KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Maybe wide receiver Weston Dressler will be the latest in a line of Canadian Football League players who finds the transition to the NFL to be too difficult. Maybe he will follow players like Warren Moon, Jeff Garcia and Cameron Wake and become a star in the American game.
He will probably land somewhere in between. But whatever happens with Dressler, don’t blame the effort of the Kansas City Chiefs. They signed Dressler, who played the last six seasons with Saskatchewan Roughriders. He caught 442 passes for more than 6,500 yards and scored 43 touchdowns.
General manager John Dorsey has shown a willingness to look in some offbeat places for players. It already paid off to an extent last season when the Chiefs claimed seven players off waivers at the start of the regular season. Three of them – defensive backs Marcus Cooper and Ron Parker and tight end Sean McGrath – helped them win a game at one point or another.
The Chiefs last year signed undrafted free agent Demetrius Harris, a tight end who had been a football star in high school in Arkansas but switched to basketball in college at Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Harris is raw and may never develop into a productive player but he’s shown the necessary skills and is worth the minimal investment the Chiefs made in him.
Dorsey also loaded the Chiefs’ practice squad with developmental prospects from small schools like Lane, West Alabama, California (Pa.) and Shepherd in the hope of mining a productive player.
The Chiefs will have to continue with this kind of thinking during the offseason. They won’t have the kind of salary-cap flexibility they’ve had the past few seasons. They probably won’t be able to win any bidding wars in free agency.
Their biggest veteran additions may be role players like Dressler, who could replace Dexter McCluster as the slot receiver and punt returner. It’s a good thing Dorsey is making the effort and he should keep trying even if Dressler doesn’t eventually work out.