The Kansas City Chiefs conclude their offseason work this week with a three-day mini-camp beginning Tuesday. They won’t gather on the field as a group again until training camp begins in late July, in St. Joseph, Misouri.
Here are three players who have made an impression on their coaches since offseason practice started:
WR Tyreek Hill. Fast players have the best chance to make an impact during offseason practices, which are conducted without pads or physical contact. So the speedy Hill, the Chiefs’ fifth-round draft pick, was going to stand out. But Hill went above and beyond. He showed not only that he was fast, but the ability to outrun the ball. On at least two passes that appeared they would be overthrown, Hill not only caught up to the ball, but made the proper adjustments to it in flight and made the catches. Unless the game changes for Hill once the pads come on (as happens for a lot of players), the Chiefs plan to get him involved in their passing game. How much will be determined during training camp. On special teams, Hill is likely to be the punt returner and could bring back kickoffs as well. Special teams coordinator Dave Toub, who formerly coached Devin Hester with the Chicago Bears, recently said Hill has comparable return skills.
TE Ross Travis. The 6-foot-7 Travis, who played basketball but not football in college at Penn State, has played well enough that the Chiefs see him as a legitimate receiving threat in their three-tight end formations they like so much. Travis joined the Chiefs last season on their practice squad and acknowledged that for much of the season he didn’t know where to line up on a given play or what route to run. He doesn’t have those problems anymore, and the Chiefs think he’s shown enough that they will have a physical advantage when they go to a lineup that includes Travis, Travis Kelce at 6-5 and Demetrius Harris at 6-7.
LB Justin March. March picked up where he left off last summer, when he was having a strong rookie preseason before his year was ended with a knee injury. March has a knack for pass coverage, and the Chiefs are intrigued enough with him that he was given some snaps with the starting defense in offseason practice. March is small for an inside linebacker. He’s listed at 222 pounds, 20 pounds less than one starter, Derrick Johnson, and 23 less than the other, Josh Mauga. March have to show the Chiefs he can handle the physical demands of the position and assignments in the running game before he gets a bigger role. That’s why it’s difficult to make a prediction for how much he will play and in what type of role.