The nose tackle in a 3-4 defense is arguably the most important position in the 3-4 defense. He clogs lanes, lines up directly against the big centers and is really the key to the whole defense.
So how do the Kansas City Chiefs stand with the nose tackle?
It's not the perfect situation but there is promise. There's just too many ifs for me.
Here's the rundown on the Chiefs nose tackles.
He'll enter training camp and more than likely the starter at this position.
He played the nose for the Chiefs in 2009 and did an okay job. He wasn't great but he wasn't the worst player on the field either.
At age 31, he's hardly the future so a lot of Chiefs fans would prefer someone else play here. But being young doesn't always mean being more talented. Edwards is a veteran and understands what's necessary to prepare for the position.
Look for him to be the starter in 2010. I'd be cautious against betting someone takes his job.
Now he's one of the more interesting players on the Chiefs roster.
Smith had one of his best year as a pro under Romeo Crennel and the Browns in 2007. In fact, some argued he should've been a Pro Bowler.
Three years later and quite a bit has changed with him. He's now the backup on another Crennel-coached defense and his career never took off like some thought it would.
So what's next for Smith?
He'll be given the opportunity to beat out Edwards for the starting job. Logic would suggest Crennel had a say in the Chiefs signing him so Crennel's probably put a little bit of his own reputation at stake here meaning he has extra motivation to see Smith succeed.
We can't make any bold declarations about his role with the 2010 Chiefs because OTAs and practice in pads can only tell you so much but I'm guessing he'll end up as the backup to Edwards.
He's listed at 6'1" and 300 pounds in the latest roster update. He was signed, released and then re-signed with the Chiefs last year so the fact that they brought him back suggests there's a glimmer of hope there.
While it would be nice to see Lokey make a run at the starting job, it's hard to think that's possible right now. More than likely, he's part of the rotation in camp and maybe he can find a spot on the roster in a reserve role but that's questionable.
He can play defensive end and nose tackle. For some reason, the Chiefs had him listed in the 260 pound range last year which was clearly inaccurate. They list him now at 6'5" and 310 pounds so the size is there to be a nose tackle.
But, like Lokey, he's a long shot as a starter. Gales saw some time at nose tackle last year (remember the Kenny Smith era?) and that's where he'll be in 2010 -- as a reserve.
He can also play some defensive end which should help his chances of making the roster.
Like Gales, he can also play defensive end.
There's not a whole lot to go by with him. There's not much you can tell from defensive linemen during OTAs and drills in shorts so my hunch is that he's camp fodder and will have a difficult time making the team.
The key to this group will be Smith. He's got the best chance of being the future nose tackle considering Edwards' age and the limitations of Lokey and Gales.
if Smith can't establish himself as the clear starter, then Chiefs fans can start scouting nose tackles in the 2011 draft.