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Five Observations from Day 2 of Chiefs Rookie Minicamp

Posted May 6, 2018

News and notes from Saturday’s minicamp practice

The second day of Kansas City Chiefs rookie minicamp is in the books, and it was another perfect day to be outside and watch a little football. 

There were barely any clouds and the temperature hovered in the mid-80s. 

Chiefs Minicamp Roster | Meet the Chiefs’ 14 UDFAs | Day 1 Recap 

Here are five things that stood out from practice:

1.     It was a great day for Gehrig Dieter

The five guys who spent time with the Chiefs last year who are at minicamp this weekend, which include receivers Gehrig Dieter, Marcus Kemp, and Brandon Shippen, along with offensive linemen Andrew Wylie and safety Jordan Sterns, have a distinct advantage because they know what’s going on. 

They know the playbook, the speed of practice, and what’s expected of them.

That was apparent Saturday afternoon as Dieter—specifically—had a great day. He always seemed to be open and showed great hands on a number of contested catches at all levels of the field. 

Former Marshall quarterback Chase Litton, who was one of the 14 undrafted free agents already signed by the Chiefs, threw Dieter a few great passes, including sandwiching one between a couple of defenders that had Dieter elevate above them and high-point the ball down the middle of the field in team drills. 

A bit earlier in practice, Dieter also made a nice shoestring catch across the middle. 

2.     Speaking of guys who were with the team before…

In addition to Dieter, one of the intriguing guys to watch as the offseason workouts progress is safety Jordan Sterns, who was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list on August 5, 2017.

Sterns was one of the intriguing college free agent signings last year—finishing his career at Oklahoma State with three-straight seasons with more than 100 total tackles. He also chipped in with five interceptions.

Midway through practice on Saturday, Sterns intercepted a deflected pass and took it the other way for the defense. Not long after that, Sterns undercut a route out in the flat and nearly had a pick-six for the defense.

While he still broke up the pass and killed the play, Sterns owed his teammates pushups for not catching the ball.

3.     Best throw of the day goes from Litton to Kemp

Late in practice during a 9-on-7 session, Litton dropped back to pass—scanned the field and ultimately chucked one deep down the left sideline to Kemp, who hauled it in for a touchdown play of more than 40 yards. 

The pass hit Kemp in stride and was easily the best throw-and-catch combination of the day. 

4.     Other plays that stood out…

For the most part, the practice on Saturday that had any semblance of competition seemed to be won by the defense, which makes sense considering the offenses at this level are built around timing and precision. 

These guys are still getting used to the play calls, let alone the timing to perform each play with the amount of detail and design required to succeed at this level.

All that said, here are a handful of other memorable moments and plays from Saturday:

-       LSU running back Darrel Williams had a cut back in the open field on a running play that’s worth mentioning. For a bigger-bodied running back at 224 pounds, Williams showed some North-and-South burst after he planted his left foot in the ground and cut back to his right—accelerating into the open field and down the right hash for a substantial gain for the offense.

-       Blake Mack, who is listed as a tight end and is one of the 14 college free agents signed by the Chiefs, is working with the receivers at minicamp. While he technically played tight end at Arkansas State, Mack spent most of his time split out and wasn’t lined up in-line with his hand in the ground much in college. Over the last two days, he’s shown plenty of athleticism for a guy his size (6’2”, 235 lbs).  

-       Oregon cornerback Arrion Springs had a few nice pass breakups on the day. He was consistently on the receivers’ hip and didn’t seem to let a receiver get anything easy. 

-       Georgia Tech cornerback Step Durham (5’9”, 192 lbs) had a nice pass breakup on a slant across the middle during team drills, and whether he knew it or not—he celebrated by giving the incomplete pass signal directly in the direction of the entire Chiefs’ personnel staff, which was huddled together on the far sideline.

-       Chiefs’ sixth-round pick Tremon Smith—the speedy cornerback out of Central Arkansas—had a nice interception along the far sideline late in practice. 

-       The Chiefs’ other sixth-round pick, offensive guard Kahlil McKenzie out of Tennessee, is as advertised when it comes to his athleticism at his size (6’3”, 320 lbs). He’s moving well at left guard for the Chiefs.

-       Finally, for the second-straight day, Villanova cornerback Malik Reaves found a way to make a few plays in coverage as well.

5.     Armani Watts didn’t practice

The Chiefs’ fourth-round pick—safety Armani Watts out of Texas A&M—didn’t practice on Saturday and was seen on the sideline without a helmet. 

After practice, the local media was told that Chiefs’ head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder held Watts out of practice. 

Coach Andy Reid is expected to give an update on Watts Monday afternoon when he speaks with the media at the conclusion of rookie minicamp.

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