Kansas City Chiefs Rookie Training Camp Progress Report
The Kansas City Chiefs are one day away from their first preseason game. For the rookies, it will be their first preseason game in a pro football uniform.
Although the Chiefs were without a second-round pick in the 2014 draft, the team has some young, bright-eyed players who could make an impact and be part of the team's 53-man roster.
OLB Dee Ford
For a first-round pick, Dee Ford finds himself in an interesting position. Ford is behind Tamba Hali on Kansas City's new depth chart, but that is exactly where he is expected to be at this point.
With Hali and Justin Houston as the primary pass-rushers, Ford will serve as an additional pass-rusher for the defense.
Ford has shown his quickness off the snap and can get to the quarterback in a hurry. Keep an eye on opposing quarterbacks throughout the preseason and how Ford tries to work against them. Chiefs fans should be pleased with what they see before the regular season.
CB Phillip Gaines
At this point, Phillip Gaines has just as good of a shot as anyone to be the starting cornerback going into the season opener. Ron Parker and Marcus Cooper are surprisingly listed as the starters at the moment on the team's unofficial depth chart.
Gaines is a couple of spots behind on the depth chart, but according to Tod Palmer of The Kansas City Star, the Chiefs coaching staff like what they have seen from him so far.
With a month left before the season opener, Gaines' chances of being a starter look good. If he isn't named a starter, he will likely be right behind them and will still get a lot of playing time.
RB De'Anthony Thomas
De'Anthony Thomas has been a hot topic in training camp as he's already been tabbed as one of the fan favorites despite not even playing a game yet.
But even so, Thomas has made the most progress so far. Due to his ability to make plays on offense and special teams, he's projected to be a valuable asset for the Chiefs.
Thomas' speed is not news to anyone. Chiefs fans want him to show it off in the upcoming exhibition games.
Thomas is third on the running back depth chart behind Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis, and he's first as a punt returner. Expect Thomas to remain as the third running back, but he'll see a lot of time on the gridiron as well.
RG Zach Fulton
Jeff Linkenbach was expected to be the right guard going into the season, but he is listed at left guard behind Jeff Allen. This opened up a spot for Zach Fulton, drafted in the sixth round, as he is currently the main guy at right guard.
Unlike many players drafted in the sixth round, Fulton has managed to quickly build his way up in training camp as a rookie. The question remains: Can Fulton continue to impress the coaches and keep that spot going into camp?
The offensive line is the biggest concern after the Chiefs took a big hit with several losses, and they hope players like Fulton can fill those voids.
QB Aaron Murray
Alex Smith is the obvious starter at quarterback, but it is anyone's guess as to whom the Nos. 2 and 3 guys are for the Chiefs. Chase Daniel, Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray all had impressive college careers, but find themselves fighting in training camp to make the team.
Murray hasn't made a lot of noise in camp so far. The Chiefs placed him as the fourth quarterback. It is doubtful all four quarterbacks play in the first preseason game against the Bengals. Murray could be the odd man out if the Chiefs decide to use only three.
Murray will be given an opportunity at some point to show what he can do against another team. Even though he is listed as the No. 4 quarterback, it is unlikely that the Chiefs cut their fifth-round draft pick.
K Cairo Santos
The Chiefs know they can get better production from Ryan Succop, who has been below average among all kickers in the league.
But is Cairo Santos a serious threat to take Succop's job?
Succop is expected to come out as the winner since he has more experience in the NFL. Reid has not said how he will handle the kickers in preseason games.