INDIANAPOLIS – The inside linebacker position may become a pressing need for the Chiefs within the next year.
Starters Derrick Johnson, who turns 33 in November, returns from an Achilles injury, and Joe Mays turns 30 in July. Johnson and Mays enter the final year of their respective contracts.
So it makes perfect sense for the Chiefs to begin exploring options at the NFL Scouting Combine in preparation for the 2014 NFL Draft.
One possibility could be Georgia inside linebacker Ramik Wilson, who told ChiefsDigest.com he has a formal interview with the Chiefs, among other teams, scheduled for Friday night.
The 6-2, 237-pound Wilson said he can play the middle, strong side or weakside linebacker positions in a 3-4 or 4-3 base defense.
Wilson started the last two years at Georgia and finished his college career with 253 tackles (140 solo), six sacks, four passes defensed and two forced fumbles. He notched 100-plus tackle seasons during his junior and senior seasons, respectively.
The versatile linebacker is also comfortable rushing the passer.
“I sat behind a great pass rusher, Jarvis Jones, when he was at Georgia,” Wilson said. “I learned behind him, learned everything. On third downs this year, I played outside linebacker and had the opportunities to rush, so I’m well-prepared.”
Of course, the Chiefs already have a former Georgia Bulldog manning an outside linebacker spot in Justin Houston, whose 22 sacks in 2014 led the NFL, in addition to Tamba Hali and Dee Ford.
Wilson took it in stride when reminded of Houston’s presence.
“Yeah,” Wilson said with a laugh. “I don’t think I’ll be playing outside linebacker for the Chiefs.”
CBS Sports and NFLDraftScout.com rank Wilson as the fourth-best inside linebacker draft prospect and project him as a third- or fourth-round pick.
Wilson said he already had a formal interview with the Green Bay Packers as a middle linebacker in a 3-4, and a formal interview with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a middle and weakside linebacker in a 4-3.
Regardless of team or position the native of Tampa, Fla., eventually lands, he hopes he leaves a lasting impression with prospective employers, such as the Chiefs, after the interview process.
“I want them to know I’m very passionate about the game,” Wilson said. “I’ll do whatever it takes to be great and I’m ready at all times to do anything to find a new role on a new team.”