Kansas City Chiefs: Report-Card Grades for Every Rookie So Far in Camp
Kansas City Chiefs training camp is in St. Joseph, Mo., and rookies are getting their feet wet in their first training camp.
Head coach Romeo Crennel has been assessing all of his players, especially his rookies. The Chiefs had a strong free agency and wanted to use the draft as a final phase to help complete their roster before preparing for training camp.
Fast forward to training camp. The rookies are looking to impress their coaches and are seeking to find themselves a role on the 53-man roster. Here are report-card grades for all the rookies in training camp.
First-Round Pick: Dontari Poe, DL, Memphis
Dontari Poe was the first defensive lineman taken in the 2012 draft. Crennel, who also serves as the defensive coordinator, hopes Poe can flourish into a dominant nose tackle.
For now, Anthony Toribio will be the team's starting nose tackle while Poe comes in with the second-team defense in Friday's preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Training Camp Grade: A-
Second-Round Pick: Jeff Allen, OL, Illinois
Ryan Lilja is currently starting at left guard while Jon Asamoah is listed as the starter at the right side. With his versatility, Allen could be the team's top backup guard.
Being taken in the second round by the Chiefs, it was obvious that he would not start right away as it appeared that the Chiefs' offensive line was set in stone. The only notable changes are Eric Winston at right tackle and Rodney Hudson at center.
If an injury takes place the guard position, the Chiefs might look to Allen, who is currently listed behind Lilja on the depth chart.
Training Camp Grade: A
Third-Round Pick: Donald Stephenson, OL, Oklahoma
Many NFL teams look at the third round and try to find some possible leftover starters that they could pick up. But the Chiefs were not desperate to find a starter in the third round.
After selecting an offensive lineman in the second round, the Chiefs went after another one in offensive tackle Donald Stephenson. Stephenson knows his role will be similar to Allen's. Allen is the team's top reserve guard, while Stephenson could be the team's top backup tackle.
As far as early depth-chart placement goes, Stephenson is sitting behind Branden Albert at left tackle, whose contract expires after this season. Albert has managed to avoid injury, but Stephenson will manage to make the most of his time whether it is in the preseason or upcoming games. So far, the coaches like what they are seeing in him as a rookie.
Training Camp Grade: B+
Fourth-Round Pick: Devon Wylie, WR, Fresno State
The nice thing about Devon Wylie is that he brings some versatility with him, increasing his chances of making the team since he can play multiple positions.
Wylie has not made a lot of noise in camp as a wide receiver. However, he has impressed special-teams coach Tom McMahon as a returner.
Javier Arenas and Dexter McCluster have not lived up to expectations as returners, but are being given another chance as both enter their third year in the league. Wylie is the next option behind those two players and needs to make the most of his time in preseason games when he has the chance to return punts.
Training Camp Grade: B
Fifth-Round Pick: DeQuan Menzie, CB, Alabama
DeQuan Menzie came out of Alabama looking to play cornerback or safety.
After some time in camp, Crennel and defensive backs coach Emmitt Thomas like what they see in Menzie as a cornerback. But he still has a lot of room to grow and should get some chances in some upcoming exhibition games to showcase his abilities in an effort to secure himself a spot on the 53-man roster.
Training Camp Grade: B-
Sixth-Round Pick: Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M
It is hard for a sixth-round draft pick like Cyrus Gray to compete for even a backup spot in his first year in the league, but Gray is in a unique position where the Chiefs have two running backs who are capable of helping the team lead the league in rushing.
However, with Peyton Hillis only signing a one-year contract, Gray's future with the Chiefs is not as questionable as it would be for most sixth-round picks.
Outside of Hillis and Jamaal Charles, Gray will start his pro career behind Shaun Draughn this preseason. Gray has had some reps while working with backup quarterbacks Ricky Stanzi, Brady Quinn and Alex Tanney in training camp thus far.
Training Camp Grade: B
Seventh-Round Pick: Jerome Long, DL, San Diego State
Being a seventh-round draft pick in the NFL is not the most exciting adventure, but rather grueling. For Jerome Long, he has a lot of climbing to do before he can reach a high status like every player selected in the seventh round.
Out of the eight defensive ends in training camp, Long is the last player on the depth chart behind Tyson Jackson. Long's name has not been mentioned by coaches or by the media, leaving a lot of question marks for Long. He will need a strong preseason showing to earn himself a spot on the practice squad or the 53-man roster.
Training Camp Grade: C-
Seventh-Round Pick: Junior Hemingway, WR, Michigan
Junior Hemingway is in a very similar spot as Long. Both players are seventh-round draft picks and have a lot of work to do.
Outside of Dwayne Bowe, who is currently absent from camp, Hemingway is the last wide receiver listed on the depth chart. Assuming he spends some time with Quinn, Stanzi and Tanney, he will have to be their top target in hopes that his performance in the next four weeks will top other backup receivers after a quiet training camp.
Training Camp Grade: C-