Post Draft Roster Analysis: Defensive Tackle

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Arrowhead Guys has decided to analyze the roster, position by position, following the draft in order to project the Final 53 Man roster and identify interesting roster battles to keep an eye on. In order to predict the number of players that will make the final roster per position we analyzed trends for the Kansas City Chiefs offense from 2016-2018 and the New York Giants from 2007-2008 and 2017 to determine number of offensive and defensive players kept at each position by both Andy Reid and Steve Spagnuolo.

Currently Under Contract: 6

Justin Hamilton74DT6-23154Louisiana-Lafayette
Chris Jones95DT6-63104Mississippi State
Derrick Nnadi91DT6-13172Florida State
Khalen Saunders99DT6-0324RWestern Illinois
Xavier Williams98DT6-23095Northern Iowa
Joey Ivie90DT6-22951Florida

Projected Roster Spots: 5

Defensive Tackle was one of the most consistent groups regarding roster count year to year under Steve Spagnuolo. During the years reviewed he carried 5 DT’s twice and 4 one time. Defensive line as a whole accounted for 9-10 roster spots each year.

Returning Chiefs

I’ve said for a while now that DT is quietly the strongest position group on the defense. While it was The Chris Jones Show last year in Kansas City, Nnadi, Williams and Hamilton all turned in solid season despite not receiving much fanfare.

New Acquisitions

The Chiefs are actually carrying fewer defensive tackles than they were before the draft. The only new addition from the pre-draft roster analysis is 3rd round draft selection Khalen Saunders.

Roster Analysis

Before the draft Arrowhead guys said the following about the DT position:

I believe the Chiefs are comfortable with their DT depth right now and that it is not a position of great need. It is a position that could definitely be improved, but don’t suspect the Chiefs will invest a high draft pick at the position. Chris Jones has one starting position locked down and the Chiefs spent a 3rd round pick on Nnadi just last season, I suspect he’ll get a chance to start. The main justification I’ve seen for drafting a DT early is that Jones is the only true 3-Technique DT on the roster. That may be true, but no team has a Chris Jones on the bench waiting to rotate in for Chris Jones when he needs a breather.

The Chiefs selected a defensive tackle a little sooner than projected, but according to PFF he was on their Top 50 board, and the Chiefs turned their card in immediately rather than sit around waiting for the phone to ring to listen to offers. While I would have preferred a cornerback here, PFF backs up the Chiefs’ decision to go BPA and take the behemoth 3-technique who looks to help Chris Jones and the entire defensive line stay fresh.

It must be noted that the Chiefs did not bring in much for competition at defensive tackle by way of UDFA’s. I believe the team already knows the five tackles who will be making this roster, and focused on bringing in UDFA’s at positions more likely to make the team, as Brett Veach recently indicated in an interview he prefers not to bring in players if he doesn’t think they have a realistic opportunity to earn a spot. He indicated he felt it was unfair to a player who could have potentially made the roster of another team.

I believe Jones, Nnadi, Saunders, Williams and Hamilton all make the final roster, however with a poor showing either Williams or Hamilton could be cut, replaced or even upgraded.

Roster Locks: Chris Jones, Derrick Nnadi, Khalen Saunders

Bubble Busters: Xavier Williams, Justin Hamilton

Camp Bodies: Joey Ivey

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With that many guys in excess of 3000 lbs. they should be pretty good.


Holy shit! Of course, it’s not so much their weight as it is the fact that they’re eleven feet wide.


Saunders and Jones with Nnadi and Williams as backups … that’s my thinking


You might could swap Nnadi and Saunders there, but it would certainly be a very nice development if Saunders can beat him out early, considering his small school background.


Agree, I don’t see to much happening with this group. A solid DT group, I want to see some more of Justin Hamilton.


Hard to argue with your analysis. Any truth to the rumor that Speaks is trying to eat his way to becoming a DT?