It’s no secret that the Kansas City Chiefs’ largest 2022 concern lies at edge rusher. We’ve discussed this talking point a lot because it is the greatest question mark on the roster heading into training camp.
NFL analyst Ben Linsey recently agreed, labeling the “defensive front” as KC’s biggest weakness during an article on ESPN. He explained: “[The D-line] ended the regular season ranked 20th in team pressure rate (32%), with Jones and Frank Clark standing out as the only two players to clear 30 pressures on the year. Kansas City also ended the 2021 season ranked 28th in EPA [expected points added] allowed per run play.”
The Chiefs need to find depth behind Clark and rookie George Karlaftis, and Arrowhead Pride writer Rocky Magana suggested an affordable solution.
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Nassib Could Provide Experienced Depth
“If the Chiefs decide they don’t want to invest draft capital in bringing in another edge rusher, they could kick the tires on one of the guys remaining in free agency,” Magana began.
Continuing: “At 6 feet 7 and 275 pounds, Carl Nassib is the ideal size for a Steve Spagnuolo defensive end. He has 11 sacks over the last three years and plays with good power and energy at the point of attack. Still just 29, Nassib could probably be had for less than $2 million at this point in his career.”
The journeyman pass rusher has bounced around the NFL since being drafted 65th overall in 2016. After beginning his career with the Cleveland Browns, Nassib played two seasons for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and another two for the division-rival Las Vegas Raiders, which was his most recent stop from 2020 through 2021.
He has spent more time as a 4-3 defensive end than a 3-4 outside linebacker throughout his NFL tenure and would certainly fit Spagnuolo’s system. The question mark is the production.
Nassib’s best two seasons came with the Bucs, logging 12.5 sacks and 25 quarterback hits in two years. With the Raiders, his output regressed to four sacks and 13 QB hits but to be fair, his snap share was significantly lower with Las Vegas.
So, would a Nassib signing help Kansas City?
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With Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue as the starters, Nassib had trouble finding the field in 2021 but his pass-rushing efficiency was decent according to Pro Football Focus.
The backup defensive end contributed 14 quarterback pressures at a win rate of 12.4%, which wasn’t too far below a big-money edge rusher like Ngakoue. His “PRP” score — defined as the amount of pressure accumulated per pass-rushing snap — of 6.6 was even closer.
By KC comparison, these analytics were practically on par with Clark and ex-Chiefs trade acquisition Melvin Ingram in 2021.
|Frank Clark||12.6% win rate||6.4 PRP|
|Melvin Ingram||13.5% win rate||6.0 PRP|
Nassib also outperformed depth pass rushers like Mike Danna and Joshua Kaindoh by a wide margin in terms of efficiency.
The former Raider didn’t embarrass himself as a run defender either. In fact, you might call it a strength. He kept his missed tackle percentage down at 4.8% with one lone mistake in that department for the season and his defensive “stop” percentage led Las Vegas at 11.6%.
Nassib allowed an average depth of tackle of 2.1 yards. Superstar Chris Jones only had an average depth of tackle of 2.3 yards allowed — worse than Nassib — and a stop percentage of 4.4%.
Lastly, the potential free-agent target has also put in time on special teams as a kick return blocker and field goal rusher/blocker. Nassib earned a 64.0 special teams grade from PFF for 101 total snaps.