When Breeland Speaks declared early for the draft, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. He had been quite good after moving to the defensive end spot, but without a full season of work at the position, I thought teams might undervalue him. They might not realize how athletic he was, given his size.
I was wrong.
Speaks was selected 46th overall in the second round by the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday night after they traded up to get him. The Chiefs are filling up on SEC players in their front seven with Georgia’s Justin Houston, Mississippi State’s Chris Jones, Alabama’s Reggie Ragland, and Auburn’s Dee Ford all playing close to the line of scrimmage.
Courtesy of Marcellus Speaks, here's the moment @Footba1Callaway and @OleMissFB product Breeland Speaks was drafted by the Chiefs. pic.twitter.com/xUXvD7UpCM— TJ Werre (@TJ_WJTV) April 28, 2018
It’s important to note that Kansas City runs a 3-4 defense (three defensive linemen and four linebackers) which yields an interesting thought on where Speaks may fit in, at least at first. While Speaks only played DE and DT at Ole Miss, the Chiefs think he could play linebacker in Kansas City.
Andy Reid said Breeland Speaks will start his career as an outside linebacker. He loved his athleticism & core strength.— Nate Taylor (@ByNateTaylor) April 28, 2018
ESPN’s NFL Draft guru and all things chins and foreheads Mel Kiper, Jr. is certainly a fan of our favorite waving son. He was adamant about Speaks’ ability after he was selected, noting he was the “the most underrated defensive player” in the 2018 NFL Draft. Which is something that makes sense if you think about it, given Breeland’s up-and-down tenure in Oxford. There have been flashes but not all the time. The effort needs to stay consistent and the technique can certainly always get better.
I’m not sure I see it, but I’m not a coach, so maybe I’m just missing something. Speaks is a great lineman, though, and I’m very happy that leaving early proved to be a strong decision for the Jackson native.
But, to all the haters out there (of which there are many) ...