Every year there are a couple of relatively unknown players that are able to step up and make an NFL team’s roster. Undrafted free agents, futures contracts, practice squad veterans, Canadian Football League stars, and even the odd crossover from another sport. There is always someone who comes out and surprises everyone, and the Chiefs have had their share. Last year, the surprise additions came in the form of Albert Wilson at wide receiver and Cairo Santos as the new kicker. Both players now look to be in a position to reclaim their prominent roles on the team moving forward.
This series is going to take a look at the current batch of long shots, camp bodies, and roster fillers to see if there might be one or more of those “diamond in the rough” type players to be had.
“He’s a huge Chiefs fan, and a very energetic guy.” ~ Coach Andy Reid on DeVante Bausby
It’s almost impossible to start this series with anyone else. The Kansas City native was born and bred a Chiefs fan, which means he is literally living out his dream right now. Very few players make it to the NFL. Even fewer do it in the jersey they imagined themselves in when they were a kid. This is the hometown kid that just about everybody is cheering for. When asked about Bausby, Andy Reid told the media: “He’s a huge Chiefs fan, and a very energetic guy.”
What does he have going for him?
Physically, Bausby’s frame is ideal for what the Chiefs are looking for on the outside. He’s a little lean, but has room to grow into his body with some time in the weight room. On the mental side, he shows a knack for reading the play and anticipating where the ball is going. That is a valuable tool for a defensive back and can help make a big play.
What hurdles does he have?
Bausby does not have top end speed to stick with wide receivers down the field. The big problem with that is that he is also not a physical presence at the line of scrimmage, so he can be beat on the press. In the Chiefs system you need either speed or physicality to be effective. On the mental side, Bausby can anticipate too much. This allows him to be beat on misdirection or double moves. His footwork could also use a good bit of help.
What is his best shot?
Bausby needs to make himself a presence on special teams. The Chiefs are deep in the secondary for now, but do have future concerns. So Bausby has a chance to be noticed if he plays well. But that notice will only turn into an opportunity if Dave Toub wants him.
I see Bausby as a member of the Practice Squad when the season starts. He has some interesting tools and talent to offer, but probably not enough to warrant a spot on the 53-man roster. He needs to become more aggressive and physical in order to take that roster spot, whether you’re talking about on defense or special teams.
Next: Onto Mr. Rogers...