Kansas City Chiefs: Alex Okafor quietly an important offseason addition

Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images /

Do not sleep on the Kansas City Chiefs’ offseason addition of edge rusher Alex Okafor.

The Kansas City Chiefs had arguably the best offense in the entire NFL last season. With Andy Reid calling plays and Patrick Mahomes leading the offense, the Chiefs were nearly unstoppable last season. Their incredibly explosive offensive nearly led them to the Super Bowl, but they were consistently held back by their less than stellar defensive unit.

Instead of just sitting back and hoping for the best, the Kansas City Chiefs aggressively added to the defensive side of the ball this offseason. Perhaps most importantly, they moved on from defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, replacing him with Steve Spagnuolo.

Spagnuolo is a much-more respected NFL defensive mind and his 4-3 defense should fit the Chiefs’ current personnel extremely well. The Chiefs were also able to bring in two defensive stars who should be able to immediately take the unit to the next level, defensive back Tyrann Mathieu and edge rusher Frank Clark.

Both Mathieu and Clark are among the best players at their position and will be able to step up make plays when the Chiefs need them to the most. The additions of Spagnuolo, Mathieu and Clark are exciting, but let’s not sleep on the more minor defensive additions made by the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason. In particular, edge rusher Alex Okafor stands out as a nice under-the-radar signing.

Okafor entered free agency after starting all 16 regular-season games and both playoff games for the New Orleans Saints last season. He has never been the type to put up gaudy numbers, but Okafor is a rock-solid edge defender who provides value against the run and in the pass rush.

The Chiefs signed Okafor to a three-year, $17.9 million contract this offseason, with the ability to get out of the deal after each year without many cap issues. Simply put, he is a guy who they can count on to provide quality snaps across from Clark and his contract is never going to be much of a salary cap issue.

Okafor is an incredibly powerful player who sets the edge well, can maintain leverage against blockers and has useful upside as a pass rusher. With the Saints the past two seasons and Arizona Cardinals earlier in his career, Okafor was used a lot in stunt situations as a pass rusher and he showed up well in those particular scenarios.

He is a patient rusher who does a nice job of waiting for the offensive lineman to be fooled by the stunt before penetrating through to create pressure on the quarterback. Spagnuolo loves to use the stunt game up front, which fits extremely well with Okafor’s skill set.

With Clark and defensive tackle Chris Jones commanding so much attention up front, there will be an opportunity for another Chiefs’ pass rusher to wreak havoc in 2019. Okafor may not be the flashiest player, but he has enough talent to make the most out of this fantastic opportunity.

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In Okafor, the Chiefs did a fantastic job of finding a rock-solid defensive lineman who they can count on against the run and as a pass rusher. With the other talented players up front, Okafor is unlikely to command a ton of attention from opposing offenses, allowing him to make a consistent impact on the field. Simply put, do not sleep on this guy. Okafor is going to be an impact player for the Chiefs in 2019.