Rookie Camp Report: Three-Day Review

The Chiefs concluded their three-day rookie mini-camp and tryout Monday. In three days you can't learn much about these young men, most of which will struggle to make the roster, but a few stood out.

Here's a recap of the draft choices, plus a few sleepers who might sneak onto the roster.

WR Dwayne Bowe was simply trying too hard to impress his coaches. He needs to relax and concentrate on what he needs to do in preparation to catch the ball, let alone what he's going to do after the catch. As I mentioned in an earlier report, he had a major case of the drops on Saturday, but did a better job of holding onto the rock Sunday and Monday. He did take a nice shot on his thigh in what Herm Edwards described as a ‘boo-boo," keeping him out of the last half of the workout. To me, that means he needs to toughen up a bit.

DE Turk McBride was nothing short of brilliant. He's ready to play right now. He's smart, understands the game of football and, unless he's injured, will start on opening day at right defensive end. He's impressed me so much that if he does well during Jared Allen's suspension, I can see him holding on to the starting job for an extended period of time.

DT Tank Tyler is also on the fast track to becoming a starter. He was playing at a level that simply blew away the inferior talent he was facing along the offensive line. Plug him in alongside Ron Edwards or Alphonso Boone and this unit can't help but be better than it was a year ago.

RB Kolby Smith was very solid the last two days. He knows what to do when he catches the ball. He knew the quickest direction to the house and has a natural instinct to run up the field instead of dancing to the sidelines. You can't teach that. He'll have some competition in free agent running back Marcus O'Keith from California, who Edwards praised for dropping only one pass the entire three days.

The bottom line with this running back situation is the Chiefs are hedging their bets in the event Larry Johnson decides to hold out. It's also clear Edwards wants versatile backs playing on third down, and that means LJ could be on the bench in obvious passing situations.

PK Justin Medlock has an extremely strong leg. I talked to special teams coach Mike Priefer after practice on Monday. He had a bit of a twinkle in his eye when I mentioned Medlock, but made it clear that Lawrence Tynes and Medlock will battle for the job. He also said holder Dustin Colquitt has been working with Medlock since the team drafted him, which probably means Medlock has the early edge.

OT Herb Taylor didn't really stand out, but didn't do anything that would lead me to believe he wasn't a good draft pick. For the most part, the offensive linemen really didn't do much apart from a few drills. Taylor has good size and displayed good balance from what I saw, but has a distance to travel in learning a pro-style offense. In college he played exclusively in the run-and-shoot.

TE Michael Allan looked like a Division III football player at times, but I'm high on him because you can't teach a great set of hands. Clearly he was nervous, but on other occasions – especially when he caught the ball in traffic over the middle – he was steady. He wasn't spectacular by any means, but give him a year or so watching and learning from Tony Gonzalez and he'll be a playmaker. He needs to get stronger in his upper body so he can improve his blocking.

All in all it wasn't electric out on the football field the last three days, but if the Chiefs can sign four or five of these players and one or two of them make the final roster, that's all you can ask.

Some Other Rookie Camp Notes:

LB Ameer Ismail from Western Michigan was impressive. He was so comfortable playing outside linebacker the last three days I can't believe he went un-drafted. He was everywhere. On running plays, he was there to make the tackle. On passing plays he quickly tracked down running backs and tight ends, stopping them for little gain. I can see Ismail making this team. The Chiefs had yet to sign him as of Monday afternoon, but that should be a formality.

At Western Michigan he was the Chippewas' defensive player of the year. He led the NCAA with 17 sacks last year as a Senior, and added 23 tackles for loss.

WR Brad Ekwerekwu had the best three days of any receiver in camp. He caught nearly every ball in sight. It's hard to believe he was Missouri's fourth-ranked wide receiver. He gave Dwayne Bowe a run for his money and the two spent a lot of time together. Bowe is a lock to make the team, but Ekwereku has some game. He caught the ball with extended hands and was able to move his feet after the catch.

TE Keith Willis had three solid days. Like I mentioned yesterday, he's a younger version of Jason Dunn. He outperformed Michael Allan, and the two should battle for the third tight end spot on the roster this season. At this point, based on having one more year of experience, Willis is ahead.

QB Jeff Terrell from Princeton really struggled the first two days, but on Monday he was very sharp and seemed a bit more comfortable throwing the ball. He's not going to make the roster, but he's an extra arm. In other words, Casey Printers has nothing to worry about.

Signings:


Brian Crum LB Florida

Chris Harris DE Alabama

Wes Murphy TE Arkansas

James Newby T North Carolina State

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