Having a string of strong training camp practices is often pushed by the wayside. But, the performance we have seen by the Kansas City Chiefs’ rookie class is thrilling. There are obvious expectations for certain talents. However, it is not common for most football players to jump into the NFL scene and start off hot. This is especially true, given the dynamics of this different feeling offseason. Now, let’s dive into the recent scouting reports and observations about these Chiefs rookies.
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Rookie of the Year?
If it was not already clear, Clyde Edwards-Helaire will be a highly featured component of the Chiefs high flying offensive attack. Ever since the team selected him with their first round pick back in April, Edwards-Helaire’s stock has been buzzing. General manager Brett Veach continued to praise the LSU product and described his possible role in 2020.
“He’s on pace to have a big year and to be our primary ball carrier.”
Veach’s comments may seem apparent already. Moreover, Edwards-Helaire has wowed the coaching staff while working with the starters, both as a runner and as a receiver.
Before training camp began, Chiefs running backs coach Deland McCullough mentioned several things that he liked about his game.
“Short area quickness, makes the first guy miss, like his demeanor. He has not disappointed at all in virtual meetings.”
And after training camp started, McCullough doubled down.
“I’m seeing someone who is extremely hard working. He’s very hard on himself and that can be good and bad. He’s somebody who is a perfectionist. You’re not always going to have those, so you need to be able to take the good with the bad.
He will correct himself, even if there’s something that goes off the rails. He’ll come off and say, ‘Man I was supposed to run this or I should’ve looked the other way.”’
Not only is CEH joining arguably the best offense in the league, but we have seen a handful of running backs have success in Kansas City under Andy Reid. According to MyBookie, he is currently slated at +350 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, the second best odds, trailing only his college teammate Joe Burrow. Seeing and hearing the confidence that the Chiefs have in this rookie, makes it hard to bet against Edwards-Helaire.
Best of the Bunch?
While linebacker has become a minimized position for some defenses, Kansas City was in dire need of a jolt at that spot. Willie Gay Jr has quickly turned heads at Chiefs training camp. So much so, that he may even be the team’s best linebacker already.
His ability to play fast, see ball, go get ball style and impressive athleticism brings a new mold to that group. Gay Jr was one of the best coverage linebackers in college football, too. That will be a big addition, in and of itself. Furthermore, his fiery competitiveness has impressed teammates.
Ben Niemann mentioned that Gay Jr, “brings it every day and has a colorful personality.”
Anthony Hitchens talked about the nickname Willie had earned in training camp early on.
“He’s learning a lot, he’s moving fast. We call him ‘Turbo’, because sometimes he moves too fast. We’re all teaching him the ropes, and he’s coming along well. He’s making plays. As long as we can keep having him do that, I think he can make our defense a lot better.”
That speed is an added advantage in today’s NFL style that caters to offensive output. Also, let’s not forget that the Kansas City Chiefs viewed this rookie as a first round talent. Not sure many teams were on that level of thinking, but once again, they are super confident in this rookie.
Don’t Sleep On Sneed
Finally, we have fourth round rookie draft pick L’Jarius Sneed. Listed as just simply a ‘defensive back’ after the draft, he has settled in at the cornerback spot nicely. Reports have indicated that Sneed has been impressive in coverage, while also showing noticeable speed.
“I feel like they’re going to prepare me for anyone in the league,” Sneed said after facing Hill and Hardman. “They’re two of the best receivers in the NFL, and they’re going to prepare me to be the best that I can be.”
Due to a suspension, the Chiefs will be without Bashaud Breeland to open the season. That means Sneed will receive an opportunity to be counted on right away. Quite frankly, the rookie has earned it. It may not be an easy spot to jump into. Nonetheless, L’Jarius Sneed could become Kansas City’s defensive x-factor amongst other star players.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.