Thursday, May 22, 2014
Three things to watch at rookie camp
By Adam Teicher
The Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday begin their offseason practice schedule with the start of a three-day rookie camp. Full-squad practice begins on Tuesday.
But for three days, things will be limited to rookies, with a few developmental veterans also allowed to participate. I'm told all six of the draft picks will be on hand.
It's difficult to make too many judgments from what will happen in the rookie camp. It's best to wait until the veterans all show up for that. Still, there are some things to see and here are three of them that I'll be looking for:
De'Anthony Thomas' speed. It's not often that a player this fast gets into a Chiefs' uniform, even if for now it consists of just a practice jersey and shorts. When he gets moving, it's still a sight to see. I'm also curious to see where Thomas lines up on offense. The Chiefs are listing him for now as a running back, but I'm not buying it. How's he going to get any playing time there when the Chiefs already have Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis? Slot receiver is a more likely destination. No matter what the Chiefs do with him, Thomas needs to get on the field. Speed like this shouldn't go to waste.
Aaron Murray's availability. He had knee surgery last fall and it's time to find out how far along Murray is in his rehab. Murray, who signed his contract on Wednesday, said shortly after being drafted by the Chiefs that he's already been cleared by doctors for full participation. But general manager John Dorsey indicated the Chiefs didn't necessarily expect Murray to be full go until training camp. It's not necessary for the Chiefs to rush Murray or allow him to practice before he's ready. But it's a good sign if he's anything more than just a bystander at rookie camp.
Dee Ford's presence. I once had a coach tell me that it's always a relief to see the top draft pick on the practice field for the first time just to make sure he's the same guy the team thought it was getting. So it will be with Ford, the Chiefs' first-round pick. Once the Chiefs are certain there's no buyer's remorse in his case, they need to get him up to speed quickly. We all saw what happened with this defense the last half of last season.