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A Quick Rundown of 20 Things We Learned at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine

Posted Mar 6, 2017

News and notes following a week of testing and media in Indianapolis

It was a busy week for everyone involved.

The 2017 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis is where 330 of the best draft prospects in the country were tested physically, mentally and emotionally over the course of the last week in front of the NFL’s most important decision makers. 

Even though many of these players will take visits to select teams’ facilities over the next couple of months and hold their own pro days at their respective colleges leading up to the NFL Draft, which takes place April 27-29 in Philadelphia, this was still the biggest week for these guys on a lot of levels.

It was a chance for many of these players to get face-to-face with these coaching and personnel staffs for the first time, and with guys like Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey saying he can learn about a players’ character within the first 15 minutes of meeting him, the importance of a good first impression can’t be overstated.

So, mostly with a Chiefs’ connection, here’s a quick rundown of 20 things we learned at the Combine:

One NFL Expert believes the Chiefs have the best roster in the NFL—top to bottom.

Washington WR John Ross will challenge Tyreek Hill as fastest player in the NFL next season.

Ross made headlines on Saturday, as he broke the NFL Scouting Combine’s 40-yard dash record with a gallop of 4.22 seconds, which beat the previous record of 4.24—set by running back Chris Johnson in 2008.

For more on that story, click here.

Chiefs GM John Dorsey believes the quarterbacks in this draft class have some work to do.

The Chiefs have formal meetings with several of the draft’s top quarterbacks.

The Chiefs had formal interviews with Notre Dame’s Deshone Kizer, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes II, North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky, Pittsburgh’s Nathan Peterman and Miami’s Brad Kaaya, per those players during their media availability or Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star.

It’s worth noting that teams get a total of 60 formal interviews at the Combine, and considering many of the seniors in this class were present and available to meet at the Senior Bowl a few weeks ago in Mobile, Alabama, these formal meetings shouldn’t be dissected too much because, for a lot of the juniors who declared early (including many of those quarterbacks), this was a team’s first opportunity to speak with them.

The Chiefs also met with projected first-rounders at several other positions, including defensive line, cornerback and linebacker.

The Chiefs have consistently stated that veteran Alex Smith, who has led the team to the playoffs in three of his four seasons in Kansas City, is the starting quarterback next season.

This could mean it’s an ideal situation for a young quarterback, particularly with a class that, as Dorsey said, “has some work to do.”

“If you’re a quarterback and you land to the Chiefs in the first round, you know you don’t have to start right away and you know you’re going to get good coaching—that’s a great situation,” CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler explained.

For more on this story, click here.

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah breaks down the top quarterbacks with a former Andy Reid quarterback for comparison.

Pittsburgh running back James Conner, a cancer survivor, finds inspiration in Eric Berry.

Conner, who holds the ACC career record for touchdowns with 52, was announced as cancer-free last May after battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the same cancer Eric Berry had fought and beaten as well.

When speaking with the media on Thursday at the NFL Combine, Conner was asked who his inspiration was, and the answer was easy.

“Eric Berry,” he said. “The same exact cancer, [and he] returned to the field just like I did. Yeah, him. Same exact thing. One of my biggest inspirations is Eric."

Conner added that he was happy to see the recent news of Berry’s contract extension.

"It just shows a great organization like the Chiefs believed in him for them to do that,” he said. “It just shows that you can come back after going through something like we went through and still be successful, so it gives hope really."

For more on that story, click here.

The 2017 tight end draft class is really fast.

Dorsey said there are “one or two” linebackers he really likes in this draft. 

“There are some pretty good (inside linebackers in this draft),” Dorsey explained. “I don’t want to identify which ones I think are pretty good, but I think there are some good players to be found at various stages, but there’s a player or two that’s already caught my eye.”

The Chiefs had formal interviews with Temple’s Haason Reddick and Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunningham, per their media availability.

Reddick has been a popular name linked to the Chiefs.

The Chiefs want to bring back impending free agent Dontari Poe.

“If we have an opportunity to get him back, I’m going to fight like the dickens to get him back,” Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said of Poe.

For more on that story, click here.

The top quarterbacks in this draft like Andy Reid.

Travis Kelce had offseason shoulder surgery and will miss some offseason workouts.

“Travis [Kelce] had his shoulder cleaned out a little bit, so he’ll be out for most of the offseason,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said last Wednesday.

Signs are positive for other injured players, including Jaye Howard, Allen Bailey and Derrick Johnson.

“Those guys are doing good,” Reid explained. “We’ve gotten good reports—Jaye’s working down where he got the surgery, but they’re all making progress and doing well and we expect them all back.

“It’ll be great to get those guys back in there playing, a couple of those guys we missed there, so it’ll be good to get them back."

Chiefs coach Andy Reid knows how to sign an undrafted free agent.

Dorsey praises Chiefs’ executives Trip MacCracken and Brandt Tilis for work on contract extensions.

“They do the actual day-to-day responsibilities of interacting with agents—making sure from a cap-balance standpoint that the numbers are matched up, and forecasting and laying analytical models out to meet certain goals that we may have,” Dorsey explained.

“We sit down on a daily basis and we’re running through numbers and scenarios and I’m making some suggestions to them, and they’ll come back and make suggestions to me. They do a wonderful job and it’s part of that culture we talk about—about taking ownership in your craft and I think those two guys do such a very good job and I’m very thankful that they were here and that they were a part of that negotiation session (with Eric Berry’s representatives).”

Some top NFL draft experts believe a quarterback is in play for the Chiefs at No. 27 overall.

Dorsey sees depth in running back, wide receiver and cornerback.

“We’ve all said that each draft class is completely different,” Dorsey explained. “There are certain depths at certain positions if you want me to identify a few of them, I’ll give you a few, not many, but you’ll probably know. I think the wide receiver position has some depth to it, I think running backs has some depth to it, I think corners have some depth.”

To see NFL Network’s Mike Mayock’s positional rankings of the top five at each position, click here.

Florida State running back Dalvin Cook models game after Jamaal Charles.

Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen was called “White Chocolate” at BYU.

Former BYU running back Jamaal Williams, who became the school’s all-time leading rusher last year, spoke about his former teammate, Daniel Sorensen.

“Sorensen was great, I called him ‘White Chocolate,” Williams recalled. “We had two ‘White Chocolates’ at safety, and they would just come down banging. I love Danny for his effort and how he plays the game. Off the field, the nicest person you’ll ever meet. On the field, the nastiest person you’ll ever meet. I really try to just mold my game, especially on the field, like him and take his characteristics off the field and just be a humble person off the field and let your actions speak.”

Three former Kansas City area high school players competed this week at the Combine

“It’d be a dream come true.” 

That’s what NFL hopeful Connor Harris said about what it’d mean for him to suit up and run out of the tunnel for the Kansas City Chiefs one day.

Harris, an inside linebacker who grew up in nearby Lee’s Summit, chose to play his college ball at Lindenwood University of the MIAA conference, which has been described as the “SEC of Division II” football by many.

Harris, who set an NCAA record with 633 career tackles during his time as a four-year starter, graduated from Blue Springs South High School. He was joined by Missouri's Charles Harris (Lincoln Prep) and Kansas State's Jordan Willis (Rockhurst) as the other Kansas City area guys competing in Indianapolis.

For more on their stories, click here.

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