2017 NFL Draft Kansas City Chiefs Scouting Report: Elijah Qualls

Kansas City Chiefs draft prospect Elijah Qualls. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas City Chiefs draft prospect Elijah Qualls. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

The Kansas City Chiefs need a long-term option at defensive tackle. Elijah Qualls from Washington could be the player they need.

Had the Kansas City Chiefs been able to stop the run, they may have still beaten the Steelers in the playoffs despite a poor offensive performance. However, the run defense was a sore spot for the Chiefs all season long. KC needs to find a long-term answer at defensive tackle and Elijah Qualls of Washington may be it.

The Chiefs decided to let Dontari Poe test Free Agency this year, and he ended up with a one-year deal in Atlanta. To replace him, KC signed run stuffer Bennie Logan. However, Logan’s contract is just one year, meaning John Dorsey must find a long-term answer at the position.

The Kansas City run defense wasn’t great last year, and a lot of it started up front with Dontari Poe. The big man simply wasn’t commanding double teams like he did before his back injury. The Chiefs are hoping that Bennie Logan will be able to do that this year. Drafting another guy who can do that that is essential though.

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This year’s defensive tackle class isn’t as strong as other positions. However, there are a number of quality prospects for a 3-4 team looking for a run stuffer. Those kinds of tackles tend to slip a little in the draft because less than half the league plays a 3-4. That puts the Chiefs in a good spot to get thier guy.

Elijah Qualls – DT – Washington

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It’s easy to get overlooked when you play in an elite unit, and that may be the case for Elijah Qualls. The Washington defense was stellar last year, and there are a number of players with first round hype. However, Qualls has held his own during his time at Washington and has stood out on a number of occasions.

Elijah Qualls is big and powerful with the frame and size to anchor at the line of scrimmage. Possesses surprising pass rush ability for a man his size. Former fullback, which shows with impressive quickness for his size. Understands leverage and how to get it. Does an excellent job of occupying blockers or shedding a block to attack the backfield.

The biggest knocks on Elijah Qualls are that he isn’t a tremendous playmaker against the run or the pass. He’s more of an immovable object than an irresistible force. Doesn’t have the speed to chase down a runner from behind. Can get into the backfield, but is not a consistent pass rusher.

Frankly, I believe Elijah Qualls could be exactly what the Chiefs need to help bolster the defense against the run. He’s not the pass rusher that Dontari Poe was, but he can still cause some havoc. The most important thing is that he will eat up blocks to let the inside linebackers do the attacking. This is a great fit.

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The Kansas City Chiefs defense was very strong in 2016, but still struggled some against the run. Getting a defensive tackle who can command double teams will be key to improving that area. This year’s draft class isn’t as strong at defensive tackle as other areas, but there are still some good options.