The Kansas City Chiefs may have an undrafted free agent gem on their hands in former Iowa Hawkeyes outside linebacker Ben Niemann…
The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t have a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but they set out to upgrade their defensive front seven in a big way with some of their highest draft selections.
They started things off by taking athletic defensive end Breeland Speaks out of Ole Miss in the second round and followed that up with picks of Derrick Nnadi and Dorian O’Daniel in the third round.
After the draft, however, is when the Chiefs may have gotten themselves a real gem. They brought in former Iowa Hawkeyes outside linebacker Ben Niemann as an undrafted free agent, and Niemann has a skill-set that translates very well to the next level in my opinion.
Niemann has been a starter for the Hawkeyes for the past three seasons and was a key piece of a defense that was one of the Big Ten’s best over that period of time.
Unlike his former Iowa teammate and now NFL rival Josey Jewell, Niemann was not the type of back to mix it up between the tackles on every play.
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As a matter of fact, it felt rare to see him playing in the box at all.
After working very closely on a number of Iowa games this past season, I noticed an interesting trend about Niemann and the Hawkeyes in general.
It didn’t matter what kind of offense Iowa was facing — they rarely took Niemann off the field and would utilize him almost as a nickel defensive back.
Niemann didn’t always line up directly opposite slot receivers, but he would split out extremely wide and often play well away from the box.
Because of that, Niemann’s numbers as a tackler weren’t wild — he finished his Hawkeyes career with 199 and a career-high 77 this past season — but he still managed to make plays behind the line of scrimmage with 16 tackles for loss, and he really made an impact in coverage.
He had nine pass breakups over the past two seasons and two interceptions.
I think Niemann will make it very difficult for the Chiefs to cut him when the time comes. He’s got all the tools needed to make an impact at the next level.