Chiefs Off-Season Stock Market Report

In what has proven to be the most active off-season in team history, the Kansas City Chiefs have had plenty of time to put their new players on the field in OTA's and Mini-Camp. Players like Derrick Johnson and Samie Parker have been so impressive they could be working themselves into a starting spot on this roster. But the young guns have some solid veterans behind them and many of them look to build upon their success from 2004.

With the Chiefs a mere month away from the start of training camp I thought it would be interesting to take a look at where some of the key players currently stand. Once the hitting starts players will rise and fall again but as of right now this is how it looks.

Skyrocketing Keyaron Fox- He has been fantastic throughout OTA's and Mini-camp. If he can show that he can consistently tackle during training camp he should earn the starting job at one of the three linebacker positions.

Derrick Johnson- Every team expects their first round draft pick to step in and contribute but Derrick Johnson looks to be even better than advertised. He has shown early signs of being the second coming of Junior Seau (Not the old guy in Miami but the young San Diego Charger from the 1990's) and should contend for defensive rookie of the year.

Samie Parker- Parker is without question the most improved player on the Chiefs offense. Throughout mini-camp and OTA's he was torching coverage left and right. What impressed me the most about Parker is that he wasn't only beating people deep; he was also able to concentrate on the ball and make the tough catches.

Rich Scanlon- I never saw Scanlon practice a single down with his teammates in mini-camp. What I did see however was a guy who lead NFL Europe with 94 tackles and went on to be voted the leagues Defensive MVP. If that doesn't raise your stock nothing will.

Eddie Kennison- Eddie Kennison arrived at OTA's looking like he was 24 years old again. He was in peak physical condition and running as fast as I have ever seen him run. Due to his off-season preparation Kennison may be on his way to the best season of his career.

Slight Increase

Kawika Mitchell- Kawika Mitchell looks like he is finally grasping what is expected of him in this defense. In fact I don't recall seeing him out of position a single time throughout the spring practices. Now he only has to prove that he can be a consistent tackler throughout training camp and the pre-season.

Richard Smith- Of all the receivers on the Chiefs roster Smith probably possesses the best set of hands. He continually made plays throughout OTA's that not only showcased his hands but highlighted his 4.4 speed.

Greg Wesley- So far Greg Wesley has adjusted fairly well in his transition from free safety to strong safety. However, teammate Jerome Woods has already proven that he can handle the coverage responsibilities at that position so real competition will begin in River Falls.

Jared Allen- Heading in to the off-season Jared Allen needed to bulk up in order to be effective as a three down lineman. Though he had been great at rushing the passer in his rookie campaign he would now have anchor the right side of the defensive line against the run. Fortunately Allen didn't disappoint as he did in fact put on 10 to 20 pounds during the off-season.

Junior Siavii- He stayed in Kansas City throughout the off-season to work with strength and conditioning coaches Billy Long and Jeff Hurd. In addition to his dedication in the weight room the defensive coaches have been pleased with his effort on the field.

Ryan Sims- Like his teammate Siavii, Sims stayed in Kansas City throughout the off-season to work with the Chiefs strength coaches. His off-season preparation has been outstanding and now the Chiefs can only hope it leads to him reaching his draft day potential.

Carlos Hall- Gunther Cunningham knew what he was getting in Carlos Hall but rest of the coaching staff had to have been surprised by what they saw out of him in practice. Not only is he quick off the edge but he also has a long wingspan that helps him gain leverage and defeat a blocker twice his size. It will be interesting to see how often he is used in the defense.

Steady Performers

Priest Holmes- This was my third year of observing the Chiefs during spring practices every year Priest Holmes shows up as the best conditioned, best prepared athlete on the team. The best back in the NFL is not giving up his crown any time soon.

Patrick Surtain- Throughout OTA's and mini-camp Patrick Surtain lived up to his billing as one of the best corners on the league. You could see him gain confidence in the defense and his teammates as OTA's went on. There may not be such a thing as a shutdown corner any more but his presence will make a huge difference on this defense.

Casey Wiegmann- The under appreciated center is the lunch pail and hard hat guy. He never missed a day of practice and I never saw him take a single play off. Every time I looked over at the offensive line in individual drills I saw Wiegmann busting his tail to get better.

Lional Dalton- Out of all the players that man the middle of the Chiefs defense Lional Dalton is the one guy you can count on to consistently play with sound technique. In fact, Dalton's fundamentals are so good you could use one of his game films to put on a clinic called "How to play defensive tackle".

Long Term Investments

Craphonso Thorpe- The fourth round draft choice struggled early on in OTA's but made huge strides throughout off-season workouts as he became more familiar with the playbook. It is hard to say how soon he will come in and contribute but he is already farther along than Samie Parker was at this point last season. Regardless of what happens in the 2005 season Thorpe, Parker, and Smith should make up one dangerous trio for years to come.

Boomer Grigsby- I don't think there is a more likable or harder working player on the Chiefs roster than Boomer Grigsby. Yet, what gets lost in all of his personality is that the guy is a pretty good football player that reeled off 580 tackles in college. At 5'11" he might seem a little undersized but what he lacks in ideal height he makes up for in strength, speed and leverage. I am anxious to see how he performs in River Falls against NFL offensive linemen and his ability to fight through their blocks.

Sam Gado- At 5'11" and 210lbs Gado has a compact and powerful frame like teammate Priest Holmes. At times you could even mistake him for Holmes as he would bounce to the outside and then explode through the hole with a burst of speed. From the first time I saw him run the ball in rookie camp I felt the Chiefs had found their replacement for Derrick Blaylock.

Kris Griffin- Prior to the Chiefs acquiring him as an un-drafted rookie fee agent, Kris Griffin was a Division II standout at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Once he arrived in Kansas City he quickly stood out amongst his peers at rookie camp. He is a very athletic linebacker with a similar build to Derrick Johnson so at times you would confuse the two. Unfortunately for him there is a logjam the linebacker position and his best shot at making the team is likely on the practice squad.

Slighty Down

Kris Wilson- During off-season practices Kris Wilson took the majority of the snaps at first team tight end in place of the injured Tony Gonzalez. Unfortunately Wilson did not appear to be the same player I saw in 2004 prior to breaking his leg in the pre-season. Although Wilson didn't look bad he still wasn't the player I saw last year who looked like a combination of Shannon Sharpe and Kimble Anders.

Marc Boerigter- Boerigter will need to make a strong comeback during training camp if he wants to remain on the roster. He has not been able to compete due to last year's knee injury and the available roster spots are filling up with young speedsters.

Plummeting

Scott Fujita- While Fujita rehabs his injury and watches from the sideline the other outside linebackers are looking marvelous. He may never start again as a Chief unless someone in front of him is injured.

Shawn Barber- While Barber rehabs his injury and watches from the sideline the other outside linebackers are taking his job. Where do you put him if he comes back from injury? Can you afford not to play him because his salary is so high?

Mike Maslowski- The former starting middle linebacker looked like he was healthy enough to practice but the Chiefs coaches held him out. Is this an early sign that he has seen his last days as a Chief?

Jerome Woods- Woods missing the first two weeks of OTA's was a huge mistake on his part. Now it appears Wesley has a solid hold on the free safety position.

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