The Kansas City Chiefs brain trust are in Indianapolis this week for the annual NFL Scouting Combine, which showcases the talents (or lack of) around 330 college players who are hoping to end up on the roster of an NFL team next season.
This year’s Combine began on Wednesday (2/20) with orientation, medicals, and interviews. The actual on-field drills start Saturday with the tight ends, offensive linemen, and special teams. Chiefs fans will be especially interested in Sunday’s drills for quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers. Though the team is solid at RB with Jamaal Charles, the QB situation is the cause of much distress and debate among fans and the media. But keen observers realize that the WR position is almost as bad if free agent Dwayne Bowe leaves.
Defensive linemen – another team need – take the field on Monday with the linebackers, and the Combine ends on Tuesday with the defensive backs. Tuesday is the day where even casual fans can look at the athleticism of that position group and be somewhat awestruck.
To be honest, the Combine is the biggest, most overblown “event” in the history of sports, but the NFL’s marketing team has managed to make four days of guys lifting weights, jumping in the air, and running sprints in t-shirts and shorts “can’t miss” television. But, to be blunt, a good showing at the Combine can literally pay off with millions of dollars for a player.
Case in point, Dontari Poe, the Chiefs #1 pick last season, was a decent defensive line prospect out of Memphis when he showed up to Indy. After a ho-hum collegiate career, Poe had the size to be a probable second-round pick in the 2012 draft. But then he had the greatest day of his life athletically and did things that no 320-lb man should be able to do.
After almost setting a new bench press record for the number of 250-lb lifts with 44, Poe went out on the field and ran a blistering 40-time (4.98 seconds) that was faster than some running backs. He left some veteran NFL watchers speechless. Poe may have arrived in Indy as a second-round prospect with question marks, but he left with Chiefs GM Scott Pioli’s heart in his hands and became the 12th pick of the draft. Cha-ching!
Over the next few days, we will look at the Combine and the prospects that might be wearing Chiefs Red next fall. Players such as quarterbacks Geno Smith, Ryan Nassib, or Tyler Bray along with offensive tackles Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher, or receivers Keenan Allen , Tavon Austin, or Terrance Williams.
On the defensive side, the Chiefs will be trying to right past drafting wrongs (like Poe and Tyson Jackson) on the defensive line by closely watching defensive ends Damontre Moore and Star Lotulelei, tackle Sharrif Floyd, or linebackers Jarvis Jones and Dion Jordan. Two of the most intriguing players in the draft would fill an immediate need for the team, but come with more baggage than a Samsonite catalogue, inside linebackers Manti “Fake Dead Girlfriend” Te’o and Alec “Rules? I don’t need no stinking team rules!!” Ogletree.
For some players like that, the interview part of the Combine is more important than anything they will do on the field over the weekend. Of course, since the Super Bowl, Chiefs fans are zeroed in on little-known defensive back, Leon Sandcastle, for their #1 pick. Only time will tell.
Like this article? If you want your Chiefs news with an Examiner twist delivered to your in-box, click on the SUBSCRIBE button above. It’s FREE and you can cancel at any time. I meant to publish this article on Tuesday, but being caught up in the spirit of the Combine, I went out to run a 40-yard dash first. Sadly, with a 40-time of 12 hours and 43 minutes, I had to put off publishing this column until today due to shortness of breath and a pulled muscle. Sadly, I miss Scott Pioli because I’m pretty sure HE would have taken me with the #1 pick.
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