The Kansas City Chiefs made a surprising move on Monday when they signed former Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Drue Tranquill to a one-year deal. Tranquill, who was a fourth-round pick by the Chargers in 2019, had a promising rookie season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury in the first game of 2020.
He was expected to be a key part of the Chargers’ defense under new head coach Brandon Staley, but apparently the team did not see him as a fit for their scheme.
So what can the Chiefs expect from Tranquill? As a Chargers fan who watched him play in 2019, I can offer some insight into his strengths and weaknesses as a linebacker.
Tranquill is a versatile and athletic player who can line up at any linebacker spot. He has good speed, range and instincts to cover ground and make plays in space.
He is also a solid tackler who wraps up well and delivers some pop. He excels in coverage, especially against tight ends and running backs. He has good awareness and ball skills to break up passes and create turnovers.
He had two interceptions and four pass deflections as a rookie.
Tranquill is also a leader and a high-character guy who brings energy and passion to the field. He was voted as a team captain by his teammates in his second year, which speaks to his respect and influence in the locker room.
He is also a former safety who played special teams in college, so he can contribute on multiple phases of the game.
However, Tranquill is not without flaws. He is not very big or strong for a linebacker, and he can struggle to shed blocks and take on bigger blockers at the point of attack.
He can also be overaggressive and take bad angles or miss tackles at times. He is not very experienced as a linebacker, having only played the position for two years in college and one year in the NFL.
He still has room to grow and improve his technique and recognition.
Overall, Tranquill is a good addition for the Chiefs, who needed some depth and competition at linebacker. He can provide some speed and coverage ability that the Chiefs lacked at the position last year.
He can also play on special teams and be a positive presence in the locker room. He may not be a starter right away, but he can be a valuable rotational player who can fill in at any spot if needed.
He has the potential to develop into a quality starter if he stays healthy and learns from his new coaches and teammates.
Final Thoughts: Drue Tranquill Adds Versatility and Depth to Chiefs’ Linebacker Corps
The Kansas City Chiefs made a savvy move by signing Drue Tranquill to a one-year deal. The former Los Angeles Chargers linebacker brings versatility, athleticism, and leadership to a Chiefs’ linebacker group that needed an infusion of talent and depth.
Tranquill has shown flashes of potential in his young career, displaying excellent coverage skills and a knack for making plays on the ball. He also has the speed and range to cover a lot of ground and pursue ball carriers from sideline to sideline.
His experience playing safety in college and special teams in the NFL also make him a valuable asset in multiple phases of the game.
While Tranquill is not the biggest or strongest linebacker, he makes up for it with his quickness and technique. He has shown a willingness to learn and improve, which should bode well for his development under the tutelage of the Chiefs’ coaching staff.
Overall, the addition of Tranquill adds depth and competition to a Chiefs’ linebacker group that struggled at times last season. He may not be a starter right away, but he has the potential to be a valuable rotational player who can fill in at any spot if needed.
With his versatility, athleticism, and leadership, Tranquill should be a valuable asset for the Chiefs in 2021 and beyond.