Drue Tranquill film review: The Chiefs grab a competent LB with a valuable skillset
Looking at the Chiefs' newest defender, who joins a crowded LB room but brings a skillset that could well force him onto the field.
If you had made me put money on what position groups the Chiefs were most likely to add a player with significant starting experience this offseason, linebacker may have been at the bottom of the list.
It’s not that the Chiefs were never going to sign a linebacker. After letting Darius Harris walk in free agency, they had a roster spot to fill there. However, my assumption was that they would grab a low-level signing, perhaps a developmental player who would be a potential core special teamer.
Instead, the Chiefs grabbed Drue Truanqill, a veteran linebacker with nearly 50 starts to his name and coming off the best season of his career.
The Chiefs have had plenty of chances to scout Tranquill since he was drafted in 2019, having played him multiple times over that span. In fact, Tranquill has been part of the Chargers’ (relative) defensive success against the Chiefs at times, with a skillset that… well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. I will say, though, that multiple analysts I respect were surprised that Tranquill was available for that price, in part because of what he does well.
The Chiefs linebacker group, on the surface, wasn’t an obvious place to add a player who played 93% of the snaps for his former team. With Nick Bolton, Willie Gay Jr., and Leo Chenal as incumbents, and with the group playing a pivotal role in the Chiefs’ Super Bowl win, there’s not an obvious path to playing time for Tranquill. But a player with that much starting experience feels unlikely to have signed somewhere without being pitched a plan for his usage.
So what does it mean? Well, it’s tough to know without getting a grasp on who Tranquill is as a player. So to the film we go. I looked at multiple games from 2022 to see where Tranquill wins, where he struggles and what he can add to the Chiefs’ defense in 2023. And the more I looked, the more (semi) certain I became that he’s going to force his way into snaps, regardless of where they come from.