KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A little less than 48 hours after the NFL Draft has the Chiefs feeling good about the results.
The Chiefs addressed positions of need with the nine selected players and the draft board fell the way the team hoped it would.
“I know you all don’t like to hear this, but the way that board peeled off truly was a credit to the organization, the scouting department for getting that thing right,” general manager John Dorsey said during Monday’s conference call. “You all think I’m fooling you here, but that thing peeled off the way it was supposed to peel off and that’s a tribute to those guys in that room who put in all those hours of hard work and days of hard work.”
The Chiefs came away from the three-day event with five defensive players: Cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Steven Nelson; inside linebackers Ramik Wilson and D.J. Alexander; and defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches.
Peters, the team’s first-round pick, and Nelson, the second of two third-round picks, should compete for immediate playing time. Wilson and Alexander, both Day Three selections, provided the much-needed depth at inside linebacker.
Dorsey pointed out the 6-2, 237-pound Wilson, a fourth-round pick, and 6-2, 233-pound Alexander, the first of two fifth-round picks, add speed to the interior of the defense and are likely to contribute on special teams.
But their presence should also help a run defense that ranked 28th in the NFL last year.
“The game has changed a little bit,” Dorsey said. “I think the one thing these guys can do is they can run to the football, which is good. I think they have a really nice feel for the position. They understand the components of the game, but they also are physical enough where they can kind of stack up inside on the running game.”
While the 6-2, 307-pound Nunez-Roches’ exact role remains unclear, Dorsey appreciated the sixth-round pick’s versatility.
“He’ll probably align maybe as a one-technique, a three-technique,” Dorsey said. “Once you get him into camp, you watch him move, he can hold up on the run. But he’s also quick enough off the ball and strong enough where you think that, you know what, he can play a little bit of three. He has some flexibility to play three and nose.”
The Chiefs went offense on four selections with offensive lineman Mitch Morse in the second round, wide receiver Chris Conley in the third, tight end James O’Shaughnessy in the sixth and wide receiver Da’Ron Brown in the seventh.
Dorsey addressed Morse and Conley on Day Two of the draft, but Monday offered the general manager an opportunity to discuss the 6-4, 245-pound O’Shaughnessy and the 6-0, 199-pound Brown.
The general manager said he liked both players and they offered depth.
O’Shaughnessy will need time to develop, but Dorsey sees an area where the product of Illinois State can make an impact.
“The component that you probably don’t see as much as you should is the special teams aspect of his play,” Dorsey said. “He’s a really good special teams player.”
Dorsey cited Brown’s size, ability to catch the football with big hands – Brown’s hands measured 10 ¼ at the NFL Scouting Combine – and the ability to work inside as a receiver.
“He’s one of those guys that comes in and competes,” Dorsey said, “and he’s going to add competitive depth to that position.”
Dorsey said he felt the team improved the roster based on the results of the draft.
More importantly, he is comfortable as the team shifts focus to rookie minicamp and organized team activities (OTAs) before reporting for training camp in St. Joseph, Mo.
“I think that we have a team that we can compete,” Dorsey said. “We can compete in the AFC West and that is all you can ask for. I think we’ve created depth, I think we’ve created competition at roster spots and in this position now, everybody is going to feel good in the National Football League. But you know what? I feel pretty good, too.”
The Chiefs have begun the process of signing undrafted free agents, but Dorsey wasn’t ready to confirm official transactions.
“I’ve told (Chiefs vice president of communications) Ted (Crews) I’m not going to release anything until I get some signed contracts,” Dorsey said. “Maybe I’m old school a little bit, but I get a little nervous until I’ve seen that document signed.”
Dorsey said there are signed players, but wouldn’t identify the number. He did, however, indicate the undrafted free-agent signings are still ongoing.
“I would hope so,” Dorsey said when asked if more signings are expected.
The biggest take away from various reports of undrafted free-agent signings is to realize some of the reported players heading to the Chiefs came courtesy of a rookie minicamp invitation on a tryout basis.
The Chiefs entered the draft with 74 players on the offseason roster and the nine players added through the draft placed the team at 83.
The means the Chiefs have seven available roster spots for undrafted free agents before reaching the league maximum of 90 players on an offseason roster.
NOTHING TO SEE
The NFL Network had a camera inside the Chiefs’ draft room, and viewers caught what appeared as an animated exchange between Dorsey and coach Andy Reid on Day Two of the draft.
Working out of the Chiefs media room meant beat writers didn’t see the exchange, but a follower on Twitter informed ChiefsDigest.com, Terez Paylor of The Kansas City Star and Adam Teicher of ESPN.com of the interaction.
— Brad Stein (@bstein84) May 2, 2015
Dorsey addressed the situation Monday, and all is well at One Arrowhead Drive.
“I don’t think we’ve had an argument in 20-something years,” Dorsey said. “There was complete harmony in the draft room for three days to be quite honest with you.”