Rookie Camp Report: Day 2

It's very clear to me that Tank Tyler and Turk McBride are the talk of Kansas City's rookie camp. They are the future, and their presence might someday be compared to the impact Neil Smith and Derrick Thomas made on this roster in the 90's.

That might be pushing it, but after watching them practice twice now, these two defensive standouts – even without pads and before ever taking an NFL snap – are the real deal. Already, they are two of the better defensive linemen on this football team.

Tyler, the Chiefs' third-round pick from North Carolina State, had a mean streak in college. When he had an opportunity to hit people, he did so. When he could cross the line of scrimmage and create havoc, he did so. When there was a play to be made, he generally made it.

In mini camp, even though he's been banging up against offensive linemen that likely won't make the final roster, he's been so dominating I'd pencil him in as a starter right now.

The Chiefs don't have another defensive tackle on the roster with Tyler's size, speed and ability to clog the middle. Good tackles force double teams so outside pass rushers can get into the backfield. Tyler already demands that presence.

He'll have to develop a consistency to his game that was in question at times in college, but he has a gift. He can turn it on when it's time to play football and turn it off when the whistle blows.

"You've got to go 100 miles per hour on every step with maximum effort," said Tyler. "That's what coach Edwards has told us."

Does that sound like a player with a lack of motivation? The other thing that's strikingly fresh when talking to Tyler is how open he is about his off-the-field issues. In college he was arrested for assaulting a cop, an incident he hasn't forgotten.

"Whenever I do anything form this day forward, I have a lot to think about because I've been through it," said Tyler. "Somebody who hasn't been through it doesn't usually think about it, unless somebody's told them or they have seen it first-hand from somebody else. So I have a lot to think about and I've been through it and I've been made a different man today."

Tyler's attitude bodes well for his future in Kansas City. That's one thing that Edwards has preached to all of his players. He wants them to face their problems like men and wants them to talk about it with the media. It's clear to me that Tyler has learned his lesson.

As for McBride, he also seems to be on a similar starting path. But his versatility is something that both he and the Chiefs are excited about.

"I'm very confident in my athletic ability and what I can do both inside and outside," said McBride. "I'm learning the system pretty well so far, so I believe that I can contribute."

That's something we saw last year from almost every rookie the Chiefs drafted. Though most of them didn't start, they all made contributions.

McBride already has been penciled in as a starter, since defensive end Jared Allen will serve a four-game suspension to being the season.

The Chiefs chose McBride in the second round because they saw a huge need to upgrade the pass rush. Even if he does play well in Allen's absence, on Sunday McBride suggested the possibility of a move to defensive tackle in the future.

"Right now we are just going over the right defensive end position," he said. "But quite frankly I'll probably be going inside on nickel packages."

Other Notes:

Running back Kolby Smith, who was excused from Saturday's practice, was back on the field Sunday and participated in all drills. He clearly has good hands and awareness as to where he needs to be on the field, whether he's running, catching passes or blocking. He definitely has some game, and could prove to be a valuable fifth-round pick.

Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe caught the ball better on Sunday. That's a good sign for him, as he was almost like a fish out of water on Saturday. On Sunday he looked the part of a first-round draft pick.

Safety Marlin Fare had a solid practice on Sunday. The rookie from Hampton has some definite skills, and if he continues to show his abilities in practice he might be a candidate for the fourth safety slot, but that will depend on what the Chiefs do with Greg Wesley.

Wide receiver Brad Ekewereku had another solid day. He's making a case for getting a long look in training camp. The former Missouri Tiger is one of my surprises thus far.

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