KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Inside linebacker was a glaring need entering the 2015 NFL Draft.
The Chiefs, after all, only had Derrick Johnson, Josh Mauga, James-Michael Johnson and JoJo Dickson on the roster.
The quartet now has company after the Chiefs added much-needed depth with the fourth-round selection (118th overall) of Georgia inside linebacker Ramik Wilson.
“He’s big, he’s fast and he can run and hit,” said Dom Green, Chiefs assistant director of college scouting. “Those are the things that jump out on you on tape when you’re watching him.”
Wilson projects as an inside linebacker in the Chiefs’ 3-4 base defense, and Green complimented Wilson’s coverage skills, instincts, arm length and catch radius.
And it appears the Chiefs used the selection with a view to the future.
“With (linebackers) coach (Gary) Gibbs coaching him up,” Green said, “teaching him all those things, there’s no question we see him as a three-down guy.”
That the Chiefs were interested in Wilson shouldn’t surprise.
Wilson had a formal interview with the Chiefs at the NFL Scouting Combine, the Chiefs were at his Pro Day workout, and Wilson had a feeling the attention level from One Arrowhead Drive was rising leading to the draft.
“My position coach (Mike Ekeler) back at Georgia – me and him communicated a lot – he told me the Chiefs had great interest in me,” Wilson said in a media conference call. “He was like, they’re going to keep doing their research on me, he was like I may get blessed and they might pick me.”
The 6-2, 237-pound Wilson started the past two seasons at Georgia, finishing his career with 253 tackles (140 solo), six sacks, four passes defensed and two forced fumbles. He recorded 100-plus tackle seasons during his junior and senior seasons, respectively.
Wilson, a native of Tampa, Fla., joins a Chiefs run defense that ranked 28th in the league in 2014, allowing 127.2 yards rushing per game, with Johnson out for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Johnson, of course, returns and Wilson looks forward to learning from the 11-year pro.
“It’s going to be great,” Wilson said. “He’s a Pro Bowler, great teammate, great team leader. I think he’s perfect for someone to learn under. I can’t wait to work with him.”
Wilson is the second Georgia player selected by the Chiefs in the draft, joining third-round pick wide receiver Chris Conley.
The Chiefs also drafted former Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray in 2014, defensive back Sanders Commings in 2013 and outside linebacker Justin Houston in 2011, all of whom should give Wilson a friendly environment when he arrives.
“I think it’s a great fit,” Wilson said. “We got former Bulldogs there and I’m just ready to learn the playbook and meet my new teammates and get to work.”
Herbie Teope is the lead beat writer and reporter for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: