There were football players flying around the University of Kansas Health System indoor practice facility on Friday morning, and while they were all donning Kansas City Chiefs’ gear, they weren’t current players but rather NFL Draft hopefuls taking part in the team’s annual local Pro Day.
The local Pro Day gives players who either grew up in the Kansas City metro area, or went to school in the area, a chance to come and work out for the Chiefs’ current coaches and player personnel members leading up to the NFL Draft, which begins Thursday, April 25, and runs through Saturday, April 27.
Athletes who attended college or are from the local area show off skills for the Kansas City Chiefs.
“We have seen a lot of these guys and followed their careers, so to get them here one final time, to put them through drills and have our coaches’ coach them and spend time with them, it’s important,” Chiefs’ general manager Brett Veach explained. “Every general manager in the NFL is always looking for talent, but you never want to miss out on talent that’s in your own back yard.
“We have a lot of pride in the players that live around here and go to school around here. We’re certainly biased towards our own.”
In addition to the obvious of giving these players another chance to be evaluated by NFL personnel guys, it’s also a cool event because many of these players grew up fans of the team and on Friday found themselves taking instruction from Andy Reid and company.
“A lot of these guys have been lifelong Chiefs’ fans—their mom, dad, brother and sisters, relatives, they grew up tailgating at Arrowhead and going to games,” Veach added. “The Chiefs are part of their upbringing, so for them to come out here and work out for us is certainly is exciting for them, but it’s exciting for us too because knowing how much the Chiefs have meant to these players and their families and knowing we have the potential to keep them here and make that bond even stronger is a really cool and exciting thing.
“I think it’s equally exciting for us as it is for them.”
Over the past six years, there has been at least one player who ended up being drafted who attended the workout, and this year is no exception (full roster of attendants listed below).
From Kansas State running back Alex Barnes to Missouri tight end Kendall Blanton, along with several others who were getting after it, there was some talent on the field Friday morning.
“We were talking about it before the workout started, the evolution of the local Pro Day, and where we’ve come. In 2013, it was a little rough, but as the years have gone by, we feel like it’s gotten better and better and better. I think this year’s class was as good if not better than any of them,” Veach noted.
The other cool aspect to Friday’s workout was the fact that it was the first time that we’ve seen the Chiefs’ new defensive coaching staff out on the field and working with players.
Earlier this offseason, the Chiefs hired Steve Spagnuolo as their new defensive coordinator, and soon after, hired Brenden Daley to coach the defensive line, Dave Merritt to work with the defensive backs, Matt House with the linebackers, and Sam Madison with the cornerbacks.
All of those coaches were spread across the indoor field and working with their position groups as the scouts roamed around the field while keeping their eyes on who may have been impressing.
“These [new coaches] have a lot of energy, and we were all joking earlier, I think some of our position groups are in for a little bit of a culture shock when we go to training camp because these guys are intense,” Veach laughed. “They’re passionate and they really get after it. It was great to see those guys get out there and I’m already looking forward to OTAs and having these guys get their hands on our guys.”
Here’s a list of the guys who attended the Chiefs' 2019 local Pro Day:
|Kendall Adams||DS||6006||219||Kansas State|
|Alex Barnes||RB||6004||226||Kansas State|
|Kyrion Parker||WR||6026||207||Central Missouri|
|Duke Shelley||DC||5085||173||Kansas State|
|Brandin Dandridge||DC||5101||183||Missouri Western|
|David Tullis||LS||5105||202||Kansas State|
|Austin Burau||TE||6040||250||Missouri Western|
|Dalton Harmon||LS||6020||246||Kansas State|
|Josh Watson||LB||6007||231||Colorado State|
|Tony Lashley||LB||6007||235||Boise State|
|Andrew Reinkemeyer||TE||6033||233||South Alabama|
|Seth Hebert||TE||6036||236||Central Missouri|
|Abdul Beecham||OG||6020||315||Kansas State|
|Derrick Puni||OT||6045||326||Central Missouri|
|Josh Caldwell||RB||5102||215||NW Missouri State|
|Denzel Strong||RB||5096||224||Emporia State|