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Scouting Report: Rakeem Nunez-Roches

Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images


Height: 6’2” | Weight: 307 lbs | Age: 25 | Experience: 4 Years | 40 Yard Dash: 5.02
10 Yard Split: 1.71 | Bench Reps: 26 | Vertical Jump: 34 | Broad Jump: 114
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.69 | 3-Cone Drill: 7.67

College: Nebraska

Professional Transactions:

Claimed off waivers by the Colts on May 11, 2018
Waived by the Kansas City Chiefs on May 8, 2018
Promoted to the Chiefs active roster from their practice squad on October 18, 2016
Selected by Kansas City in the sixth round (217th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft

Contract Terms: 1-Year, $1.9 M with $0 guaranteed

NFL Career Stats:

34 Games | 16 Starts | 52 Tackles | 1.5 Sacks | 5.5 TFL | 4 QH


In a story from the Kansas City Star on December 21, 2017, teammate Jarvis Jenkins and coaches from the Chiefs organization talked about Nacho’s leadership, energy, coachability, and consistent effort. Jenkins recalled signing with the Chiefs in 2016 as a five-year veteran and receiving a warm welcome from Nunez-Roches.

“You can tell the guy loves football –– that really sets the tone for a D-line,” Jenkins said. “It’s a mentality. Everybody in the league can play, but you’ve got to have at least one guy that gives you a little bit of motivation. That’s one thing he brings to the team and that’s why he’s so valuable.”

In the story, it is mentioned that Nacho took over starting reps from Chris Jones on the defensive line after increasing the number of snaps he received the year before. Teammate Bennie Logan also spoke positively of his teammate and the energy he brings to the line.

“He just understands his role and how big of an impact his energy has on his team,” defensive lineman Bennie Logan said. “He just brings it everyday, and I think that gets a lot of people going.”

Perhaps no compliment could be great for Nunez-Roches than those shared by head coach Andy Reid.

Even Chiefs coach Andy Reid –– who mostly limits player praise to “he did a good job” –– couldn’t help diving into the details of what makes Nunez-Roches special.

“He’s one of those guys that comes to work every day and he has one speed,” Reid said. “He does it in practice, he does it in the games. So he’s a great example, I think, to everybody on our team.”

It comes as no surprise that Chris Ballard was entirely aware of the traits Nacho’s coaches and teammates have shared after he had first-hand knowledge of the scouting process that led to him getting drafted in 2015.

A player who greets new teammates openly when they arrive to compete for a spot on the roster. A player who works hard every day and bring energy to his teammates. Sounds like the kind of player Ballard is looking for when he talks about building a culture in the locker room.


Hope he does come back, because you don’t see many guys in his weight class with his kind of bounce and throw-your-body around ways. He seems to able to do that without ever hurting himself, but I wouldn’t be surprised if opponents didn’t like playing him, because 300 pounds and out of control can cost a team a QB due to another team’s incompetence.

Ouch ...

… just ouch.

This may, however, be temporary.

a very good DL backup at a good price...

and he was always jazzed. I don’t get this move as I look at the roster – I think we could use Nacho.

Nacho was beloved by teamates

It’s important that the chiefs players want to be here. Look at what happened to the Browns morale after they traded Joe Haden (per J. Thomas.)

Having a NFL contract is not motivation alone.

KC has brutal summers and icy Winters and is one of the most conservative football towns in the country. That’s why I disagree with a move like this. Andy can’t keep it together all by himself.


While Nunez-Roches never completely solidified a starting role with the Chiefs, he did undergo a transition at General Manager and some changes to the defensive philosophy. It is best to consider Nacho’s film in the context of playing in a one-gap 4-3 front. He will need to penetrate the offensive line, win one-on-one match-ups, and beat blocks to be successful with the Colts.

The film against Tampa Bay shows that he has a quick enough first step to get through gaps in the offensive line and enough trailing speed to make plays behind the line of scrimmage. He is strong enough to generate push against offensive linemen and typically keeps his eyes on the football to keep himself alive on plays in his direction. If he has a fault it is that he can sometimes over-pursue a play and get out of position.

This film draws specific attention to the fact that while Nacho brutalized the offensive lineman and pushed him into the backfield, he got too deep and ended up taking himself out of the play. The plus side is that he has the strength to win one-on-one and the downside is failing to capitalize even though he clearly wins.

The Colts are undergoing significant change along the defensive line. One of the primary differences between the 3-4 front Chuck Pagano instituted and the 4-3 front Eberflus and Mike Phair will use is a change to a one-gap assignment for defensive linemen. Speed, penetration, and disruption in the backfield are the primary goals instead of brute strength and forcing double-teams.

Nunez-Roches certainly has work he can do to continue improving his craft but he shows enough explosion off of the snap and strength to win one-on-one battles in the trenches that he has a shot to work his way into the new rotation. He could play the one-technique role on passing downs or work into a rotation with Al Woods.

Whether he works out or not, the Colts are under no obligation. His contract is not guaranteed. Ballard can cut him without doing the team any harm in the future.