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Into the Bye: A Rookie Review

A look at how the first-year players have fared so far for the Kansas City Chiefs

View photos of the Chiefs 2014-2015 rookie class.


From the Draft

Round 1: Dee Ford – Auburn

In five games for the Chiefs, Dee Ford has played in 32 snaps, most of which came during Week 3 in Miami, where he played in 13. Those 13 snaps account for 41 percent of his playing time on the year.

The emphasis for Ford throughout his first season has been in the pass rush, which has made up 17 of his 32 plays. Linebackers coach Gary Gibbs acknowledged that Tuesday.

"Dee's strength right now is rushing the quarterback," he said. "He's helped us through the first five games as a pass rusher and he'll see more playing time in that role as we go forward."

Welcome to the NFL Moment: With 2:05 to go in the fourth quarter against the Dolphins, the Chiefs led 27-15. On their own 37-yard line, the Dolphins faced fourth-and-1 and needed to convert to keep their slim chances alive.


Left untouched, Ford tripped up Miami running back Lamar Miller. This led to the tackle from Dontari Poe and sealed the Chiefs' first win of the season.

Round 3: Phillip Gaines – Rice

In 2014, Phillip Gaines has recorded just three snaps on defense.

His impact has come on special teams. Against the Dolphins, Gaines recorded two tackles for the special teams unit, including a monster hit on Miami returner Jarvis Landry.

Against the Patriots, he made two key plays, including in my opinion, his "Welcome to the NFL Moment."

Welcome to the NFL Moment:On Monday Night Football with the Chiefs leading 17-0 in the third quarter, Dustin Colquitt set up to punt.


On a fantastic punt by Colquitt, Gaines zipped down the field and got in front of the punt, catching it off a bounce as he fell forward into the end zone. Before he stepped on the goal line, he tiptoed and tossed the ball back to Junior Hemingway, who downed the punt on the Patriots 1-yard line. As we all know, the Chiefs rolled to a 41-14 win.

Round 4: De'Anthony Thomas – Oregon

In the preseason, it was revealed that running back De'Anthony Thomas was slated for the punt returner position left vacant by the departed Dexter McCluster.

Soon after, an 80-yard touchdown return against the Cincinnati Bengals gave many Chiefs fans plenty to look forward to.

But Thomas suffered a hamstring injury prior to the Chiefs' first game and he would miss the first four weeks of the season.

Finally able to debut last Sunday against the 49ers, he made his mark quickly in a limited six snaps and two punt returns.

In those returns, Thomas compiled 38 yards, but his "Welcome to the NFL Moment" came with the Chiefs trailing by three in the third quarter.

Welcome to the NFL Moment: The call was a quick screen to Thomas as the 49ers blitzed.


On Tuesday, Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson was asked about how much versatility the young running back has to offer.

"He has a lot in the fact that he can run the ball from the backfield," Pederson said. "We can line him up as a receiver. He's much like Jamaal Charles that way and someone that we just have to keep bringing along in slow doses and keep feeding him two, three, four, five plays a game and keep him in the mix."

Round 5: Aaron Murray – Georgia

Out of Chiefs training camp, fifth-round pick Aaron Murray earned a third-string role, backing up veteran Chase Daniel.

Through five games, Murray has yet to be called upon in a game but has said that he is continuing to learn.

"To be around this coaching staff, to be around this group of quarterbacks has been really been great for my development," he said in September. "I've learned a lot from these guys and plan on continue to learn as much as possible."

Welcome to the NFL Moment: Aaron Murray's first opportunity at NFL action came in the Chiefs' second preseason game against the Carolina Panthers.

With the Chiefs trailing 14-9, Murray opened up as he was used to at Georgia: in the shotgun formation. In his first career NFL pass, Murray found tight end Travis Kelce wide open in the secondary and he took the ball 43 yards for the touchdown.

Round 6: Zach Fulton – Tennessee

When the Kansas City Chiefs drafted Zach Fulton in the sixth round out of Tennessee, they knew they were getting a high-value player.

But nobody thought that he would be the opening day starter at right guard.

By doing so, Fulton became the first sixth or seventh round pick to start for the Chiefs in Week 1 since 1976 and has been a staple at the position for the team all year.

Welcome to the NFL Moment: After losing their first two games, the Chiefs headed down to Miami looking for their first win.

Still deadlocked at zero in the second quarter, the Chiefs started at their own 38-yard line after a missed field goal. Five plays later, they were within striking distance at the Miami 21-yard line.

Alex Smith handed the ball off to Knile Davis, giving Fulton an opportunity to make a key block on Dolphins defensive tackle Earl Mitchell and the Chiefs opened up a 7-0 lead on the Dolphins. The Chiefs went on to win 34-14.

Round 6: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif – McGill

During the preseason, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif looked to be one of the team's most improved players, but has been inactive every game for the Chiefs so far.


Cairo Santos – Tulane

In a training camp battle for the kicking job against Ryan Succop, Cairo Santos surprised all by beating out the five-year veteran.

After struggling early on by going 2 for 4 in field goals during his first two games, Santos rebounded at home against the New England Patriots by drilling two field goals: a 22-yarder and a 31-yarder.

Welcome to the NFL Moment: Santos' "Welcome to the NFL Moment" was beating out Succop and then seeing him in a different jersey during Week 1 against the Titans.


Albert Wilson – Georgia State

After being active against the Titans and Broncos, Albert Wilson has been inactive for three straight weeks. Yet to take a snap, the undrafted rookie says he still is learning from his veteran teammates every day.

"Donnie (Avery) being a quick, explosive receiver, that kind of resembles myself of being explosive and quick and fast," he said in September. "Dwayne (Bowe) has the knowledge of the game and he's a real physical receiver. He's showing me release moves off the line but a more physical way that I can better myself as a receiver in the slot to help myself."

*Note: Article research aided by the football analytics website ****.*

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