Chiefs linebacker Andy Studebaker has the inside track to replace Mike Vrabel as the team’s starting weak-side linebacker, writes Randy Covitz of the Kansas City Star.
A sixth-round pick (203rd overall) out of Wheaton College by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2008, Studebaker was signed off the Eagles’ practice squad by the Chiefs late in the 2008 season. In six games, Studebaker made three special teams tackles.
Studebaker has been active for all 32 games the last two seasons, making a pair of starts in place of an injured Vrabel in 2009. During that time, Studebaker has 56 tackles, including 23 on special teams, with 2.5 quarterback sacks and a pair of interceptions.
“It’s been good to have Mike around teaching us how to transition to outside linebacker for two years,” Studebaker said. “That’s what Mike did for us. Besides playing great on Sundays, in the film room throughout the week he was helping us get better and ultimately the team got better.”
Last September, the Chiefs signed Studebaker to a three-year deal worth up to $6.66 million, but that does not guarantee a starting job in 2011. Studebaker will need to fend off 2011 third-round pick Justin Houston, a 6-foot-3, 270-pound prospect who played defensive end at the University of Georgia for two seasons before moving to outside linebacker and recording 10 quarterback sacks, doubling his career totals.