On a night that's full of congratulations from all the people who were a part of their journeys—from family and friends to coaches and teammates—a few of the Kansas City Chiefs' rookies said they heard from one current veteran Chiefs' player on draft night as well.
Linebacker Reggie Ragland made it a point to reach out to the newest Chiefs just as soon as he could.
"He was just saying welcome to the team, welcome to the family," Chiefs' rookie outside linebacker Breeland Speaks explained. "You could just tell he's ready to get out there."
Derrick Nnadi—the Chiefs' third-round pick out of Florida State—said Ragland gave him a ride to Wal Mart the other day because he needed to pick up some water.
And another Chiefs' rookie—linebacker Dorian O'Daniel, who was taken with the last pick in the third round—said his conversation with Ragland went beyond a quick text back and forth.
"He just said, 'Congrats, man. Let's work,'" O'Daniel explained. "And just right off the bat, I was like, 'Dang, like I really appreciate that because it's not every day that a starter for an NFL team is going to reach out to a rookie and take him under their wing like that.
"It said a lot about the culture that's already here in Kansas City and what type of players they have in the locker room—to reach out to a young guy like that."
Ragland, who is working towards a bigger leadership role this season, joined the team last August after coming over in a trade with the Buffalo Bills. He was coming off a season-ending knee injury suffered his rookie year but looks to be healthy heading into an NFL season for the first time in his career.
During their initial conversation, Ragland mentioned to O'Daniel that he could reach out if he needed anything, and O'Daniel quickly took advantage of it, and soon realized—if he hadn't already known—that it wasn't just lip service.
"When I started getting ready to come out here, I Facetimed him and was talking about little questions I had for the defense, and he was just trying to break it down for me," O'Daniel said of Ragland. "And not even just the defense, but the culture here and how the team is in the locker room, and how coach Reid is and everything.
"I just really appreciated that because you hear about it all the time—it's not like that everywhere you go."
For O'Daniel, who already had former fellow Clemson alums Jarvis Jenkins and Sammy Watkins reach out and congratulate him as well, the opportunity to join a team that has a specific plan for him means a lot as well.
On draft night, Chiefs' general manager Brett Veach was very candid about the role they want O'Daniel to fill, and it's not necessarily one that you'd find on a traditional depth chart. He's a hybrid safety-linebacker and has the athleticism to cover ground and the size to match up well with bigger-bodied players, so there's a role for him in obvious passing situations.
"It means a lot because going through this process that was definitely something I was concerned about because if I went somewhere that they didn't necessarily have a plan for me—I could have gotten lost in the sauce," O'Daniel explained. "And for me, that was kind of the problem when I first went to Clemson, they didn't have a particular plan for me because they didn't know where to put me—Mike, Will, or Sam—and so for the Chiefs to have a specific plan, I'm just happy because it says a lot about what they think of me as a player."
And with guys like Ragland, the obvious-Eric Berry and others on that Chiefs' defense leading the way, there's a lot of reason to be optimistic about this defense moving forward.