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Wile_E_Coyote
04-29-2006, 10:12 PM
Posted on Sat, Apr. 29, 2006

Chiefs take pass rusher from Penn State in first round

DOUG TUCKER

Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The defensively challenged Kansas City Chiefs took dead aim at their biggest weakness in the first two rounds of the NFL draft Saturday.

In round one, they made Penn State defensive end Tamba Hali the 20th player taken, hoping to upgrade pass-rush skills that have been among the weakest in the league. Then with their second-round choice, they opted for Bernard Pollard, a 224-pound hitter from Purdue who will challenge to start at either free or strong safety.

"What we've been able to do at this point in the draft, we brought two players in here who will bring a physical presence to our defense," said coach Herman Edwards.

"When you get young, athletic guys at their positions that are tough, physical football players, you become a better defense. Both our players, Hali and Pollard ... they're passionate about playing football."

In the third and final round on Saturday the Chiefs pulled off a bit of a surprise and opted for quarterback Brodie Croyle of Alabama. The 6-foot-2, 206-pounder completed 183 of 308 passes for 2,224 yards and 13 touchdowns his senior season.

Hali, 6-3 and 275 pounds, "has the ability to rush from the outside, to rush inside," said Edwards. "He'll make guys better around him on the defensive line. And you can't say enough about his character."

Hali hopes his bonus money can help bring his mother and sister out of the danger they live with on a daily basis in the war-torn African nation of Liberia. He came to the United States at the age of 10 with his father, a chemistry and physics teacher.

"I always feel she's in danger because she's in a country that's about 80 percent unemployed and just coming off a war," he said. "You could walk somewhere, and you never know what can happen. That's why I fear for her life."

Hali is 10th in Penn State history with 36 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He had four sacks against Wisconsin in 2005, tying the school record. He had 11 altogether as a senior.

He joins a defense that had only one dependable pass rusher. Defensive end Jared Allen had 11 sacks, and nobody else had more than four.
In his senior season, Hali had 65 tackles, 17 for a loss.

"We drafted a guy who will come in and set the tempo for our defensive line," Edwards said. "Even though he's a rookie, I think the way he plays, his effort, his passion for the game, you can't coach that. He plays with a heavy heart."

The knock on Hali is his size. He has also been criticized for a lack of speed.

"I think the type of player I am, I bring my relentless spirit onto the field and be able to contribute to our defense out there, just help them become a better defense every game - play strong and try to be a leader on the field and off the field," he said.

Pollard will provide competition for starting safeties Greg Wesley and Sammy Knight. Veteran Jerome Woods, who was inactive and on the injured list much of last year, is probably going to be released.

One big need still to be addressed, however, was cornerback, someone to line up alongside Patrick Surtain. Many had thought cornerback would be Kansas City's top priority.

"We're talking about corner, corner, corner. But when you really think about us, that position is kind of light, the safety position," Edwards said.

"We have 12 (cornerbacks) right now on our roster, believe it or not. You don't always have to go early in the draft to get a corner. We have some guys here who we've drafted already on this football team that play that position. There's a lot of ways you can build your football team.

"We went in this draft thinking that if these guys were available at these picks, we'd be very, very excited about getting them."

Edwards said Hali plays with a "heavy heart" because of what he has been through as a youngster in a country ravaged by war.

"When we have a pity party for ourselves and think we've got it tough, all you've got to do is look at this guy and understand what he's gone through as a young man, as a person, and what he's persevered in his life," Edwards said.

"It kind of makes you understand the little ups and downs we might have in our lives sometimes are nothing compared to what this guy's gone through so far in his life. He's a guy with a great upside for us, and we expect him to be a very, very good player."

The Chiefs were left without a proven backup to Trent Green when Todd Collins left via free agency. Croyle, who missed most of the 2004 season with a knee injury, will start off behind Damon Huard, who is now considered No. 2. Croyle admits he knows little about Kansas City.

"I've flown through there before and flown over there and it seemed like a great place," Croyle said. "You can't beat the atmosphere that Kansas City has."

cdcox
04-29-2006, 10:31 PM
"I've flown through there before and flown over there and it seemed like a great place," Croyle said. "You can't beat the atmosphere that Kansas City has."

ROFL

NaptownChief
04-29-2006, 10:36 PM
I think Hali was a great break to have him at 20....I wouldn't be the least bit shocked if five years from now he has a better career than the #1 overall pick....Pollard is a good talent but a problem child I don't think we needed to gamble on. Derrick Hagan would have been a great choice at that point as would Eric Winston considering the age of our line. Croyle I could take or leave...I think he is solid value in the third round and think he fits a need but CB and WR sure seem like a bigger need to address at that point.

Cave Johnson
04-29-2006, 10:39 PM
"I've flown through there before and flown over there and it seemed like a great place," Croyle said. "You can't beat the atmosphere that Kansas City has."

I guess he likes KCI.

DomerNKC
04-29-2006, 11:04 PM
no, by flying over kc, he has seen the city through the atmosphere. i guess it was good.