The Chiefs have started to rebuild their pass rush by signing defensive end Alex Okafor. Okafor’s new contract with the Chiefs is for 3 years/$18 million and he can make up to $24 million in incentives.
Okafor, a former 4th round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals, was Arizona’s next selection after new Chief signee Tyrann Mathieu. So those two will be reuniting this year in Kansas City. He did not see the field much in his rookie season with the Cardinals, as he only played in one game that year. Since then though, Okafor’s production has been pretty consistent.
In both 2014 and 2015 respectively, he managed to play in 13 games. His tackle numbers were 30 and 31 in those two single season. That 2014 total of 8 sacks remains his career high for him so far. In 2016, his last year with the Cardinals, Okafor saw a dip in tackles. But his presence in the pass rush was still a boost to Arizona, as around a third of his tackles were sacks.
In 2017, Okafor moved on to the New Orleans Saints and instantly received a big role. He seemed to thrive in this new environment. Things were going good that year, until he suffered a torn Achilles. Still in 10 games, Okafor notched a new career high in tackles (43), and had his most sacks since 2014 (4.5). He played his first full 16 game season last year, and had another steady season.
He is the perfect type of defender that someone like Steve Spagnuolo will like up front, being 6’4’’ and 260 pounds. This shows the Chiefs will me willing to mix and match and use multiple defensive fronts with the new scheme. His sack numbers are not always going to be the focal point, but his pressure is a huge boost. Pro Football Focus has recorded him in having 29 or more pressures in all of the last 5 seasons. PFF also rates him as an above average run defender who misses very few tackles.
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Okafor is not going to be the type of pass rusher like say Dee Ford was to the Chiefs. He’s more of a power rusher, and is patient in identifying where a play is going. This makes him just as good as a run defender, as it does a pass rusher. Okafor’s tape shows that he is not a flashy player. But, he does his job well and works hard to constantly make tackles. As general manager Brett Veach stated before, they’re not done in building the perfect defense for the new defensive staff. Let’s see what happens next.
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