Take it from Kelso native Colin Kelly, who signed a free agent deal with the Kansas City Chiefs last Saturday.
“Finally, after all my hard work for so long … it’s just kind of the accumulation of all that,” Kelly said. “I have played football for 15 years now, and to see that pay off, there’s no better feeling.
“There’s no better accomplishment that I can think of in my life than that moment.”
The offensive lineman out of Oregon State was projected as a possible late-round pick. Though Kelly wasn’t drafted, it gave him the freedom of choice.
Kelly received interest from the Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens in the whirlwind hour immediately following the draft. But Kansas City, which had scouted Kelly throughout the process and was particularly impressed with his pro day at OSU, emerged as the best fit.
One such draft pick was Alabama LB Nico Johnson, who was selected by the Chiefs in the fourth round.
Johnson left Alabama with his third BCS title win, helping the Crimson Tide defeat Notre Dame 42-14. His senior campaign included five starts, while playing in all 13 games, finishing fourth on the team with 55 tackles. He also forced two fumbles and broke up a pass.
The rookie linebacker has a head start when trying to grasp Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s 3-4 scheme, thanks to his four-year run in Tuscaloosa.
“I am familiar with their defense as far as what they run, because they run something similar to what we run at Alabama,” said Nico Johnson during a post-draft conference call. “I’m just ready to get there and learn as much as possible….. and try to earn their respect as much as possible….I’m ready to get to the next level and make a difference.”
As discussed here last week, an acquisition for Arizona Cardinals fullback Anthony Sherman complicated the Chiefs’ roster with four (and arguably five) fullbacks competing for one spot, following the sixth round selection of Kansas State fullback Braden Wilson. And while Wilson was likely unexcited about the trade for Sherman, the recent release of FB Patrick DeMarco should help him rest at least a little easier.
DeMarco came to Kansas City in August of 2012 as a free agent. However, he was not a highly valued component of the team and only saw action in five games – all towards the end of the season when Kansas City’s shot at a division title was already toast.
One thing that is encouraging is that Reid has also featured the tight end in his offense. Over the past 4 seasons, the Eagles’ Brent Celek has averaged nearly 60 passes a year. The Chiefs seem to be stronger there with Tony Moeaki and Anthony Fasano. Kansas City added Travis Kelce in last week’s draft, and he could prove to be a threat to the middle of the field. Still, will this be enough talent for the Chiefs throw the ball as much as the Eagles did?
With Branden Albert now apparently back at left tackle and number one overall draft pick Eric Fisher slated, for now, to play right tackle, the Chiefs offensive line is in good shape. Jamaal Charles, newly drafted Knile Davis, and returning Cyrus Gray make up a strong running back squad. Dorsey has also accumulated several options at fullback. These components are certainly strengths for Kansas City. The wide receivers after Bowe, are much more question marks than probably more than any other unit on the team. Two or three, even four, of the guys from the group which includes not only Avery, McCluster, Baldwin, and Wylie, but also Josh Bellamy, Terrance Copper, Mardy Galyard, Junior Hemingway, Jamar Newsome, Tyler Shoemaker, and Jerheme Urban, have to step up and take control. Someone needs to excel opposite Bowe. It will be hard for the Chiefs to have an effective passing game if only Dwayne Bowe can be counted on.