2017 NFL Draft Kansas City Chiefs Scouting Report: Kendell Beckwith

Kansas City Chiefs draft prospect Kendell Beckwith. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas City Chiefs draft prospect Kendell Beckwith. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Kansas City Chiefs have been checking out inside linebackers in the draft. Kendell Beckwith of LSU is a good one to have on the radar.

As we get closer to the 2017 NFL Draft, the interests of the Kansas City Chiefs seem to be coming into focus. One are the Chiefs have been looking at is the inside linebacker position. Kansas City has hosted several draft prospects and free agents. Kendell Beckwith out of LSU could be a solid option for the Chiefs if they choose to draft someone.

Of course, when talking about the Kansas City Chiefs needing an inside linebacker, most people are talking about someone to eventually replace Derrick Johnson. However, based on some of the players the Chiefs have been looking at, they may actually be looking for someone at the other linebacker spot.

The Chiefs have some young talent at inside linebacker. Ramik Wilson, Justin March-Lillard, and DJ Alexander have all shown talent. However, none of them appear to be ideally suited for the position next to Derrick Johnson. Despite the two positions being referenced as similar, or even the same, they hold very different responsibilities.

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What the Chiefs need at inside linebacker is a “thumper”. This linebacker is responsible for attacking the line of scrimmage and occupying blockers. That allows the other inside linebacker, currently Derrick Johnson, to make plays in the backfield. If KC can find a player to take on that role, it will help Johnson get back to making plays.

Kendell Beckwith – OLB – LSU

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If you’re looking for a big, physical linebacker then Kendell Beckwith may very well be your man. The All-SEC inside linebacker was a mainstay for the LSU defense over the past three years. An injury late in his senior year has hurt his draft stock a lot, which is why you may not have heard much on him.

Kendell Beckwith is a physical player who attacks the line of scrimmage. Good use of his hands to control and disengage blockers. Has the frame and lower body strength to hold his ground against linemen. Smart player who can diagnose plays early and understands his assignments. Aggressive in his approach but doesn’t get pulled out of his responsibility.

The downside to Kendell Beckwith is that he is limited as an athlete. Does not possess lateral agility or the quickness to operate in open space. Can get caught off balance in the open field and will miss tackles. Doesn’t handle blockers at the second level as well as he should. Athleticism concerns will be higher due to his ACL injury.

As I have done my research on guys that would fit what the Chiefs need at inside linebacker, Kendell Beckwith has emerged as the top name. If it weren’t for his ACL injury late last year, he’s probably getting talked about as a day two pick. Instead, KC may be able to grab him as late as the fifth round. That’s tremendous  value for a guy who could start early in his career.

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While many want the Kansas City Chiefs to find an heir to Derrick Johnson, I’m more concerned about the “thumper” spot next to him. The Chiefs have young and talented players to come in behind Johnson. What they don’t have is a guy who will take on blockers and keep DJ (and his heir) free to attack the ball carrier.