Skip to main content

Kansas City Chiefs Official Team Website |

Five Things We Learned from Chiefs Rookie Minicamp

The Chiefs’ rookie minicamp wrapped up on Monday

The Kansas City Chiefs wrapped up rookie minicamp on Monday, marking another step in the offseason training program as the reigning Super Bowl champions gradually return to the field.

The rookie minicamp – which included three days of practices – was meant to provide the Chiefs' rookie class with an opportunity to get a head start before full-team practices begin in a few weeks. The next phase of the offseason training program – which allows for limited on-field work and includes "Organized Team Activities" (OTAs) – kicks off the week of May 22. Ideally, this past weekend's rookie minicamp gave the Chiefs' youngest players a chance to learn the basics before things ramp up in the near future.

With all of that in mind, here are five things we learned from rookie minicamp.

1. This year's rookie minicamp included 79 participants.

The Chiefs' rookie minicamp roster was made up of 51 tryout players, 17 undrafted free agent signees, seven draft picks and four eligible veterans. The abundance of participants meant that Kansas City could run a relatively realistic camp that included individual, positional and team drills.

"It was good to get these guys in here and give them a chance," said Head Coach Andy Reid. "It was a good tryout camp for a lot of these guys, and I think we'll probably keep a couple of them. It was beneficial."

Only 28 of the participating players are currently under contract with Kansas City as of Monday evening, but – as Reid said – it's quite possible that the Chiefs will sign a few of the tryout players who impressed over the weekend. For reference, Kansas City signed offensive linemen Vitaliy Gurman and Chris Glaser as tryout players last offseason. Both Gurman and Glaser remained with the team through OTAs and participated in training camp.

2. The camp was focused on setting the Chiefs' rookies up for success moving forward.

The transition from college to the National Football League is a difficult one, and it moves exceedingly quickly. One reason behind the Chiefs' immense success in recent years, however, has been their ability to put their youngest players in the best position to succeed.

This past weekend's rookie camp was a great example of that for each of the Chiefs' rookies, as it sought to lay a foundation that included everything from teaching the details of how practice operates to simply explaining how to get around the facility.

"I'm definitely better prepared with just knowing how I have to approach every day and how seriously I need to take walk-throughs," said former Missouri safety Martez Manuel, who signed with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent. "I need to take every opportunity to get coaching before I'm in a live setting so that I don't make mistakes and stuff like that. Without this week, I would have managed either way, but it definitely set me up to be successful when we report back."

Manuel is one of 17 undrafted free agent signees who will be fighting to make the roster over the next several months, but the rookie camp was equally beneficial for the Chiefs' draft class.

"I wanted to get that little nervousness out of [the way]. I've never been out here. I've never been to the stadium or the facility, so [this was about] just kind of getting used to it," said former Texas defensive tackle Keondre Coburn, who the Chiefs drafted in the sixth round. "It feels good being here right now so [that I can get to] know the playbook and get a little head start."

The camp also provided the coaching staff with their first chance to work with the Chiefs' rookies on the field. The early part of the offseason was all about projections and watching tape, but now that the players are actually in the building, the coaches can see how much Kansas City's youngest players can handle mentally out of the gate.

It was something that former Indiana linebacker Cam Smith relished as an undrafted free agent signee.

"It was a great weekend. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world, getting to work with [Linebackers] Coach [Brendan] Daly," Smith said. "He put a lot on our plate as linebackers, but the linebackers are the quarterbacks of the defense, so you wouldn't want it any other way. We [went over] a good amount of plays and a lot of details that can help us for the next phase of practice."

3. Several players impressed throughout the three-day camp.

It's important to stress that the on-field activities – while beneficial – were limited. The players weren't wearing pads and there wasn't any live hitting taking place, but several of the participants still managed to show what they could do.

Rookie cornerback Nic Jones, who the Chiefs drafted in the seventh round out of Ball State, hauled in an impressive interception down the sideline on Saturday. Former North Carolina State linebacker Isaiah Moore – an undrafted free agent signee – picked off a pass on Sunday before grabbing another interception on Monday. Fellow undrafted free agent Anthony Cook – a safety from Texas – also tallied an interception on Monday. Defensive end B.J. Thompson, an alum of Stephen F. Austin who the Chiefs selected in the fifth round, turned in a strong showing throughout the weekend as well.

Offensively, undrafted free agent signee Nikko Remigio – a wide receiver and return man from Fresno State – seemed to make at least one big play each day. Wide receiver Rashee Rice, who the Chiefs took in the second round out of SMU, also showed off his tremendous potential during the camp. In fact, Rice made one of the best plays of Monday's practice with an impressive, leaping catch in the back of the end zone during 7-on-7 drills.

Coach Reid spoke about Rice following Monday's practice.

"[He's] strong. [I'm seeing] the kind of things that we saw on tape," Reid said. "He has to make sure he gets his running in – that position, we run them like crazy. He has to get that part taken care of, but you can see the strength in his route-running and his ability to work in space. He also has good hands."

In terms of tryout players who stood out, former Kansas State cornerback Ekow Boye-Doe made several plays throughout the weekend. Linebacker Buddy Johnson – a fourth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2021 – also looked the part.

4. Coach Reid provided a few injury updates.

First-round pick Felix Anudike-Uzomah was a limited participant in the camp as he recovers from a surgery on his thumb, which took place prior to the draft.

"He did a little bit more than he did yesterday, and we'll just keep gradually bringing him back in," Reid said. "You would hope [that he would be ready to play] for 'Phase Three,' but [we] don't know. We'll just see how he feels."

Reid also confirmed that tailback Isiah Pacheco had surgery in the offseason but is on the road to recovery.

"He's making progress. We'll just see how he does with it. I can't give you a timeline on it, but he is doing well," Reid said. "He goes through all the steps out there for 'Phase Two,' he just can't get hit."

5. In non-rookie news, Reid was asked about veteran offensive tackle Donovan Smith, who the Chiefs signed as a free agent last week.

The 6-foot-6, 338-pound Smith was an ironman for the Buccaneers over the last eight seasons, starting 131 of 137 possible contests (including the playoffs) in that time. An injury sidelined Smith for four games last season, but he still managed to appear in 13 contests.

"He's been a left tackle at a high level. Last year, he was hurt, but the year before that, he was one of the top left tackles in the league," Reid said. "We've also had a chance to play against him a couple times, so I've seen him firsthand. He's a good football player."

Reid went on to explain that Smith will probably begin OTAs as the Chiefs' starting left tackle. He later indicated that offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor will begin OTAs on the right side.

The Chiefs' next media session will take place on May 24 as the first round of OTA practices get underway. In the meantime, Kansas City will continue its gradual preparations as training camp inches closer by the day.

The Kansas city Chiefs host their annual Rookie Minicamp.