Three Things To Watch At Kansas City Chiefs Mandatory Minicamp

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Mar 13, 2014; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks running back De Anthony Thomas works out in front of NFL scouts during the Oregon Pro Day at the Moshofsky Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

RETURN OF DAT

Fourth round pick De’Anthony Thomas missed all of the full-team voluntary workouts because Oregon had not yet completed its school terms. Now finished with school, Thomas returns to the field for the first time since rookie minicamp.

On one level this is great timing for the rookie and the Chiefs, who have suffered a lot of minor injuries to the slot receiver position since the beginning of camp. Junior Hemingway and Weston Dressler are dealing with hamstring issues (at least they were last week) so this should provide an opportunity for Thomas to get a few snaps in at wide receiver.

Kansas City had Thomas firmly planted in the backfield during rookie minicamp three weeks ago, so it will be interesting to see if they are willing to split him out over the next three days. The assumption from many has been Thomas would end up filling Dexter McCluster‘s role as a special teams returner and inside receiver who is versatile enough to line up in the back field from time to time. Keeping DAT in the backfield would signal an interesting departure from what was assumed about his role.

There is also the concern about how much Thomas has retained since he was last on the field. Reports say Thomas kept in contact with Chiefs coaches via Skype while he was finishing school at Oregon, but classroom work is quite another thing compared to the lessons learned on the field. What kind of reports come out of practice today about how Thomas fit on the field – relative to what he could possibly know as a rookie – will be interesting to read.

One thing is for certain, Thomas has play-making speed and skills. Having that on the field should only make the practices faster and more entertaining to watch.

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