Kansas City Chiefs: What to expect from Alex Okafor in 2019

Alex Okafor #57 of the New Orleans Saints (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Alex Okafor #57 of the New Orleans Saints (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

The Kansas City Chiefs made a solid under the radar signing of defensive end Alex Okafor during the free agency period back in March. The former fourth round pick is entering his seventh season in the NFL.

Though he has battled some injuries of late, Alex Okafor has real potential to make an impact along what looks to be a very deep defensive line group for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Okafor has spent the last two seasons with the New Orleans Saints, appearing in and starting 29 games. He racked up a total of 79 tackles (52 solo), 8.5 sacks, 18 quarterback hits, ten tackles for loss, five passes defended, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

For those of you that don’t know, I live in Southeast Louisiana and am a part-time Saints fan. When news broke that the Chiefs had signed Okafor away from New Orleans, I received several text messages along the lines of “Your Chiefs got a good one!” and maybe some not as friendly ones.

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The point is the Saints were sad to lose Okafor, despite the fact that he had missed some time due to injury.

Alex Okafor is a perfect rotational player that the Chiefs need along the defensive line. With the new 4-3 scheme being implemented by Steve Spagnuolo, having a deep defensive line rotation will be crucial. Spags was notorious for having great defensive linemen and depth when he was at his best in New York, so it just makes sense that he and Brett Veach have invested heavily in that unit.

Okafor will certainly challenge Emmanuel Ogbah for that starting defensive end spot opposite Frank Clark. It’s hard to anticipate that Okafor will reach double digit sack totals this season for the Chiefs, as the highest mark he’s reached is eight in 2014 while with the Cardinals.

That said, you never know with the amount of attention that Frank Clark and Chris Jones are going to command.

The main areas that Okafor can make an impact are being a sure tackler and his ability to get his hands up and bat balls down. He had a knack for making those kinds of plays in big moments for the Saints, especially in that 2017 season before he was lost the last six games to injury. He’s also a decent pass rusher at times and if he can hit that mark of four to six sacks this season, then he’s certainly doing his job.

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The Kansas City Chiefs defensive line has quickly become one of the teams strongest units with guys like Derrick Nnadi, Tanoh Kpassagnon, and Khalen Saunders having potential and adding depth.

If nothing else, this defense shouldn’t be as terrible against the run with this amount of big bodies up front. Alex Okafor is just another solid chess piece for Spagnuolo and this new look defense.