Will Felix Anudike-Uzomah Improve Over His Disastrous Rookie Season?

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The Chiefs’ 2023 first round pick had a rough rookie season. He managed a mere .5 sacks, and in the last 8 meaningful games of the season he never saw more than 7 defensive snaps. He might as well watched the games from the stands next to the puppet lady for all the contribution he made on the field.

If he continues this way he will be one of the biggest busts in Chiefs history. But will he take a jump to be a real contributor in his second season?

Point: C’mon, he was just a rookie!

Yeah he had a rough year, but that’s known to happen. Sometimes guys struggle when they first come into the league but manage to find their legs and have solid careers.

He worked with Tamba Hali in the offseason, and Hali noted that FAU has been working hard and shows improvement. You could say that he’s just using typical coach speak (i.e. never say anything negative publicly), but the way he said it may have let a little honestly slip through.

“George did a tremendous job,” Hali said. “He was very ambitious last year. He came and we worked. Felix is in there every morning now and we’re grappling, doing handwork and they’re beat.”

Did you notice the “now” in that statement? In contrast to Karlaftis, who was “very ambitious last year”, FAU is “in there every morning now”. So perhaps he was a rookie that didn’t realize how much work it took to make it in the NFL.

Counterpoint: He was REALLY bad

.5 sacks. Hardly any snaps. In fact, he only played 7 snaps in the entire playoffs.

Anything is possible, but I challenge you to find a pass rusher who was as unproductive as FAU was as a rookie and ended up being good. You’ll be looking for a long time.

Point: It wasn’t all bad

Sacks don’t tell the whole story of a pass rusher’s impact. One stat that is a good marker for impact as a pass rusher is QB hits, where FAU actually did decently considering how few snaps he took. He had 7 QB hits, which on his 218 defensive snaps means that he god a QB hit roughly every 31 snaps. Compare that to Mike Danna, who had a QB hit every 57 snaps. Now yes, FAU probably played a higher percentage of his snaps on passing downs, but that’s still a positive sign.

Counterpoint: If he was secretly effective, why didn’t he play?

Nobody knows how good FAU is better than the Chiefs, and actions speak louder than words. So the Chiefs saying that once Omenihu returned from his suspension that FAU shouldn’t see the field really highlights how little they thought of him. With Mike Danna being a free agent I’m sure they would have preferred to save the $8 million required to bring him back by giving FAU the snaps to prove himself and develop experience. Instead they kept him on the sidelines and spent money that they would have loved to use to fill other needs to bring back a pass rusher.

All this screams that the team doesn’t believe in FAU.

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NHChiefsfan
NHChiefsfan
07/01/2024 7:28 pm

I didn’t think it was a disaster. I felt it was a redshirt year. We had enough talent that we didn’t need to rush him into action. He spent the offseason training with Hali. Worked real good for Karlifitis. Let’s see what happens.

Leaf
07/01/2024 5:23 pm

He wasn’t a disaster. Was he what everyone wanted a first round DE to be? No, but he was never going to be that. Andy, Spags, and BV mentioned before last year even stated that they were going to bring him along slowly. They didn’t need to force him to play because they had depth. I fully agree with everyone that he needs to take a step this year, but complaining that he didn’t do much in a year in which the team telegraphed they were making a red shirt year, is pretty silly

Nasrani
Reply to  Leaf
07/01/2024 5:29 pm

This. He was a rotational piece, being worked in on a rotational basis to get some snaps at game speed. Had he been the bona fide starter from day 1, then yes, I’d say this article has a point. But thus far he’s been a rotational piece on a solid defensive line.

NovaChiefs
07/01/2024 4:24 pm

He wasn’t a detriment

Tyrone
07/01/2024 2:32 pm

Breeland Speaks II

Snafu
07/01/2024 2:06 pm

This seems to be a position Veach struggles with.

hoosierchief
Reply to  Snafu
07/01/2024 4:56 pm

idk. he did draft the greek guy…

upamtn
07/01/2024 11:42 am

I hope he improves, and at the least he couldn’t possibly be any worse than last year, right? right??

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