has proven his toughness.

Alex Magee (right) (3rd-round draft choice/50 games-33 starts at Purdue with 117 tackles, 6 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 4 recovered fumbles.) During the off-season work, he actually looked more advanced than Jackson, especially on the pass rush. Magee’s time at Purdue where he played both end and tackle has already served him well in this rookie season. There are sure to be bumps in the road for the rookie and he doesn’t need to miss any training camp time because of contract negotiations.


Dion Gales (undrafted rookie/25 games-17 starts in two seasons at Troy State with 92 tackles, 8.5 sacks1 forced fumble.) Tall and lanky, he did not show much in the off-season work where he appeared to be struggling with conditioning. If Gales went home back in late June and spent his time working hard to get into the kind of shape the Chiefs are looking for, then he might have a shot in camp. If he did not, then he’ll quickly find himself with a ticket home.

Wallace Gilberry (2nd/5 games-0 starts/2 tackles, 0 sacks.) Grabbed off the waiver wire last year when injuries hit the defense, Gilberry saw limited action with the defense. If he was a better athlete, he probably would have been switched to outside linebacker (6-2, 268 pounds.) There are some natural pass rush abilities that you can see with Gilberry, but he doesn’t have a lot of time and there are a lot of bodies ahead of him that he must jump over.

Bobby Greenwood (undrafted rookie/51 games-22 starts at Alabama with 102 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovered fumble.) Among the rookie free agents the Chiefs signed, Greenwood may have the best shot at making the team. He comes out of a Level 1 college program at Alabama. He has good size (6-5, 278) and looks like he could bulk up with some more work. His motor is no-stop and he flashed some pass rush ability. There’s a long road ahead but Greenwood has a chance with a consistent and productive pre-season.

Tyson Jackson (1st-round draft choice/53 games-39 starts at LSU with 122 tackles, 18.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 2 recovered fumbles.) Once the pads go on and the real work of football starts in training camp practices, there will be a lot of attention on Jackson. It will come not only from the fans and media, but from Pioli, Haley and their staffs. That makes it imperative that Jackson doesn’t miss any extended time in camp. A few practices, even a week would hurt, but would not put him so far behind that he can’t catch up. In the off-season work there were times Jackson showed the skills that attracted the Chiefs and others. Now, comes the task of consistency and improved productivity. The Chiefs hope Jackson is a three-down player; if that’s to be the case, he’ll need to improve his pass rushing skills. He’s shown good power, but he lacks a second and third move on the rush.


Likely number of D-Linemen on final roster: 6 or 7.

  • A pre-camp prediction on the final WRs: Boone, Dorsey, Edwards, Jackson, Magee, Tyler, Greenwood.

D-Linemen that started in this decade: 22.

  • Left end (7) – Eric Hicks 90, Tamba Hali 42, Turk McBride 6, John Browning 5, Jared Allen 1, Carlos Hall 1, Alfonso Boone 1.
  • Left tackle (9) – John Browning 52, Ron Edwards 32, Ryan Sims 18, Tank Tyler 16, Chester McGlockton 15, Eric Downing 9, Jimmy Wilkerson 2, Turk McBride 1, Nate Hobgood-Chittick 1.
  • Right tackle (11) – Derrick Ransom 26, Lional Dalton 26, Ryan Sims 19, James Reed 16, Glenn Dorsey 16, Alfonso Boone 15, Dan Williams 10, John Browning 9, Erick Downing 4, Jimmy Wilkerson 2, Tank Tyler 1.
  • Right end (10) – Jared Allen 55, Duane Clemons 44, Vonnie Holliday 20, John Browning 8, Tamba Hali 6, Jason Babin 4, Alfonso Boone 3, Turk McBride 3, Jimmy Wilkerson 2, Carlos Hall 1.

D-Linemen drafted by Chiefs in this decade: 16.

