The Chiefs signed defensive end Shilique Calhoun to their practice squad, according to the NFL’s transaction wire.
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Calhoun a Physical Specimen
What has piqued NFL teams’ interest in Calhoun is his athleticism given his size. During the 2016 NFL combine, Calhoun — standing at 6-foot-4, 251 pounds — recorded some elite numbers: 4.82 40-yard dash, 23 reps on the bench, 35-inch vertical, 9-foot-7 broad jump, 6.97 3-cone drill, and 4.25 short shuttle drill. Some of those numbers beat out fellow combine participants that have made a name for themselves in the NFL, like Joey Bosa, DeForest Buckner, Matt Judon, Yannick Ngakoue, and Kansas City’s own Chris Jones, per SB Nation.
Although Calhoun’s freakish athleticism turned him into a third-round draft pick of the Las Vegas Raiders in 2016, his abilities didn’t translate successfully onto an NFL field. In 51 games played during his career, Calhoun has recorded just 37 tackles, 13 quarterback hits, four tackles for loss, and two and a half sacks, per Pro Football Reference.
After three years with the Raiders, Calhoun joined the New England Patriots in 2017 and spent two seasons with them. On August 10, the San Francisco 49ers signed Calhoun, but on August 24 he was released.
Calhoun’s Fit With Chiefs
If Calhoun proves enough to be promoted to the 53-man roster, he will likely not serve any other purpose other than being a situational pass rusher for the defending AFC champions. As a player that does not excel at many things, getting to the quarterback is just about the only thing he will be able to do somewhat effectively for the Chiefs.
In the event that Calhoun was active on game day for Kansas City, that may give Jones more of an opportunity to shift inside to play defensive tackle, especially on third down. After being one of the league’s premier interior defenders over the last four years — sporting at least an 89 overall grade from PFF during that time span — Jones has graded out at 69.6 this season as an edge defender. The emergence of second-year defensive end Mike Danna — who has three sacks and a forced fumble this season — and Calhoun could be an opportunity for Jones to do what he does best — dominate from the inside.
Between Jones’ wrist injury that has kept him sidelined for the last two weeks and has hindered his play in previous games, and Frank’s Clark hamstring injury that has knocked him out of three total games and has also hindered his play, Kansas City has struggled to be a force in the trenches this season.
“The one thing that I would say about that is, and this happens to anybody in this league, any unit in this league especially when you start out that way, when you can’t get a number of games back-to-back where you’ve got units intact, the continuity is hard because there is a lot of that,” Chiefs defensive coordinator said on October 14 of the injuries along the defensive line. “Units function in this game that we’re in. Units have to function as a unit and there’s all kinds of feels and natural feels, and when you’ve played with somebody for a period of snaps, that happens. It’s been a little bit tough for us.”
Maybe Calhoun can help the Chiefs improve along the defensive line.