NFL Draft 2017: Chiefs scouts check out UTEP pro day
By Matt Conner
The Kansas City Chiefs were represented by scouts at Texas-El Paso’s pro day on Thursday.
Several NFL teams were at the University of Texas-El Paso to check out the school’s pro day on Thursday, and the Chiefs were one such team in attendance.
While every team will inevitably take a look at multiple players, it’s likely that most eyes were either on running back Aaron Jones or tight end Hayden Plinke. Both players are likely Day 3 picks at best and undrafted free agent signings at worst, but given how important these players are for fringe roster spots and potential finds, it’s not surprising to see the Chiefs present here.
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Plinke was a key recruit for Boise State as far back as 2012 and transferred two times before settling in at UTEP. The last two seasons have made good on his promise as he’s dominated in Conference USA play, grabbing 8 touchdowns last season for the Miners. The last two seasons, Plinke had 75 receptions and 861 receiving yards. Unfortunately Plinke didn’t grade that well at the recent NFL Combine with middling results in strength (18 bench press reps) and speed (4.97 40-yard dash).
Jones put up tremendous numbers for the Miners in his career, from 811 rushing yards his freshman season to last year’s 1,773 rushing yards on 229 carries (7.7 yards/carry) and 17 touchdowns. He also caught another 28 passes and had over 2,000 yards from scrimmage.
Jones turned heads at the NFL Combine by finishing second in the vertical jump among running backs, third in broad jump, second in 3-cone drill, and third in both the 20-yard shuttle and 60-yard shuttle. It was a dominant performance that might have led to several scouts checking out UTEP’s pro day in response.
Both players would fit areas of need for the Chiefs, even as later picks. Plinke could be an interesting and versatile addition in place of Demetrius Harris, if the team decides to move on after his recent arrest for marijuana possession, or for competition either way. Jones could compete for instant minutes alongside Spencer Ware, C.J. Spiller and Charcandrick West.