Undrafted Impact

Posted May 8, 2011

Five undrafted players that might interest the Chiefs

Chiefs Head Coach Todd Haley often tells his players that it doesn’t matter how they arrived in Kansas City. The players that give the Chiefs the best chance to win will be the ones that play.

At some point during the 2011 season, an undrafted rookie will be the one making a big play for the Chiefs.

Verran Tucker was the valedictorian of Kansas City’s overlooked Class of 2010, finishing the year with six catches for 114 yards (19.0 avg.) and a TD.  By season’s end, Tucker found himself inserted into the starting lineup, but his ability to improve the Chiefs special teams is what originally got him on the field.

Jovan Belcher headed the Chiefs class of rookie free agents in 2009, appearing first on special teams and eventually working his way into a sub-package role defensively. As a sophomore last season, Belcher was a 16-game starter at inside linebacker and tallied his first-career 100-tackle season.

Arrowhead is flooded with undrafted players on any given Sunday. From guard-to-guard, the Chiefs started a trio of former undrafted players along the interior offensive line last season in Brian Waters, Casey Wiegmann and Ryan Lilja.

As long as the NFL Draft lasts only seven rounds and rosters remain at 53 players, undrafted rookies will find their niche. Last year, the Chiefs received a total of 87 starts from players who were previously passed over in the NFL Draft.

Starts By Undrafted Chiefs In 2010:

LB Jovan Belcher – 16

G Brian Waters – 16

C Casey Wiegmann – 16

G Ryan Lilja – 15

DL Shaun Smith – 10

FB Tim Castille – 4

WR Terrance Copper – 3

FB Mike Cox – 2

DE Wallace Gilberry – 2

WR Verran Tucker – 2

CB Jackie Bates – 1

Total – 87

Hundreds of college free agents will flood NFL rosters whenever free agency begins. The Chiefs will likely sign more than 10 undrafted players themselves. A few might make the roster. At least one will probably become a familiar name to Chiefs fans the end of 2011.

Here are five undrafted rookies that might interest the Chiefs.

DT Sealver Siliga


6-2, 305

A team captain for the Utah Utes, Siliga is a competitive, try-hard player at a position that the Chiefs have yet to fill out for 2011. He’s known as a run stopper, but might have to put on weight to play nose tackle in a 3-4 defense.

Both Ron Edwards and Anthony Toribio tipped the scales at 315 pounds last year and the Chiefs are listing 2011 sixth-round pick Jerrell Powe at 331 pounds.

Siliga’s decision to leave college a year early didn’t pay off on draft weekend, but he might find the Chiefs as an attractive landing spot.

RB Mario Fannin


5-10, 231

Fannin presents an intriguing option for teams with established runners in place; particularly if one of those runners is a speedster. He’s known as a team-first player with high character and might present a nice change of pace runner for the Chiefs.

Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones should own the top of Kansas City’s rushing depth chart, but there’s still plenty of room for competition in the reserve ranks. Fannin also brings versatility, leaving Auburn as the school’s career leader in receptions and receiving yards by a running back.

Fannin does come with several injury concerns and also put the football on the ground more than most coaches would like.

LB Mark Herzlich

Boston College

6-4, 250

Is Herzlich not at the top of everyone’s undrafted list?

Incredibly, no teams took a flier on college football’s most inspirational story. Shortly after earning ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2008, and opting to return to BC for his senior season, Herzlich was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma. He’d miss 87 weeks of football, undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments for much of that time, before returning to the field in 2010.

Herzlich would more than likely play inside linebacker in Kansas City. He’s likely to be a target of multiple teams whenever free agency begins.

CB Ryan Jones

Northwest Missouri State

5-11, 198

We know, at the very minimum, that Jones has previously been on the Chiefs radar. He took part in Kansas City’s Local Pro Day just over a month ago and played his college football only 100 miles north of Arrowhead Stadium. Though the Chiefs drafted a cornerback in the fourth round (Jalil Brown) and return both starters from last season, teams can never have enough cover men.

It was surprising that Jones didn’t hear his name called in this year’s draft. Most analysts expected him to go prior to the seventh round. Some scouting services mocked Jones as high as a fourth round pick.

T Derek Hall


6-4, 308

Another participant in the Chiefs Local Pro Day, Hall prepped at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, MO. He’s raw, having played defensive line for much of his collegiate career and only spent one season as a starter for the Cardinal. With that said, he did a nice job protecting the right edge for Stanford QB Andrew Luck.

A developmental tackle, Hall could interest a team thin in reserves such as the Chiefs. He is thought of as a strong run blocker and may even be a candidate to play guard if things don’t work out at tackle. Hall still has a lot to learn about offensive line play, but there will be a team that takes a flier on his upside.

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