Kansas City Chiefs Rookie Progress Reports for Preseason Week 1
The long-awaited moment arrived for Chiefs rookies last week when they put on their game-day gear while going up against another opponent for the first time. Some of them played well, while others were a bit shaky and figured out what they need to work on. That is why the NFL has preseason games.
How did the draft picks do? And are there any undrafted free agents who could make a push? Find out in this slideshow.
OLB Dee Ford
Being drafted by a team with two Pro Bowl outside linebackers makes people wonder how it is possible for other players to step up and help the team. That is a question some fans have pondered when talking about Dee Ford.
But Ford had no problems getting noticed. Going up mostly against an experienced quarterback in Jason Campbell, Ford brought pressure multiple times and forced him to throw it sooner than he wanted to. Ford finished with two quarterback hits in his preseason debut.
Ford is expected to be active on the field during the regular season by consistently rotating with Tamba Hali and Justin Houston.
CB Phillip Gaines
Rookie cornerbacks have the most challenging transition from college to the NFL. Cornerbacks have to closely study both the quarterback and multiple pass-catchers. For Phillip Gaines, he had some ups and downs as he was responsible for allowing a touchdown, which are all expected for a player drafted near the end of the third round during his debut.
There is no doubt that Gaines was inspired by the play of his teammates. Malcolm Bronson and Sean Smith both made an impact last week when each took an interception back for a touchdown. Gaines got some action later in the game, and he collected three tackles and deflected two passes.
One thing Gaines has working for him is a strong pass rush. When and if he gets action in a regular-season game, he could get some interceptions off ill-advised throws, making life easy for him as a rookie cornerback.
RB/PR De'Anthony Thomas
It took De’Anthony Thomas one game to make his mark. His 80-yard punt-return touchdown was voted as the top play of Week 1 of the NFL preseason.
It may be one game, but Thomas is one-for-one when it comes to living up to the hype. He had little action on offense and only one punt return in the game. His punt-return touchdown was the difference-maker in the game.
It is no secret Thomas can shine as a return specialist. Andy Reid will need to use him more on offense to see how he does. If he meets the hype on offense, he can become a double threat for the Chiefs.
QB Aaron Murray
Based on just the preseason, it is hard to evaluate Aaron Murray since his performance consisted of handing off the ball and taking a knee.
Murray has been impressive in training camp. However, the Chiefs’ coaching staff can better assess him when they see him play more. Expect Reid to give Murray more time. There may be a possibility that he works with the second-team offense against the Panthers this week.
RG Zach Fulton
Not many sixth-round picks have the luxury of starting in Week 1 of the preseason. With a couple of injuries at the offensive line, Zach Fulton moved up quickly. He was barely noticed last week, which is generally good news for an offensive lineman.
But does Fulton have a spot locked up going into the season opener?
Herbie Teope of Chiefs Spin tweeted that Ricky Henry has been getting more repetitions in camp. This means Reid might have seen something in last week’s game or in camp that he did not like from Fulton and wants to give Henry an opportunity. Expect Henry to possibly start or get a lot of playing time early this week against the Panthers.
LG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
Unlike Fulton, sixth-round pick Laurent Duvernay-Tardif hasn’t been involved with the first-team offense. He hasn’t made a lot of news in training camp. If the Chiefs were forced to put together the 53-man roster today, his chances of making the team would be really slim.
Duvernay-Tardif is currently the third player listed at left guard behind Jeff Allen and Jeff Linkenbach. He still has three more weeks to make an impression, which is plenty for any player looking to make a team.
S Daniel Sorensen
Daniel Sorensen, undrafted out of BYU, has been getting more reps than expected. He started in Eric Berry’s spot during the preseason game, but he immediately struggled when A.J. Green caught a 53-yard pass on Cincinnati’s opening drive.
Sorensen filled in for Berry again, who left practice early on Tuesday. If the Chiefs decide to hold off on letting Berry play, Sorensen has a chance to start again and learn from his mistakes from Week 1.
K Cairo Santos
Cairo Santos has been pushing Ryan Succop in training camp and even got an opportunity to connect on a field goal to help add on to Kansas City’s lead. He and Succop both traded off opportunities in field goals and extra-point attempts, and neither kicker showed signs of fraught.
If both kickers can get a couple of opportunities to attempt long-range field goals, it could help the staff decide whom they want to keep.