"Football Players" Rule KC's Draft

Herman Edwards has been the Chiefs' head coach since January. In short order he has evaluated his team's weaknesses and addressed needs. This team needed more "football players." Not in the sense of numbers, but in talent and productivity on the field.

Just looking at the first day of the draft, the Chiefs added three guys with impressive production on the field. Each player has one thing in common. They were born to play football.

Tamba Hali, the defensive end from Penn State, was the purest pass rusher on the draft board. Only two teams ignored his weak performance at Penn State's Pro Day in March: the New York Giants and the Kansas City Chiefs. Neither team was concerned with his slow 40 times. Instead, they looked inside the man that makes up the athlete.

"He is a marvelous human being," Carl Peterson said. "I think you all know about his background and what he has gone through to get here. This is a very, very talented young man. He is a wonderful human being and an outstanding player for the Kansas City Chiefs."

That philosophy is a new one at One Arrowhead Drive, and one that was repeated with the Chiefs next three selections.

In the second round they picked Purdue safety Bernard Pollard. In college, his nickname was ‘Bone Crusher.' When he hit an oncoming running back, they usually tasted dirt.

Again, he fits the mold that the Chiefs coveted. He can tackle.

"Some like it more than others," Edwards said. "It's not a natural thing to do to tackle. It's really not, when you think about it. Tackling is this: there's two ways. You can kind of tackle and kind of grab him, or you can run through him. These guys run through guys. They get their jerseys dirty. I'm not saying we don't have those types of players on our team, but when you infuse them with more of those players you become more physical in your presence. All of these players will do that. They're going to go and unless they hear the whistle they're going to run through the ball."

All Chiefs fans have to remember is Tiki Barber slashing his way through the Chiefs defense in New York. On one play, he seemed to make the entire defense whiff. That single play summed up the Chiefs' tackling abilities the last two seasons. Edwards is correct. Some players have a passion for it while others don't.

But that attitude carries over to the offense, as well. When the team stole Alabama quarterback Brodie Croyle in the third round, they found themselves their future starter. Croyle has a mental toughness that reminds some of Joe Montana and more recently of Tom Brady.

Granted, Croyle has a lot to learn about playing in the NFL, but he has that one intangible that you can't teach or coach. He's a winner. He has a passion for the game that you must have if you're going to lead your team in the playoffs.

And that's what its all about for this team. The Chiefs were very fortunate to grab such a talented young quarterback. He's about to enter the perfect situation, playing behind Trent Green with no pressure to perform or win a job in 2006. When will he be ready to start for the Chiefs?

That remains to be seen, but the Chiefs are very high on his potential.

"He's an extremely impressive young man both on and off the field," said Peterson. "This is what we think is a special quarterback with special abilities who can fit well into what we do here."

In day two of the draft the Chiefs found two more highly rated players, who for specific reasons fell into rounds five and six.

With their fifth pick, the Chiefs grabbed University of Miami cornerback Marcus Maxey. In 2005, he finally shined after sitting behind Antrell Rolle, the first corner taken in the 2005 draft.

He's another tough, hard-nosed football player who's not afraid to mix it up.

"He's an upbeat guy, has a lot of energy," said Edwards. "This kid has tremendous athletic ability. He hasn't played the position that long, and is a little raw. But he can run and jump and is not afraid to tackle. He's just a raw guy, but he's not afraid to work. He needs a lot of work fundamentally. But if you listen to him talk he's about work. He's about coming in and working. That's what I like about all the players we've drafted so far."

The re-birth of the Chiefs organization is in full swing. Edwards, Peterson and Vice President of Player Personnel Bill Kuharich have done their homework in preparing for this draft.

Even when they moved to offense at the latter end of the draft, they found a gem like San Diego State wide receiver Jeff Webb in round six.

Webb could be a steal once he learns how to use his speed. Blessed with incredible wheels (4.3 40-yard dash time) and terrific hands, he works hard. Even with an erratic offense at San Diego State, he led the team in receptions the last three seasons.

The Chiefs last pick went back to defense. They found UCLA safety Jarrad Page. Knowing they were thin at the position, they were able to select a player who amassed 249 tackles (169 solo) while starting 45 out of 49 games for the Bruins.

Again, the Chiefs looked for productive players who had a hard-driving attitude. They drafted seven players that come from solid college programs. These universities have track records that lead to success in the NFL.

No one knows how many of these rookies will make the final roster. But the Chiefs have added football players in areas of need. That's not always the plan, but for the Chiefs, this 2006 draft looks like a solid one.

Stay tuned as we learn a little bit more in the next couple of weeks, when the rookies get their first taste of Edwards' rookie camp.

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