Chiefs’ Dadi Nicolas adjusting well to new position

May 7, 2016; Kansas City, MO; Chiefs linebacker Dadi Nicolas perform a drill during rookie minicamp at the team's training facility. (Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital-Journal)
May 7, 2016; Kansas City, MO; Chiefs linebacker Dadi Nicolas perform a drill during rookie minicamp at the team’s training facility. (Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital-Journal)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Rookie minicamp offers an adjustment period for players receiving the first taste of the NFL.

Dadi Nicolas, the Chiefs’ second of two sixth-round picks in the 2016 NFL Draft, is learning that firsthand as he transitions from playing defensive end at Virginia Tech to outside linebacker.

“Very different,” Nicolas said. “It’s the NFL, professional, more details and all that good stuff. Compared to when I was at college, it’s simpler, just because I was on the defensive line where I’m worrying about covering and rushing at the same time.”

Nicolas has rushing the passer down, finishing his career at Virginia Tech with 165 tackles (87 solo) and 17 sacks.

But he wasn’t called upon often to drop in coverage in college, totaling seven passes defensed and an interception.

Nevertheless, he took steps to prepare in the months leading to the draft for what he can expect as an outside linebacker in the NFL, including spending seven weeks with renowned trainer Chuck Smith,

“I was able to grow my IQ, learn a whole lot more about the position and pass rush,” Nicolas said.

The 6-3 Nicolas, whom the Chiefs list at 235 pounds, said in his post-selection conference call that he currently weighs “close to 240.”

But he pointed out Sunday on the second day of rookie minicamp that he desires to add weight before training camp.

“For me to play to play as much as I want to play, I need to gain weight, that’s obvious,” Nicolas said. “I plan on gaining about 15 more pounds, 10 to 15 more pounds, by the time August comes around.”

The Chiefs could use a bulked-up Nicholas throughout organized team activities (OTAs) at outside linebacker, where he provides depth while Justin Houston recovers from an anterior cruciate ligament procedure.

Nicolas has lined up at left outside linebacker through two days of minicamp and he expects good things as he continues to learn.

“I think I have great potential at the position,” Nicolas said. “And I got great coaches and great veterans around me to help me grow.

Chiefs offensive lineman Laurence Gibson, a former college teammate of Nicolas at Virginia Tech, agreed.

Gibson adds Nicolas’ athletic skills and work ethic fit perfectly in Kansas City.

“I think they’re getting a lot of speed and agility, someone who is definitely willing to work hard,” Gibson said. “And around here, that pays off for people. I think they definitely made some good decisions with the draft.”

Notes: Wide receiver Demarcus Robinson and offensive lineman Parker Ehinger each dealt with cramping issues, according to a team spokesman … Linebacker Terrance Smith left the practice field, but the Chiefs didn’t have an update.


Herbie Teope is the lead Chiefs beat writer for The Topeka Capital-Journal and Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @HerbieTeope.