Two talented defensive linemen hope to make the Chiefs roster after they lost much of 2021 to injury. Is there enough room for both of them?
The 2022 NFL Regular Season is nearly upon us so that means it is roster cutdown time. The signing of Danny Shelton has made for even fewer spots open for defensive linemen. As a result, we find Joshua Kaindoh and Malik Herring locked in a close battle for one of those precious open spots. How will the camp battle shake out along the Kansas City defense?
Both Chiefs Defenders Enter 2022 Healthier And Eager To Play
Kaindoh is a fourth-rounder from the 2021 NFL Draft out of Florida State who made three appearances for the Chiefs last year after being lost to injured reserve for most of the year with a high ankle sprain. He came off the IR in December but did not show up in a game the rest of the way. He is fresh and ready to go this preseason but had a slow start, not recording a stat in the first preseason game.
He showed up more in the second game, recording three tackles and a tipped pass along with a few decent rushes off the edge. Kaindoh’s strength and athleticism are evident in some of those plays where he is beating these tackles off the edge or pushing them in the pocket, but it leaves wanting to see it on a more consistent basis for a player fighting for that last roster spot.
Malik Herring, on the other hand, was basically a medical redshirt for the 2021 season after tearing his ACL during Senior Bowl practice just before the draft. The Chiefs picked him up as an undrafted free agent and Herring has been rehabbing ever since. Now fully healthy, Herring had a wonderful first game of the preseason, grabbing four tackles, a QB hit, and half of a sack against the Chicago Bears. Herring’s motor seemed to always be running on high gear and, at times, you could tell that he was super excited to be there.
Herring followed that up with a not-so-stellar game against the Washington Commanders, only getting a QB hit and hurry and no tackles. You do not have to squint to see the potential in Herring, however. He has an incredibly high ceiling and some of the fastest rip-and-swim moves on the line, this side of Chris Jones.
If the Chiefs have fallen in love with his potential as much as I have, he would be a great player to have on a defensive line that could use every ounce of talent they can get. He would make a great rotational depth piece.
This Chiefs Camp Battle Is Tough To Decide; Herring Gets The Edge
Neither Kaindoh nor Herring have anything on film other than the preseason so they are essentially unknown quantities coming into 2022. Herring showed out in Week One and Kaindoh had a better Week Two, albeit not to the same degree. If I had my choice, I would keep both of these talented young players on the roster in some capacity because you can never have too much talent on the defensive line.
However, there are only a precious few spots available and if there was only one left between these two, I would rather give it to Herring. Herring’s ceiling is much higher than Kaindoh’s and Herring’s pass rush skills are more suited to what the Chiefs are needing on the line. Give me Herring with a slight edge.
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