When Head Coach, Andy Reid, allowed the rest of the world to view his first depth chart, everyone had something to say about it. In the end, it served its overall purpose because there were a few things that caught our attention.
1. QB Chase Daniel - To be fair, the former Missouri Tiger standout had his best day in camp on Saturday. What does that mean long term? No clue because, even though he’s listed as the back-up to veteran, Alex Smith, I’m not a believer he’ll make that stick.
Daniel has showed enormous difficulty completing passes with no pressure on him when the team lines up seven against seven. When those drills move to 11 on 11 he actually performs better which is perplexing. To me, his lack of size and inconsistent slot angles throwing the ball could derail his roster inclusion this September.
He will get some reps on Thursday evening. But how long he plays, will determine how Reid really feels about Daniel’s chances to make the roster. He could also be showcasing Daniel with an eye on trading him to another NFL team. Either way I still maintain second year Quarterback, Tyler Bray, opens the season as Smith’s understudy.
2. G Zach Fulton - If the season started today, the sixth round pick from Tennessee would be in the opening day lineup at right guard for Kansas City. His quick rise in the depth chart is attributed to the hard work he endured at the onset of the Chiefs rookie camp last May.
His greatest strength lies within the confidence he could quickly make the jump from college to the NFL without much effort. Don’t get me wrong he’s worked his tail off but we have to remember, he started virtually every game over a four-year span for the Vols.
So that puts him ahead of any other starting suitors including veteran, Jeff Linkenbach, who I’m sure was penciled in as the teams right guard before camp began. Fulton’s rise to starter is a good thing because they’ll need him to play beyond that rookie level this season in order to shore up the interior of KC’s offensive line.
3. WR Donnie Avery - The Chiefs must find another competent receiver to line up opposite, Dwayne Bowe. When camp began I thought it would be receiver, A.J. Jenkins. However, the man who was often criticized for dropping a plethora of passes last season, Donnie Avery, has shown no ill effects of those bad habits thus far in training camp.
Avery has always been blessed with great speed and the ability to catch the rock when it’s dropped right into his breadbasket. However, when he’s been forced to adjust his hands on footballs thrown to one side or the other of his body, he tends to put the ball on the ground.
So it’s good news, he’s been able to catch most everything thrown his way. Best of all should that trend continue he might just make the kind of impact in 2014 the Chiefs felt he would last year.
4. CB Ron Parker - You have to give him props for never giving up on his NFL dream. In a limited role, Parker has shown the ability to make plays for the Chiefs defense. So his rise to a starting spot on defense over veteran, Sean Smith, is well deserved.
His statistics aren’t going to remind you of some of the greats that have played the position in Kansas City over the years but I argue he is a better cornerback than, Brandon Flowers or Smith for that matter.
The Chiefs have given Parker a chance to prove he can play his position on the island he’ll ultimately be judged based on his performance in the exhibition season. Starting Thursday night, he’ll get that chance to prove he belongs.
5. DE Allen Bailey - It can’t be overlooked that Bailey has become one of the better success stories in training camp. The former third round selection, who had first round talent, appears to be living up to the goods that had been previously advertised.
With Tyson Jackson out of the way, Bailey took the approach this off-season to get into the best shape of his career. He came into KC’s OTA session’s muscle ripped, motivated and maintained the singular focus to be an every down defender. To date, he’s on course to do just that.
Photos: Kyle Terada (Ron Parker) & Denny Medley (Allen Bailey) USA Today Sports Images
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