In watching Kansas City Chiefs Linebacker Drue Tranquill play football, it’s clear he has an intensity for the game and play-making abilities, and he understands his role on defense. He can play all three linebacker spots and safety, as he’s done a few times this season, but its his fit within the KC’s defense that’s so inspiring.
if I were General Manager Brett Veach, the next free agent contract I get done after Cornerback L’Jarius Sneed would be Linebacker Drue Tranquill. He’s the ultimate glue guy. He plays multiple positions with the same veracity regardless of down or distance anywhere on the field.
He has a nose for the football and the speed to chase anyone on the field. The Ravens might have scored a touchdown if he had not chased down Quarterback Lamar Jackson on the tipped pass he caught.
Tranquill was an underrated free agent signee by the Chiefs last spring. He spent his entire career with the Los Angeles Chargers, and Veach always appreciated his game. So much so that he asked head coach Andy Reid to talk to him. So, in Reid’s style, he sent him a text about the decision he faced: staying with the Chargers or jumping to their division rival.
Thankfully, he chose the Chiefs and made the most of his stay in Kansas City. In the regular season, he had 70 tackles (54 solo), 4.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. He’s added 19 tackles (16 solo), none more significant than the one he made on Jackson in the post season.
When Nick Bolton went out with an injury, Tranquill ran the defense, and the team didn’t miss a beat. Now that Bolton is back, Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has used his versatility in multiple formations to get him as many reps as possible.
His work clogging rushing lanes against the Baltimore Ravens was the biggest key to the Chiefs game plan. They felt if they could stop the run, Jackson would have to beat the Chiefs with his arm. That proved a winning formula for Kansas City, and Tranquil was at the heart of it all.
That’s because he’s been fueled by all the doubters. “Teams thought Miami would beat us, teams thought Buffalo would beat us, and they certainly didn’t give us a chance against the Ravens,” Tranquill stated. “They’re a good football team, and we went in there and did our thing.”
I’ve often said great teams need Glue Guys who can play multiple positions and have a knack for making plays. Had Tranquill not signed with the Chiefs, the defense would not have been as good as it was this season.
Before his signing in Kansas City, I’d heard of Tranquill but didn’t realize he was an absolute stat machine with the Chargers. How they let him go in the offseason might explain why they fired their Head Coach and General Manager.
Once I looked at the film, I was shocked he signed a modest one-year contract for $ 3 million with the Chiefs. That meant only a few teams were interested in his services. How is that so? In 2022, he had 146 tackles (95 solo), five sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception for the Bolts.
Long term, the Chiefs are facing a mass exodus of free agents after the Super Bowl, Tranquill becomes a key target for the Chiefs to retain, but there is unfinished business this season.
Tranquill said as a kid he dreamed of playing in the Super Bowl, and that’s the primary reason he came to play for the Chiefs.
A week from Sunday he gets his chance.