With all the recent talk of Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones kicking out to defensive end, many have fantasized about the potential matchup nightmares Jones could create as he does move very well for a person of his size. Offenses would also be kept on their toes because they wouldn’t know where Jones would be on the line and Jones’ ability to shed blocks would maximize his run defense if he were to play on the edge.
Basically, there’s a ton of good reasons to move Jones out to edge rusher. However, I wanted to highlight some of the reasons the K.C. Chiefs should be careful in how they utilize Jones as an edge rusher and why it may not be the best idea.
First of all, Chris Jones is already the best pass-rushing defensive tackle in the league behind Aaron Donald. He is most disruptive from the middle and it would be somewhat of a shame if the Chiefs were to gradually reduce Jones’ snaps at defensive tackle.
While I understand that the signing of Jarran Reed allows the Chiefs flexibility in how they line up Jones, the Chiefs should take advantage of having two good pass-rushers in the middle.
The other issue with moving Jones to the outside is that it may lead to the Chiefs relying too much on Jones to get them all of their edge pressure. We all know the pressure rate from the edge position on the Chiefs has seen a steady decline over the last few years and 2020 was part of that. That being said, the Chiefs didn’t do all that much to solidify the position group. The only new addition they made was that of Joshua Kaindoh, a 5th round draft pick who may or may not succeed.
I don’t doubt Jones will be good from the edge and that’s part of my concern, is the edge position really so thin to the point they feel like they had to move Chris Jones outside? Why not just admit you need help at the position and sign a proven veteran like Melvin Ingram or Justin Houston? That way you can have a well-rounded group that allows both Reed and Jones to wreak havoc from the middle while still maintaining a threat on the edge?
Also, Chris Jones is great at beating his man and also beating double-teams on the inside, but there were some games it became too much as offenses focused on Jones as there was no one else doing enough for teams to worry about (looking at you Frank Clark). If he is out on the edge he’ll likely still face a lot of double-teams and it is a question as to how he will be able to handle those on the outside.
There’s always the possibility Jones gets hurt as well and the Chiefs should avoid adding more to Jones’ plate to minimize risk of injury because the Chiefs would be in real trouble if Jones were to go down.
Obviously, the Chiefs plan to only use Jones on the outside for a small percentage of snaps as of right now, but they need to make sure they don’t become too reliant on Jones moving around the line in order to generate pass-rush.