KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Training camp begins, sort of, for the Kansas City Chiefs on Wednesday when they start a three-day camp for rookies and quarterbacks at Missouri Western State University. The rest of the players report to camp on Friday with the first full-squad practice a day later.
With the rookies getting started soon, we’ll take a look at reasonable expectations for their draft picks this season. We’ll do the four offensive draft picks here. Look for a post on the five defensive draft picks, including first-round cornerback Marcus Peters, on Tuesday.
OL Mitch Morse, Missouri, second round: Morse worked at guard and center at various times during offseason practice. He will be given a chance to earn some playing time but more likely he would begin the regular season as a backup unless forced into the lineup by injury. Guard seems the position where Morse will eventually play, but need could lead the Chiefs to go in a different direction with him. The Chiefs have a long line of candidates to play at guard. They are committed to Ben Grubbs on the left side while veteran Jeff Allen and last year’s starter Zach Fulton are among the options on the right side. Eventually, Morse will be a starter, probably in 2016.
WR Chris Conley, Georgia, third round: The Chiefs believed when they drafted him that Conley would be something of a longer-term prospect, that he would need time to adjust to the NFL game. After seeing him in offseason practice, the Chiefs are far more hopeful Conley can help this year. He’s big at 6-foot-3 but he’s also fast. One problem is that during offseason practice he played the receiving position occupied by Jeremy Maclin. That means little playing time for his backup, unless Maclin is injured. But look for the Chiefs to get a long look at Conley during training camp and, if they feel he is ready for more, give him some snaps at the other spot. Even if he’s a backup, the Chiefs will try to find spots where they can utilize Conley’s speed and size in a favorable matchup.
TE James O'Shaughnessy, Illinois State, fifth round: O’Shaughnessy was another receiver who was a pleasant surprise during offseason practice. The jump from a lower classification of college football to the NFL certainly didn’t overwhelm him. But the pads come on at training camp and the game will get physical and the Chiefs will learn then about O’Shaughnessy’s ability to handle contact and his taste for blocking. The Chiefs like to utilize multi-tight end formations but are thin at the position. They have no established tight ends other than starter Travis Kelce, so O’Shaughnessy will be given every opportunity to become a contributor during the season. While it will be interesting to see how he responds, it’s a bit much to expect a player from an FCS college to have a big role in the NFL as a rookie.
WR Da'Ron Brown, Northern Illinois, seventh round: Brown didn’t distinguish himself during offseason practice and stands well down the depth chart. He’ll make the opening day roster only by consistently showing abilities in training camp that he didn’t in the offseason. He isn’t particularly fast and speed is one quality the Chiefs will give opportunity to prove itself. Still, the Chiefs drafted him because he runs good routes and has reliable hands. It would be something of an upset if the Chiefs didn’t keep him around during the season on their practice squad.