KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If any doubts remained that the Chiefs needed a replenishment in their defensive front seven, the club’s first two selections of the 2018 draft silenced that debate.
The Chiefs made their second draft-day trade Friday evening, moving up in the third round in selecting Florida State defensive lineman Derrick Nnadi. The move followed the Chiefs trading up earlier in the second round to select defensive end Breeland Speaks from Mississippi.
Nandi fits the model of an interior lineman, standing at 6-foot-1, 317 pounds. He collected 9 1/2 sacks and 20 1/2 tackles for loss along with 90 tackles during his final two seasons at Florida State.
The Chiefs interviewed Nnadi at the combine. He spoke with defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, defensive line coach Britt Reid and some of the team’s players. He hopes to compete for playing time immediately in the team’s defensive line rotation.
“I’m coming in trying to learn as much as I can,” Nnadi said, “and as soon as I can take as much as I can to either becoming a starter or an impact player.”
The son of Nigerian immigrants, Nnadi played 48 games during his four-year college career with 37 starts. He received third-team all-ACC recognition his senior season.
The Chiefs acquired free agent Xavier Williams during the offseason from Arizona. They have compiled a group of journeyman defensive tackles behind Williams, including Stefan Charles, Justin Hamilton and Mike Purcell. But Nnadi could played a significant role in the defensive line rotation as a run stopper.
Analyst Dan Brugler with NFL Draft Scout tabbed Nnadi with a third-round grade as his 92nd-ranked prospect in his draft guide. He praised Nnadi’s backfield field vision and ability to handle double teams at nose guard.
“However, his traits don’t consistently translate as a pass rusher, struggling to patch together a threatening attack,” Burgler wrote. “Overall, Nnadi isn’t much of a gap penetrator, but he is a consistent run stuffer who will clog up the middle and handle two-gapping responsibilities.”
Nnadi described himself as a player focused on the fundamentals and consistency.
“I’m really disciplined in everything I do,” Nnadi said. “I feel like everything I do really comes from technique, and that’s one thing I’ve always worked on. Everything I do is really technique and everything else is just follow through after that.”