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Kansas City Chiefs take Ole Miss’ Breeland Speaks in second round of NFL Draft

Breeland Speaks is the first Ole Miss player off the board.

The Kansas City Chiefs made Speaks the 46th overall pick in the NFL Draft, taking the Rebels’ former defensive lineman with the 14th pick of the second round Friday. After not having a first-round pick, the Chiefs prioritized the 6-foot-3, 287-pound Speaks, trading with the Cincinnati Bengals to move up eight spots to make the pick. 

Speaks is just the third Ole Miss defensive lineman in the last decade to be selected in the first two rounds (Robert Nkemdiche, first round in 2016; Peria Jerry, first round in 2009).

Speaks, who bypassed his senior season, saw his stock rise following a breakout season in terms of production. Moving to defensive end for the second half of last season, Speaks wreaked havoc in opponents’ backfields, finishing with 67 tackles — more stops than his first two seasons combined — eight tackles for loss and seven sacks, second-most on the team.

That along with impressive workout numbers posted at the scouting combine and at Ole Miss’ pro day along with his versatility as a quick-twitched lineman created buzz around Speaks leading into the draft, including an opinion from ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. as the most underrated draft-eligible defensive player. Speaks said last month that most teams viewed him as a 3-technique, or tackle, but that a few liked him as an end in a 3-4 scheme.

He finished his career with 127 tackles, nine sacks and 15 tackles for loss.