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Five Takeaways from Kansas City Chiefs Rookie Minicamp

Posted May 9, 2017

Here’s what you need to know about what transpired over the past three days

The Kansas City Chiefs concluded their three-day rookie minicamp on Monday afternoon. 

Among other things, this minicamp was the first opportunity for the six members of the 2017 draft class to be out on the field together with their new coaches.

There were 69 players in total who participated in the minicamp, and 46 of them were tryout players who were hoping to get an opportunity to sign a contract and join the team for OTAs, and potentially training camp.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid said general manager John Dorsey was in constant communication with the assistant coaches as well as his own staff in evaluating these players as to potentially join the team beyond this minicamp.

Each year, there are at least a few tryout players who are given the opportunity to stay with the team beyond minicamp.

Maybe the most interesting aspect of rookie minicamp every year is that there’s as much basic teaching going on for the coaching staff than at any other point of the year. These players were given the playbook Friday night, and then asked to step on the field and execute what they barely knew or understood over the next few days.

These practices go at a slower pace and there’s more communication and teaching taking place between reps than what would happen during a practice with veterans.  

The coaching staff was able to spend the majority of their time teaching, which for anyone who has ever spoken with Reid knows that’s what he prides himself and his staff on doing more than anything.

It’s the perfect warmup for a coaching staff that will soon be working with the veterans and a handful of these players in a larger capacity when OTAs for everyone beginning Tuesday, May 23.

Overall, it was a successful rookie minicamp, and for the 23 players who were either drafted, signed as undrafted free agents or were already under contract and eligible to participate, they’ll have the next week off before they return and join the veterans, who are currently in Phase Two of the offseason program. 

Here are five takeaways from Chiefs rookie minicamp:

1. Patrick Mahomes showed he’s willing to work

During the minicamp, all eyes were on quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who recently became the first quarterback in franchise history to be selected in the first round since 1983.

Mahomes was taken with the No. 10 overall pick after the Chiefs traded up with the Buffalo Bills.

“We saw him come in and improve every day that he was here with his verbiage and his footwork,” Reid said of his young signal-caller. “Does he have a ways to go? Absolutely. But the nice thing about him is that we found out that he likes to work and that’s the big thing.”

After the first practice of his NFL career on Saturday, Mahomes actually stayed afterwards with a few other players and got some extra work done. He was also seen asking Reid questions on numerous occasions throughout the weekend when it wasn’t his rep.

“He had great questions,” Reid added. “He studies hard. If he doesn’t know it, he’s going to ask you and then he’s going to go do it. He doesn’t make the same mistake over and over. That’s a plus.”

2. Reid was impressed with a handful of players

During his post-practice press conference on Monday, Reid was asked if any players impressed him during the minicamp.

“I thought the draft picks did a nice job,” Reid noted. “[Damien] Mama, the big kid who played guard. We’ve got to kick (the weight) down a notch so he can move a little better, but I liked some of the things I saw from him. There were a couple of secondary guys I thought did a nice job too.

“Dorsey is meeting with guys, so we’ll see who sticks and who doesn’t.” 

It’s unclear which defensive backs Reid was referring to, but Oklahoma State’s Ashton Lampkin made a few plays during camp, including a red-zone interception of Mahomes that saw Lampkin fully extend to go up and snag the ball out of the air.

It was definitely one of the “wow” moments of minicamp.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Chiefs announced the signing of six players who participated at rookie minincamp, including former second -round pick in 2014 of the New Orleans Saints, cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste.

3. Jehu Chesson showed off his jump-ball ability

The player who made the most plays at camp, it seemed, was Chiefs’ fourth-round pick, receiver Jehu Chesson out of Michigan.

Chesson’s jump-ball ability was particularly on display one particular play on Saturday in which he ran a go route deep down the left sideline and won a 50-50 ball by contorting his body in the air and securing the ball with his fingertips—all with a defender draped all over him.

The 6-foot-2, 204-pound Chesson had another great catch in the corner of the end zone Monday afternoon during red zone work.

“I’m all about doing what the team needs,” Chesson told the media on Sunday afternoon of his mindset on getting the 50-50 balls, something he’s known for coming out of Michigan. “So, you throw that ball out there, it’s me or nobody, and that’s your mentality. You have to go up there and get it. So, we’re just going to keep working the deep ball. We’re going to keep working our goes (go routes). We’re going to keep working all of our routes.

“I have so much to learn and so much to improve on, but I’m making progress.”

4. Tanoh Kpassagnon will be known as “Special K”

 

It has zero to do with football but everything to do with how to say his name, but Chiefs’ second-round pick, defensive lineman Tanoh Kpassagnon, will simply go by “Special K” moving forward.

While it’s pronounced “Pass-N-Yo,” the nickname is much easier for fans and everyone to remember.

“I just got ‘Special K’ from the coaches and stuff (on Saturday), so that’s pretty cool,” Kpassagnon explained during his presser over the weekend.

5. Kareem Hunt is still happy

There wasn’t a player who expressed more excitement about the opportunity to play in the NFL during their post-pick conference call with the local media on draft night than running back Kareem Hunt, who carried that positive demeanor with him all the way to rookie minicamp.

“It’s a great feeling,” Hunt said on Saturday of putting on an NFL jersey for the first time. “Like I said, I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. I’ve been dreaming of putting on a NFL jersey since I was probably in sixth grade. Honestly, it’s finally here, and I’m going to take advantage of it and make the most of my opportunity.

“I’ve been working all my life to get to this point.”

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