Rebels’ Speaks to Kansas City

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 22: Breeland Speaks #9 of the Mississippi Rebels celebrates during the first half of a game against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium on October 22, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Chiefs selected Ole Miss defensive end Breeland Speaks after trading up to the 46th pick Friday night, ending their long wait to improve their defense in the second round of the NFL draft.

The Chiefs did not have a first-round pick after trading it away last season to select quarterback Patrick Mahomes II. So that meant new general manager Brett Veach had to watch everybody else, including their AFC West rivals, fill their holes before the Chiefs could do the same.

They filled a big one with a 6-foot-3, 285-pound edge rusher.

The Chiefs struggled to pressure the quarterback and stop the run last year, ranking toward the bottom of the league in both categories. Speaks played across the defensive line at Ole Miss, and that versatility should come in handy as the Chiefs try to solve both of those issues.

Kansas City traded the 54th and 78th picks to the Cincinnati Bengals to move up eight spots and grab the second-team All-SEC defensive lineman. The Chiefs also got the 100th overall pick in the deal.

Speaks started twice at defensive tackle as a freshman, then became a regular for the Rebels as a sophomore. He appeared in all 12 games last season, starting at defensive tackle and finishing the season at defensive end, and piled up 67 tackles and seven sacks.