KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs open a three-day rookie minicamp Saturday, offering first-year players an orientation to life in the NFL and potentially a coveted roster spot.
Oct 5, 2013; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Georgia State Panthers wide receiver Albert Wilson (2) against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Joining the team’s six members of the 2014 draft class, all of whom are expected to attend, are undrafted free agents and players invited for a tryout.
Of course, the meaningful action won’t come until the entire team converges for organized team activities (OTAs) and mandatory minicamps. But for the players in attendance, this is an opportunity to make an impression with the coaching staff.
Here are five weekend scenarios to monitor:
Spotlight on Darryl Surgent and Albert Wilson
The Chiefs didn’t address a bona fide wide receiver in the draft, but immediately signed two intriguing undrafted free agents, boosting the total number of wide receivers on the roster to 11.
Surgent, who played at Louisiana-Lafayette, bring 4.55 40-yard dash speed and special teams experience. When it comes to the latter category, Surgent holds schools records for career kickoffs returned (129) and return yards (2,744), according to the school’s website.
The former Ragin’ Cajun recorded a punt and kickoff return for a touchdown last season. Kansas State fans will remember Surgent’s school-record 100-yard kickoff return against the Wildcats. Surgent finished his college career with 100 catches for 1,642 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Wilson, who played at Georgia State, offers 4.43 speed and averaged a whopping 18.2 yards per catch in college. He left college as Georgia State’s leading receiver with 175 receptions for 3,190 yards and 23 touchdowns.
According to Georgia State’s website, Wilson was involved in six-of-seven longest plays from scrimmage in school history, which includes longest pass (93 yards) and run (80 yards.
Like Surgent, Wilson brings special teams experience. The former Panther holds the school records for longest kickoff return (100 yards) and punt return (62), while recording an impressive 21 plays of 50-plus yards during his collegiate career, according to the school’s website.
How much will quarterback Aaron Murray do?
Probably not much if Chiefs general manager John Dorsey’s post-draft comments are an indication.
Murray, who returns from an ACL injury suffered in late November 2013, said during his media conference following his selection he’s ready to go. But Dorsey indicated Murray is at “90 percent” and the Chiefs won’t rush matters before training camp.
The fifth-round pick (163rd overall) will likely be limited throughout the three-day minicamp.
Where does offensive tackle Laurent Duvernay-Tardif line up?
The second of the team’s sixth-round picks (200th overall) is arguably the most intriguing of the current rookie class. Duvernay-Tardif is a developmental player, having started his college career on defense before moving to the offensive line in 2011.
The Chiefs believe he can play on either side of the offensive line or inside, and the team covets a versatile offensive lineman. And even with the free-agent signing of Jeff Linkenbach, the Chiefs still need to identify a swing tackle during the upcoming minicamps and OTAs.
Duvernay-Tardif, who is listed at 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, could prove to be the guy.
The Chiefs’ offseason roster currently sits at the league maximum of 90 players.
But if there’s one thing to be learned every year before OTAs go in full bloom, it’s the roster can and will change before training camp.
Rookies aren’t the only ones hoping to stand out throughout the three-day minicamp with the coaching staff. Players invited for tryouts could also impress and eventually sign a contract, meaning the team will have to make adjustment to accommodate signings.
The trick is identifying the standouts.
Potential defensive gem
Undrafted free agent strong safety Daniel Sorensen has the size, measuring 6-foot-1, 205 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine. The former Brigham Young University star also has the lunch pail mentality to improve, evidenced by the recovery in his Pro Day 40-yard dash time of 4.55 compared to a 4.66 at the Combine.
During his career at BYU, Sorensen recorded 211 tackles (122 solo), a sack, eight interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, according to the school’s website.
The Chiefs need depth at strong safety behind starter Eric Berry, so giving Sorensen a hard look more than makes sense.
Meanwhile, don’t overlook an obvious connection to Chiefs coach Andy Reid, whose alma mater is BYU.
If anybody has insight into a player from Provo, Utah, it would be Reid, whose former three-time Pro Bowl tight end in Philadelphia, Chad Lewis, is currently an associate athletics director at BYU.
The Chiefs’ 2014 NFL Draft class: