From the Truman Sports Complex
They’ve got to crawl before they can walk and walk before they run. That’s true for children, and it’s true for NFL rookies.
It was especially true for the group of 65 bodies that took part in the Chiefs three-day rookie minicamp. Ragged would be a kind description for some of the performances in drills, especially in Andy Reid’s offense. Just getting the play called in the huddle was a chore at times.
(To the right that’s No. 1 draft choice Eric Fisher striking a padded sled during the mini-camp.)
But from Friday’s first full practice through Sunday’s final workout of the mini-camp, there was progress made. As the Chiefs went through the practice indoors, they were far more efficient and productive than in the first two days.
“We threw a lot of words at them and it’s like learning French overnight,” said head coach Andy Reid. “It gradually gets better and everything slows down for them just a bit. They did get a little smoother as we went.”
There were 64 players taking part in Sunday’s session and many will be on flights out of Kansas City Sunday evening and Monday morning. Reid expected the Chiefs would sign a number of the tryout players that took part. With 36 players in on that three-day basis, there’s not a lot of room on the 90-man roster; there are no more than five or six spots available. The number is fluid because the team’s selections from the 2013 NFL Draft that have not yet signed a contract. So far only 2 of the 8 picks have inked a deal.
“It doesn’t matter whether you were the first pick or a college free agent, we don’t care,” Reid said. “We are going to coach them all the same. We have a chance to see how they pick it up and then we make our decisions.
“Does that mean that the kids that you let go don’t have a chance? No, some of them are going to have an opportunity somewhere else.”
Given that there are just two walkthroughs and three practices in three days, how can the coaches and personnel department evaluate the tryout guys?
“We gave the kids a lot of reps and you do the best you can off film study and how they take your coaching,” Reid said.
Asked who jumped out in performance during the camp, Reid stuck to the guys who are already under contract: free agent QB Tyler Bray, OT Eric Fisher, TE Travis Kelce, LB Nico Johnson and DB Sanford Commings.
He said about:
Johnson â€“ “Nico was a good college player and it looked like he did some nice things out here. He will get in there and compete with Akeem (Jordan). Akeem obviously has the advantage over him with experience, but Nico is a talented player.”
Fisher â€“ “I thought he looked smooth and every day he was a little bit better. You saw him become a little more comfortable at that spot (right tackle). You can tell his athletic abilities; he is smooth, he is a big man that can move and bend.”
Bray â€“ “Tyler had a nice day today. He made some nice throws down in the red zone. He has to continue to make progress.”
Commings â€“ “It was good to see him working at safety. He played a little bit of corner but was primarily at safety. It was nice to see the progress that he made as he went on. We feel like he can still play corner, but that gives us the flexibility to play that free safety position.”
Kelce â€“ “He did a nice job out there, picking up the offense and catching some passes. He got better every day.”
The 8 draft choices, 13 undrafted free agents that were already signed to contracts and the 8 first-year players under contract should all be back at the facility on Monday for the continuation of the off-season program, with OTA sessions on the field starting Tuesday. Any of the tryout players the Chiefs decide to sign can take part in that work as well.
It all leads to a three-day, full-team, mandatory mini-camp on June 4-5-6.