The Kansas City Chiefs started Monday morning with a new roster move, signing defensive end Matt Dickerson.
“Chiefs Digest” beat reporter Matt Derrick tweeted out the news, noting that Dickerson was “wearing No. 96 this morning” at practice. He added that KC “waived DE [Shilique] Calhoun to make space.”
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Dickerson Began NFL Career With Titans
A former four-star recruit and top-25 defensive end prospect, Dickerson committed to Notre Dame before deciding to stay closer to home at UCLA.
NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein described him ahead of the 2018 offseason: “Dickerson is a hard-charging defensive lineman who may be better suited to a role as a 3-4 end. He plays hard but may not have a natural position or scheme fit as a pro. His lack of pass rush will likely hurt his draft stock, but he has enough upper body strength and quality handwork to give him a shot as a replacement-level backup.”
So far, that projection has held true to form for the eventual undrafted prospect. The 23-year-old began his NFL career with the Tennessee Titans in 2018, remaining on their active roster through the 2020 campaign.
With the Titans, Dickerson accumulated 15 tackles (one for a loss) and two QB hits over 18 games — per Pro Football Reference. He has never had a sack at the professional level.
Dickerson turns 27 in November and spent last summer with the division rival Las Vegas Raiders. In the end, he did not make the 53-man roster joining the Arizona Cardinals practice squad later that season. The NFC West contender decided to release him on July 30.
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Calhoun Gets the Boot
The edge defender and special teamer never got an opportunity in 2021 despite latching onto the Chiefs practice squad. On the current depth chart, Calhoun fell behind players like Elijah Lee and Leo Chenal at linebacker, as well as Mike Danna and Malik Herring at defensive end.
He never really found favor with KC special teams coordinator Dave Toub either, despite his background in that area.
Calhoun’s appeared in 51 career games according to Pro Football Reference, split between the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots. Although he logged 56 tackles and 2.5 sacks over that span, the journeyman also just turned 30 in March.
After a season spent on the sidelines, the role player’s best days could be behind him.
As for Kansas City, general manager Brett Veach continues to search for any and all talent at the pass rusher position. Dickerson joins recent pickups like Azur Kamara and of course, veteran Carlos Dunlap.
Behind starters Frank Clark, George Karlaftis, and the aforementioned Dunlap, the Chiefs currently run seven-deep at defensive end. Those players will compete for backup roles on the 53-man roster, as well as potential practice squad spots.
They are; Danna, Herring, Joshua Kaindoh, Kamara, Austin Edwards, Kehinde Oginni Hassan and Dickerson.
As of now, the early leaders for active duty appear to be Danna and either Kaindoh or Herring, but a lot can still change as these players gain opportunities during the three preseason games. Between Dickerson, Kamara, Oginni Hassan and Edwards, it will be interesting to see which prospects can make a name for themselves in August.