The NFL preseason kicks off for the KC Chiefs on Thursday at Arrowhead Stadium against the Cincinnati Bengals. This year the Chiefs will have six drafted rookies who are vying to make an impact in the league.
Looking at these six rookies, it’s possible that none of them will start, but there have been talks that sixth round offensive lineman Zach Fulton has really impressed the organization. Fulton will fill a dire need on the o-line, which lost several members via free agency.
Now it’s kind of odd that a sixth round pick will start, but a first round pick will not. That’s just how the cookie crumbles this year I guess, as this year’s first round pick Dee Ford will likely not start. He instead will observe Tamba Hali and Justin Houston as they wreck havoc on opposing offenses. Ford will definitely see playing time and should immediately be able to help out Hali and Houston.
It’s also likely that the drafting of Ford will lead to this being Hali’s final season in Kansas City. That being said, expect Ford to be a well known name throughout the NFL.
Phillip Gaines should see quite a bit of playing time since the cornerback situation in Kansas City is odd to say the least. Brandon Flowers was released, Sean Smith had some offseason drama, and Marcus Cooper keeps getting injured in training camp. None of these are beneficial to the corner position, but Gaines should be able to make an impact for this secondary.
Aaron Murray more than likely won’t see playing time this year and will probably be the third string quarterback behind Alex Smith and either Chase Daniel or Tyler Bray. The team might decide to keep four quarterbacks on the roster due to the strengths they all possess.
While it would be good for Murray to gain experience on the field, let’s hope that it’s due to a large lead and not an injury to Smith or whoever the backup quarterback is.
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is a bit of a question mark to me. I don’t think he will start, but the Chiefs organization seems to be pretty excited about him, and that makes me excited. Kansas City could definitely use this kid in a starting role years down the road.
My prediction for the breakout rookie in 2014 is De’Anthony Thomas. Thomas will be filling Dexter McCluster‘s shoes as an offensive weapon, meaning he will be running the ball, catching the ball, and returning kicks and/or punts.
The Chiefs’ special teams dominated last year and Thomas will continue that trend in 2014. This kid has a ton of potential and is fast as hell. Training camp might not be a huge deal, but Thomas has made his fair share of plays throughout.
With Thomas’ speed and athleticism, he will surely make a huge difference on not just special teams, but on offense as well. He was drafted as a running back, but as you can see from Rachel’s tweet above, he has the ability to play wide receiver also.
My personal hope is that all six have great seasons and continue to help the KC Chiefs years from now.
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