Five Things to Know About New Chiefs’ LB Darron Lee

The Kansas City Chiefs made another addition to their defense on Thursday afternoon, acquiring linebacker Darron Lee from the New York Jets.

The three-year veteran seems pretty excited to be here.

Here are five things to know about the newest member of the Chiefs’ linebacker corps.

1. Lee is a former first-round pick

The Jets selected Lee with the No. 20 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, making him the second linebacker taken that year behind only the Chicago Bears’ Leonard Floyd (No. 9 overall).

Interestingly enough, the Chiefs now feature four players that were taken in the first 45 picks of the 2016 Draft: Lee, defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah (No. 34 overall), defensive tackle Chris Jones (No. 37 overall) and linebacker Reggie Ragland (No. 41 overall).

New York Jets linebacker Darron Lee (58) celebrates during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Monday, Sept. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

2. He put together his best season as a professional in 2018

Lee tallied 238 tackles (152 solo), 17 tackles-for-loss, 11 quarterback hits, 11 passes defensed, 4.0 sacks, three interceptions and two forced fumbles during his three seasons in New York (40 games), with his best NFL campaign coming just last year according to the advanced metrics.

After struggling at times in pass-coverage through his first two seasons in the league, Lee allowed just 371 yards through the air in 2018 according to the folks at Pro Football Focus, grading as the third-best player in coverage at his position based on PFF’s data.

He also found the end zone for the first time in his career.

3. He showed off his elite athleticism at the Scouting Combine back in 2016

Fans of the annual NFL Scouting Combine may remember Lee’s strong showing four years ago. He topped all linebackers that year in the 40-yard dash (4.47 seconds) and broad jump (133.0 inches) while ranking fifth in the vertical jump (35.5 inches).

His 40-yard dash time was tied for the fastest by a linebacker since 2007 and was reported by some to be as low as 4.43. The guy can move.

Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee performs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

4. Lee played his college ball at Ohio State

Lee’s athleticism was on full display during his time at Ohio State, where he racked up 147 tackles, 12.0 sacks and three interceptions in 29 games.

He earned freshman All-America honors in 2014 and was particularly effective when it mattered most as well, receiving the Defensive MVP award in the College Football Playoff semifinal against Alabama. The Buckeyes went on to win the national title that year.

Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee plays against Hawaii during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

5. He was a star quarterback in high school before moving to linebacker at OSU

What made Lee’s ascension to an All-American linebacker in Columbus so impressive was his relative inexperience at the position. In fact, Lee was a quarterback at New Albany High School in Ohio and had a three-star prospect ranking as a dual-threat signal caller.

He tallied nearly 2,000 yards of total offense and 21 scores during his senior campaign, but when Ohio State asked him to make the switch to linebacker, he gladly did just that for the opportunity to play for the Buckeyes.

For more on Lee’s journey from quarterback to linebacker, click here.

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