5 Undrafted Kansas City Chiefs Players Who Could Prove to Be Gems
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When you're a team coming off a two-win season and you have a new head coach, chances are you want to restock the roster with plenty of fresh faces not tainted by a losing past.
In addition to all the veteran free agents the Kansas City Chiefs have brought in, as well as a new class of draftees, the team has also brought in several rookie free agents who could end up making the roster in this transition year for the franchise.
While much of the blame for last season's record fell on poor quarterback play, it could also be argued that lack of quality depth at many positions hurt the team throughout the year as well. Most of the players the team has brought in this offseason won't likely turn into superstars overnight, but they should definitely add value and competition from a depth perspective.
Here are five rookie free agents who could stick with the club to at least play a contributing role in 2013, and perhaps, play bigger roles down the road.
Tennessee: QB Tyler Bray
Unless you completely quit paying attention to Chiefs coverage directly after the draft, you realized that former Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray would probably be on this list.
Bray, whose physical attributes have been well-documented since signing with the Chiefs, continues to be a work in progress with his maturation and mental side of the game.
Over the course of OTAs, Bray has looked fantastic at times and horrific at others. The test of whether or not he sticks is whether he can show progression and a continuing maturity through training camp to eventually unseat Ricky Stanzi as the Chiefs No. 3 quarterback.
If he can claim that roster spot and continue to progress into next season as the Chiefs think he can, Bray could eventually end up a long-term solution at the quarterback position.
Vanderbilt: DL Rob Lohr
One of the Chiefs' most glaring needs since moving to a 3-4 defense has been a dominant presence along the defensive line.
Last year's first-round pick Dontari Poe showed solid improvement as the year progressed, however, former first-rounder Tyson Jackson continued to underachieve and new defensive end Mike DeVito is hardly a game-changer.
Needless to say, depth along the defensive line remains a concern, and thus, prompted the Chiefs to sign rookie free agent Rob Lohr out of Vanderbilt.
The former Commodores standout was a three-year starter (38 games) in a tough SEC. He finished his career with 31.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, 120 tackles and was on the Lombardi Award preseason watch list before his final season.
Lohr's 30 reps in the bench press, according to NFL Draft Scout, at his pro day would indicate that he can hold his own as an inside rusher in the Chiefs defense, and his size (6'4", 290 lbs) would indicate he could step in anywhere along the defensive line.
McNeese State: S Malcolm Bronson
For each of the past two seasons, the Chiefs defense has had to battle through injuries to one or more of their starting safeties. In 2011, it was the loss of Eric Berry to a torn ACL, and last year, it was the loss of Kendrick Lewis to a shoulder injury.
While Berry appears to be completely back from his knee injury after a solid 2012 campaign, it remains to be seen who will start across from him, and the team still needs quality depth at the position.
In comes rookie free agent Malcolm Bronson from McNeese State.
The former three-time first-team All-Southland Conference selection was a preseason All-American and on the Buck Buchanan Award watch list in 2012. However, a knee injury in September cost Bronson his senior season and an almost certain opportunity to be drafted in this past April's draft.
Bronson is the nephew of former 49er Zack Bronson, who also played collegiately at McNeese State. Malcolm recorded 230 tackles and 10 interceptions in 40 career games for the Cowboys, according to NFL Draft Scout, and could stand to win a job if he can prove to be all the way back from his injury.
Columbia: LB Josh Martin
If there is ever a position where you can't have enough depth, it's linebacker.
In an effort to short up his team's depth at linebacker, general manager John Dorsey signed undrafted free-agent linebacker Josh Martin out of Columbia.
Martin was a member of the All-Ivy League first-team this past season, after being a second-team player each of the previous two seasons. By NFL standards, Martin's style of play matches that of a player like Tamba Hali, although he will need to put on some weight (6'3", 245 lbs) to be effective at the NFL level rushing the passer off the edge.
Martin led the Detroit Lions in sacks (6.5) and tackles for loss (11.5) this past season, while completing a career at Columbia that saw him tally 140 total tackles, including 85 solos. A smart player, as most Ivy League players are, if Martin can learn from Hali, he could possibly stick in a reserve role or at least find a spot on the practice squad.
UW-Milwaukee: TE Demetrius Harris
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Perhaps, no other Chiefs' free-agent signing has been more intriguing than Demetrius Harris.
While he was recruited and offered a scholarship to play football at Arkansas State coming out of high school, Harris was academically ineligible and ended up playing two seasons of junior college basketball instead. Then, despite once again getting an offer to play football, he chose to play basketball at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
In a workout for the Chiefs prior to the April draft, Harris ran the 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds to go along with a vertical jump of 36.5 inches and a broad jump of 10 feet 2 inches.
Harris is an outstanding athlete who has already gotten his share of praise from head coach Andy Reid in this past month's OTAs. If he can continue to progress and impress the coaches, players like oft-injured Tony Moeaki may find themselves out of a job, as the rookie being compared to the San Diego Chargers' Antonio Gates earns himself a job.