  • First-Round: Ryan Sims 2002, Tamba Hali 2006, Glenn Dorsey 2008, Tyson Jackson 2009.
  • Second-Round: Eddie Freeman 2002, Junior Siavii 2004, Turk McBride 2007.
  • Third-Round: Eric Downing 2001, Tank Tyler 2007, Alex Magee 2009.
  • Fourth-Round: Jared Allen 2004.
  • Sixth-Round: Jimmy Wilkerson 2003, Khari Long 2005.
  • Seventh-Round: Terdell Sands 2001, Montique Sharpe 2003, Brian Johnston 2008.

Top 10 Chiefs D-Linemen With Sacks In The Decade:

Player    Games    Sacks    Yards
Jared Allen




Eric Hicks




John Browning




Tamba Hali




Duane Clemons




Dan Williams




Ron Edwards




Vonnie Holliday




R-Kal Truluck




Lional Dalton




Ryan Sims




Top 10 Chiefs D-Linemen With Tackles In The Decade:

Player Games    Tackles   Assists   Total
Eric Hicks





Jared Allen





John Browning





Tamba Hali





Duane Clemons





Derrick Ransom





Ryan Sims





Jimmy Wilkerson





Ron Edwards





Turk McBride





19 Responses to “Position Overview: Defensive Line”

  • July 26, 2009  - Stankonia says:

    “•A pre-camp prediction on the final WRs: Boone, Dorsey, Edwards, Jackson, Magee, Tyler, Greenwood.”

    Last time I checked these are D linemen…..

  • July 26, 2009  - anonymous says:

    Damn! The only thing this proves is that Peterson and Edwards, outta have their heads examined for trading Allen!

    Dumb Asses!

  • July 26, 2009  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    * Reason(s) for hope?

    DT Buck Buchanan was not much of a pass rusher in his early years; by his 3rd season IN 1965 he was TEAM MVP & was again ’67; eventually an NFL HOFr.

    Other late bloomers KC have included Aaron Brown & Neil Smith – both #1 picks just like Buchanan.

    Curley Culp came in a trade for a #4 draft choice.

    Jared Allen too came in round #4… serendipity.

    Dan Saleaumua was a Plan ‘B’ free agent find.

    * Reason(s) to doubt?

    A Hali, McBride, Sims, Siavii, Freeman, Downing, Chester McGlockton, Dan Williams… Tim Krumrie.

    High picks are no guarantee of success (several NFL overall #1 picks have busted: Walt Patulski, Aundray Bruce, etc.)

    Diamonds too exist.

    DE Deacon Jones, the NFL’s best pass rusher ever was a 14th round draft choice (free agent today) out of MVC (Mississippi Vocational College.)

    Before QB sacks started being kept or counted in 1982, Jones had 26 sacks in just 14 games in ’67, another 24 in 14 games in ’68 – BOTH better than anyone who has ever played, 50 total (some claim he ‘only’ had 43.) Regardless, QB sack ratio per games played no one is his equal before or since.

    Another is undrafted free agent DT John Randle who was an All Pro and future NFL HOFr likely – he has more career sacks than a Derrick Thomas: 137.5 to Thomas 126.5

    * KC’s lot circa 2009:

    #1 Hali has been moved & #2 McBride same yet some high KC draft picks still remain: Dorsey/Jackson are #1s, Tyler/Magee are #3s and Edwards, Lokey, Boone & the flotsam & jetsam rest be free agents.

    * Prediction: Rin sees nary a Jones nor a Randle; Dorsey does not portend Neil Smith any more than ‘check’ :roll: does a Hank Stram.

    * Conclusion: It’s going to be a long season in Kaycee.

    Not so :cool: daddy-o, but nonetheless ‘search’ :shock: & ‘check’ :roll: affirming…

  • July 26, 2009  - Michael says:

    pre-camp for D Line, I’d say the same: Dorsey, Jackson, Tyler, Boone, Edwards, Magee, and Greenwood. But, I think they should sign Vonnie Holliday, who is still out there. Can’t wait to see how this group shakes out in camp, though.

  • July 26, 2009  - anonymous says:

    Trading Allen was just another cost cutting measure, as requested by Jr.

  • July 26, 2009  - Five Days to Kansas City Chiefs Training Camp says:

    [...] Via Mr. Gretz this morning, defensive tackles that have started for the Chiefs this decade: [...]

