Chiefs find diamonds in the rough with rookies Tershawn Wharton and Mike Danna
Back in April during the NFL Draft, the Chiefs selected Mike Danna in the 5th round. Many Chiefs fans including myself were not high on the pick. Danna's college career began at Central Michigan in 2016 where Danna played in 10 games totaling 31 tackles, 24 solo tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. In 2017 he played in 13 games with 55 total tackles, 32 solo tackles, 9 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. In 2018 Danna had his best season playing in 12 games with 65 total tackles, 36 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks with 2 forced fumbles and 2 touchdowns earning him first-team All-MAC. In 2019 Danna transferred to Michigan and was only a rotational player for the Wolverines totaling 38 tackles 20 solo tackles 3 tackles for loss and 3 sacks and 1 forced fumble. Those were decent numbers but nothing spectacular. The coaching staff was high on Danna, especially Chiefs DL coach Brendan Daly. Now we're seeing why.
This season for the Chiefs Danna has recorded 11 solo tackles and 3 sacks in limited snaps.
Tershawn Wharton was a UDFA out of Missouri S&T. He was a 4-year starter for the Miners in 2016 where he had a solid freshman season totaling 19 tackles and 5.5 sacks with 7.5 tackles for loss. in 2017 he exploded with 21 tackles for loss with 13.5 sacks, 64 total tackles, 35 solo tackles and 4 forced fumbles earning first-team All-GLVC. in 2018 Wharton had 46 total tackles, 18 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles earning first-team All-GLVC for a second time. in 2019 Wharton had 59 total tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble earning All-GLVC for a third straight time. A true force with little-to-no draft hype. Somehow the Chiefs were able to pick him up as UDFA for pennies on the dollar and he's been the highest-graded rookie interior DL this season.
So far this season Tershawn Wharton has recorded 20 solo tackles, 3 sacks, and a forced fumble.
Here are a couple of the big plays these rookies have provided this season:
Danna does a good job getting around the tackle and then he blows the fullback off his route, then he rushes and sacks fellow rookie Justin Herbert. This is an IQ play from Danna, understanding of the play design shoving the fullback messes with Herbert and allows him to get there for the sack.
This play against the Broncos showcases Wharton's high motor. when Melvin Gordon catches a pass he runs from his tackle spot and punches the ball out from behind causing the timely turnover this is a play you love to see from a UDFA.
This play from Danna is great discipline first he sets the edge against the tackle allowing him to get a good look at the back. As soon as he needs to he jumps off the tackle and takes down the back for the loss.
The play the Chiefs have gotten out of these two players is something you love to see from late-round and undrafted players and cements the confidence that Chiefs fans have in Brett Veach. Despite Veach making questionable moves at times he's absolutely made up for it with his ability to find value in the late rounds. Finding contributors this late in the draft and undrafted free agency allows more freedom with the rest of the team. Those guys are making next to nothing and giving you quality production. Their growth and production will be fun for fans to follow for years to come.