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Chiefs once again select Alabama's "Star"

Posted Apr 28, 2012

DeQuan Menzie replaced former Chiefs Draft Pick Javier Arenas as Alabama’s “Star” defensive back

There’s something the Chiefs find appealing about Alabama’s “Star” defensive back.

Kansas City drafted the Crimson Tide’s sub-package specialty position for the second time in three years Saturday afternoon with the selection of DeQuan Menzie in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Menzie replaced Javier Arenas at the “Star” spot after Arenas was selected in the second round by the Chiefs in 2010.

“The star position is basically the hardest position, people say,” Menzie explained. “Because you’ve got to do a lot of reading the line, you’ve got to know formations, you’ve got to know where to fit and stuff like that. It’s really a hard position.”

 “The player that Nick [Saban] puts at the star is usually really, really smart and really, really competitive,” Chiefs GM Scott Pioli added. “DeQuan is both of those things, as is Javier, he’s that same thing.

“One thing I think we’re all learning in this league and in our division is you can never have too many defensive backs that can cover, and this guy can do that.”

Menzie brings great value to the Chiefs considering NFL.com and many other media outlets gave the defensive back a second-round grade. During the NFL Network’s live draft broadcast, Mike Mayock went as far to predict that Menzie would compete for a starting role as a rookie.

Pioli compared Menzie’s slide to Kendrick Lewis’ draft day fall two seasons ago.

Lewis’ stock fell after posting poor times at the NFL Combine, but he’s gone on to 26 games at free safety since joining the Chiefs as a fifth-round pick in 2010.

“I’ll tell you this: I know that some people are concerned about his speed,” Pioli said of Menzie. “This goes back to the whole height, weight, speed, timing thing. He didn’t run a time. He had a hamstring and then a groin. He had a groin issue and then groin hernia surgery, I think, at the end of the season and he wasn’t fully prepared.

“When Kendrick Lewis ran on his pro day, I think his time was like a 4.72. It was something outrageously slow, and it was the only time that people had on paper. I think a lot has to do with that. We think that this is tremendous value at this point.”

Menzie was a key member of an Alabama secondary that ranked No. 1 nationally in pass defense (116.3 ypg.) and pass efficiency defense (83.9). The Crimson Tide defense also ranked No. 1 in scoring defense, allowing opponents to score just 8.8 points per game last season.

When Arenas departed for the NFL, Alabama signed Menzie as a four-star rated defensive back out of Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Mississippi. Menzie played outside cornerback opposite Dre Kirkpatrick in addition to his role as Alabama’s “Star” defensive back and made 18 career starts.

“You really can’t replace Javier Arenas because he was a great player, great returner, he was physical and a never-give-up type guy,” Menzie said. “I do know that the star position was very difficult and coming after him to learn and play it, it was a great opportunity to play it.”

Menzie could potentially play safety for the Chiefs. He’ll be an immediate candidate to contribute in sub-package sets and on special teams.

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