During the final preseason game tonight, most of the game will be played by players trying to earn a roster spot with the Chiefs. We will shine the spotlight on a couple of rookies with local interest, former Kansas Jayhawks Toben Opurum and Bradley McDougald.
When Opurum began his career at Kansas as a running back, and in fact led the Jayhawks in rushing in his freshman year in 2009. For his sophomore year, he was moved to linebacker and defensive end, where he finished his career.
Opurum is trying the make the Chiefs squad as a fullback. His versatility as a runner and as a blocker may be appealing to Coach Andy Reid and his staff. Opurum’s history as a linebacker could also earn him a place on the special teams unit, where athletic ability, physicality, and tackling skills are at a premium.
Keep on eye on how Opurum performs on Thursday, especially while blocking and on special teams. That will be where he is able to offer value. He is probably a long shot to make the roster but the Chiefs may be able to resign him for the practice squad to give them depth at the fullback position.
The other former Jayhawk battling for a roster spot is Bradley McDougald, who also switched from offense to defense. He started at wide receiver then became a defensive back at his time at Kansas. He has played pretty well in the previous preseason games and could add depth in a secondary where there are some question marks. Again, versatility will be what sets McDougald apart. He could probably play in the dime packages and serve as depth at both safety and cornerback.
McDougald spent some time with the first team last week against the Steelers and appears to have a very legitimate place on this roster. It will be interesting to see if he gets a lot of time on Thursday. If he plays a lot, he is probably fighting for a spot.
While sometimes these fourth preseason games seem a bit boring, it is often fun to watch guys playing for their careers. Both Opurum and McDougald have shown enough in camp to have a chance to make the team, and if not, both should have no trouble being added to at least a practice squad, if not for Kansas City, then for someone else.
It is always good to have a favorite to pull for during the last preseason game. Cheer on Opurum and McDougald and hope they earn a place with the Chiefs for the 2013 season.