King’s article is worth reading if you haven’t already done so.
By the way, I received an email last week from a Chiefs fan whose family benefitted directly from Cassel and Baldwin’s efforts.
I wanted to extend a more personal thank you to the Chiefs players who arrived at my parents’ house in Joplin and cleared away trees and debris. They live on the east side of town on 5 acres and lost probably 30 trees. The task was insurmountable and without the help of the many volunteers who showed up it would have been a task far too great for my family to take on alone. For the players that came along, again I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It makes me proud to call myself a fan!
- Leslie Clouston, Overland Park, KS
In addition to Baldwin and Cassel, many other Chiefs have also aided their muscle in the daunting task of cleaning up Joplin.
From a football scope, Baldwin’s visit signals a genuine buy-in towards winning over his new teammates and fan base. Traveling two-plus hours to help with the aftermath of a historic natural disaster is an solid example that Baldwin’s in embracing his new community.
It’s also a good first impression for those concerned with the knocks that Baldwin took regarding his character shortly after the Chiefs selected him 26th overall.
Baldwin has yet to be issued a pair of team sweats, much less experience the fans that fill Arrowhead Stadium for the first time. He’s now spent more time in the community than he has with Chiefs coaches.
Off the field, Baldwin is acing rookie exams. But on the field, he sits in the same pool as the 31 other players selected in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
No contract talks. No mini-camps. No organized team activities. No individual coaching.
With the exception of quarterbacks, most NFL teams expect their first-round selections to make an immediate on-field impact. The NFL off-season is structured in a manner that allows college player to bridge the gap from amateur to professional as quickly as possible.
Healthy amounts of first-rounders go on to become Opening Day starters and those playing for Todd Haley have done just that. Under Haley, both
The last Chiefs first-rounder not to start on Opening Day as a rookie was
For top picks, the waiting game has shortened as dramatically as the financial commitments have increased.
Little more than 10 years ago, the splits in Kansas City weren’t the same. Instead of first-rounders starting immediately, the majority had to wait their turn.
Of the nine first-round pick drafted by the Chiefs from 1990-1999, four didn’t make a single start as rookies. The list includes players like future first-ballot Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez and former Pro Bowler Jerome Woods.
Of the five that did make starts, three had to wait until Week 11 or later.
|2010||Eric Berry||Week 1|
|2009||Tyson Jackson||Week 1|
|Week 1 |
|2007||Dwayne Bowe||Week 2|
|2003||Larry Johnson||No Starts|
|2002||Ryan Sims||Week 5|
|2000||Sylvester Morris||Week 2|
|1999||John Tait||Week 12|
|1998||Victor Riley||Week 2|
|1997||Tony Gonzalez||No Starts|
|1996||Jerome Woods||No Starts|
|1995||Trezelle Jenkins||No Starts|
|1994||Greg Hill||Week 11|
|1992||Dale Carter||Week 3|
|1991||Harvey Williams||Week 15|
|1990||Percy Snow||No Starts|
Considering the Chiefs current situation at wide receiver, the probability that Baldwin lines up as a rookie starter is high. But how quickly can we expect that to happen?
We’re learning things new about Baldwin even in the absence of off-season workouts. He’s reportedly flown into town and worked on route-running with Cassel, in addition to their community efforts. Kansas City’s top pick appears excited about becoming a Chief and ready to work, but how quickly can Baldwin adapt to his new manual?
Like most of the rookies around the league, Baldwin has benefitted from tutors like Cassel, but he hasn’t truly stepped foot inside the classroom.
A quick mastery of the learning curve is critical for all rookies looking to see the field early this season.