Is a 'Best Player Available' Scenario in Play for the Chiefs and Levi Onwuzurike?

Washington defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike was recently mocked to the Kansas City Chiefs. How much sense would that pick make?
Author:
Publish date:

Levi Onwuzurike - DT, Washington

By the numbers:

6'3", 293 pounds.

2019: 13 games played, 45 tackles (6 for loss), two sacks. Opted out of the 2020 season.

Positives:

Levi Onwuzurike is a tantalizing talent, so much so that NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah mocked the interior defensive lineman to the Chiefs with pick No. 32 in this year's NFL draft. The redshirt senior's athleticism immediately stands out on film as he explodes at the point of attack to set himself up nicely for the remainder of his rep. His length and burst make him a difficult assignment on a down-to-down basis.

Onwuzurike can get into the backfield when he wins and is quick enough to disrupt plays all around the line of scrimmage. His motor always revs high, which is a plus. While overall consistency is a question, Onwuzurike generates great power when leveraged and his raw traits make him a player with a very high ceiling.

Negatives:

For all the talent Onwuzurike possesses, he needs some seasoning in the NFL before he's ready to fully take off. There's nothing wrong with that, but it highlights some of the concerns surrounding his game. When his initial burst fails to catch opposing linemen off balance, he sometimes struggles to be dynamic and reactive with his subsequent plan. All of the pass-rush tools are there, but their usage remains an area of improvement.

Onwuzurike is inconsistent when it comes to his pad level as well. He creates a ton of power when it's low, but far too often, he straightens out and loses momentum. If he can fix that, as well as change where and how he uses his hands on a routine basis, that will take him to another level.

It's also worth noting that Onwuzurike hasn't played football in a year. His performance at the upcoming Senior Bowl will go a long way towards alleviating that concern. If he has a good showing there and tests well, his draft stock should rebound. 

How Onwuzurike fits with the Chiefs:

Many defended Onwuzurike being mocked to the Chiefs with the "best player available" (BPA) mantra. While that's a valid draft strategy, there are more pressing needs the team should address before taking a player who would sit behind Chris Jones and Derrick Nnadi on the depth chart. Onwuzurike is very talented and has immense potential, but the Chiefs simply don't need him right now. 

Final Thoughts:

Had this been a situation where Jones was entering the final year of his contract and an eventual replacement was needed, Onwuzurike would be a phenomenal pick. That isn't the case, though, and the Chiefs going BPA early in the draft doesn't make a ton of sense unless they make several moves in free agency. Onwuzurike receives a second-round grade and has a bright future ahead of him, but the jury is out on whether that future should be in Kansas City.

Read More: Arrowhead Report's 100 Players in 100 Days: A Kansas City Chiefs Draft Guide.