Of all the Kansas City Chiefs 2021 draft picks and their expectations, 4th round pick Joshua Kaindoh out of Florida State University seems to be the most difficult to project. The 6’6″, 260 lbs prospect was a top recruit coming out of high school and was seen as one of the best defensive end prospects in all of the nation at one point.
However, Kaindoh went on to have an underwhelming career at Florida State where he tallied just 59 total tackles, 16.5 TFL, and 8 sacks. Considering Kaindoh was a five-star recruit and had an impressive athletic profile coming into the college ranks, that’s a disappointing turnout.
Nevertheless, The Chiefs organization decided to take a chance on Kaindoh because of that athletic profile and the upside that came with it. Kaindoh has all the tools to become a great player at the next level but he needs help to unlock that ability that everyone knows he has. The size, length, athleticism, and motor is all there and that’s evident in his RAS score which evaluates players based on a combination of explosiveness, speed, size, etc.
Drafting a player like Kaindoh, the Chiefs are taking a pretty big leap of faith. Does he have the potential to be a truly great NFL defensive end? Absolutely. There’s also a world where Kaindoh completely busts as well. In fact, we have a recent example in the Chiefs taking a chance on a guy like Kaindoh in Tanoh Kpassagnon who was a physical freak coming out of Villanova. Kpassagnon showed some occasional flashes but overall, he didn’t live up to the 2nd round pick pedigree which is ultimately why he was let go this past offseason.
That’s what makes the Kaindoh pick so hard to gauge. Kaindoh is no different than any other draft pick in which all of them basically have a 50/50 chance of being good or bad but most guys you can easily set a baseline for or have a good idea of what their floor is at the very least. Anyone that says they know what Kaindoh’s floor is would be lying. Heck, there’s a chance he doesn’t even make the roster.
What is an ideal rookie season for Joshua Kaindoh?
So, what are realistic expectations for Kaindoh as a rookie? Granted, what I’m about to say could end up looking silly in several weeks if Kaindoh ends up just landing on the practice squad, but I believe there’s a solid chance Kaindoh can have a Mike Danna level impact as a rookie.
It appears that Kansas City Chiefs defensive line coach Brendan Daly has an eye for guys that other teams may not value all that high but still have the ability to produce. Mike Danna is an example of that. I don’t think anyone knew who Mike Danna was before the Chiefs nabbed him in the 5th round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Danna was a rotational lineman at Michigan and hardly had any stats to his name, but he was able to play quality snaps in 2020 and showed ability to set the edge in relief of the Chiefs starters.
Considering that Danna was able to perform as well as he did as a rookie 5th-rounder and Joshua Kaindoh has five times the upside of Danna, I think it would be a little disappointing if Kaindoh couldn’t crack the rotation and show some flashes as a rookie. From a numbers perspective, a handful of tackles and a few sacks from the edge along with some run-stopping ability would be a welcome addition to the defensive end room.
Going back to the idea that Brendan Daly has a knack for developing and getting the best out of a lot of his ends, he’s going to have some pressure on him to develop Kaindoh because that’s essentially what the pick comes down to.
The Chiefs pretty clearly drafted Kaindoh with the mentality “he has the talent but clearly hasn’t reached his ceiling. Hopefully our coaches can help him get there”. It’s always possible Kaindoh is just a late bloomer or didn’t get the proper coaching in college. It’s not farfetched to say considering Florida State consistently recruits in the top 20 nationally but has had a losing record over the last several years. Kiandoh may have simply picked the wrong school to develop his talents.
Overall, Kaindoh’s expectations remain unclear and range from nothing to something depending on who you ask. He will certainly be a player for fans to keep an eye on at training camp and just how much the team utilizes him in scrimmages.