KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – The Chiefs began bolstering their defense in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday night, selecting defensive end Tanoh Kpassgnon out of Villanova with the 59th overall pick.
The 6-foot-6, 289-pound Kpassgnon is the first player chosen from the Football Championship Subdivision school since offensive lineman Ben Ijalana in 2001. But despite playing at a smaller school, his raw athleticism and impressive Senior Bowl performance put him on many draft radars.
The Chiefs chose quarterback Patrick Mahomes II with their first-round pick Thursday night.
Much like Mahomes, who will be given time to develop behind Alex Smith, the Chiefs will expect a certain learning curve for their new edge rusher. Kpassagnon didn’t play football until the sixth grade, preferring instead to play soccer – until his buddies began to get interested.
His mother was against it for a while, but she ultimately signed him up.
He was lightly recruited and wound up at Villanova, where he piled up 45 tackles, 11 sacks and 21 1/2 tackles for a loss during his senior season with the Wildcats.
“The biggest transition is that everybody is going to be good. There’s no bad players in the NFL,” he said. “Just put me out there and I’ll make some plays. I’m ready.”
Kansas City also had needs at running back and middle linebacker, where Derrick Johnson is coming off a second ruptured Achilles tendon. But when Ohio State’s Raekwon McMillan went to Miami and fellow linebacker Zach Cunningham of Vanderbilt was chosen by Houston just ahead of the Chiefs’ only third-round selection, the Chiefs decided to fill address another of their glaring holes.
They recently released starter Jaye Howard, who missed much of last season with a hip injury, and offseason signing Bennie Logan could become a free agent after next season.
“I might have and a couple of interviews with them, but I didn’t have any private workouts,” he said. “They didn’t show as much interest as other teams. It was kind of a surprise.”
The Chiefs still had a third-round pick to make Friday night.