  • July 26, 2009  - sick of it says:

    anyone who says trading allen was a cost cutting move is a fool. we had a bunch of holes to fill. and so we traded him to try to fill the holes. we got a franchise left tackle out of the deal. herm is still an absolute moron and carl sucked but it wasn’t a cost cutting thing so lay off it.

  • July 26, 2009  - findthedr says:

    While with the chiefs Allen was 1 DUI away from a season long suspension. That, and his acrimonious relationship with Carl Peterson made sure he would not be a chief.

    As much as I miss Allen’s productivity, I dont know how well he would fit into a 3-4 defense (which is what Pioli would want to run).

    If losing Allen means we gained a new coach, general manager, and Branden Albert then it was a complete win for the chiefs orginization.

  • July 26, 2009  - anonymous says:

    Although I agree with the PHONY anonymous (second an0ny0us post) maybe you outta grow a pair and use your own handle!


  • July 26, 2009  - Rip 'em a new one says:

    No preamble, so here goes:

    Jackson and Magee will be tough to sign if the Chiefs have already put word out that each is being counted on to start or be a key part of the rotation. Agents aren’t dumb. They’ll use that as additional leverage, read, holding out until a compromise can be reached. When that will be is unknown but not good regardless for the team or development of the players.

    Dorsey is the proverbial round peg being forced in the square hole. Not his fault and the Chiefs are having to make do this year because of his high cap number. Glenn being asked to play DE in a 3-4 is similar to Hali and McBride being asked to play LB in the same scheme.

    Again, we’re at least two good drafts, two good free agents signing off-seasons and some lucky overachievers from surprise sources before the Chiefs can be considered legitimate playoff contenders again.

    Dline, like Oline, like, WR, like LB= More uncertainty than solid answers. Sorry.

  • July 26, 2009  - Jim Lloyd+ says:

    Allen lives in Arz.—– How hard would it be to go 20 different places South of there and do any thing a guy with a little change in his pocket wanted, and NOT—- have to worry about ANYTHING!

    He just wanted to get paid for all that hard work.

  • July 26, 2009  - HermSucked says:

    The Chiefs will surprise.

  • July 26, 2009  - colby says:

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the D line gets an addition or two right before the season once teams start cutting players. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and Pioli has proven that he can find gems among the scrap heap. Lokey, Gales and Gilberry don’t seem like the best fits and if one of the starters gets hurt, we may find ourselves hurting for depth. I still think Jackson was a HUGE reach at pick 3 and he’s going to get WAY too much money. I hope I’m proven wrong on this one.

  • July 27, 2009  - HermRocked says:

    I’ve left a great roster for the 2009 Chiefs.

  • July 27, 2009  - Lee says:

    Peterson traded Jared because even though he could have franchised him last year, he couldn’t have re-signed him this year. And he’d have gotten nothing for him. Peterson made the appropriate move given the fact that he thought he (Peterson) would be in KC for two more years. As a Chiefs fan, it’s backfired for us. Now that Peterson is gone, Pioli might have been able to convince Jared to stay a Chief. Though that wouldn’t have been guaranteed.

  • July 27, 2009  - SG says:

    “I still think Jackson was a HUGE reach at pick 3 and he’s going to get WAY too much money. I hope I’m proven wrong on this one.”

    I hope you are too. This along with the TG trade are the first major moves that caused me to scratch my head concerning the brain trust.

  • July 27, 2009  - ED says:

    Darn shame when Hicks is your second best d-lineman of the decade speaks volume of how poor of a drafting job Peterson did on bringing in defensive lineman. WOW Hopefully Dorsey, Magee, and Jackson will change that soon. Even TAnk for crying out loud hopefully will help that ridculuous list

  • July 27, 2009  - get real says:

    Why did the Chiefs do so badly on the Dline? I do not know. But the Chiefs need to fix it and doubt they have with what is left on the team and the 09 draft. In a few years we may have something but not right now.

    By the by, the trade of Tony will prove a good one. For to long Tony got great stats and the team did not reach the promised land. I do not believe your dominate receiver can be the TE.

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