Chiefs coach Todd Haley said yesterday that Tyson Jackson has passed the “look test”, a big one to pass. But as Kent Babb notes, Jackson will have to wait a few weeks before the pads go on and he can take the next step.
Thursday will be the Chiefs’ final offseason practice, and those workouts feature little or no contact, and players don’t wear shoulder pads. Because of this, Haley admitted that one of the Chiefs’ most unreliable positions during last year’s 2-14 season, the defensive line, remains a question as the team approaches its first season under him.
“Once we get those pads on, we will get a true evaluation. … So much can change when the pads are on. The guys are starting to get it because this is a whole new ballgame for them.”
Now that Kansas City has one player it sees as part of its long-term defensive foundation, the drama begins on whether Jackson will be signed and with the team when it begins training camp July 31 in River Falls, Wis. He said Monday that he hopes to be there on time but that he has “no idea” whether a contract will be finalized by then.
“I’m still confident. My agent is going to do a real good job. I really don’t know too much about it, but I’m pretty sure he’s going to do a good job and put me in camp when I’m supposed to be there. I don’t even think about it. There’s too much in the playbook for me to worry about that right now.”
Jackson’s agent, Eugene Parker, also represents New England defensive lineman Richard Seymour, meaning he’s likely familiar with Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli, the Patriots’ former longtime personnel executive.
Jackson and Kansas City’s other rookies will remain with the team for conditioning work after the Chiefs’ final practice Thursday. Jackson admitted that he needs work before he’s ready to assume what is expected to be a starting role in the fall. Jackson said that, upon joining the Chiefs for practice after the draft, he would have given his comfort level a failing grade; now, he said, it is up to a C.
“I’m starting to get the rhythm to it, but I still have a long way to go. There are some things that you can use to your advantage in college that you can’t use to your advantage in the pros. Guys are way smarter.”
Just yesterday I was talking about not expecting too much out of Jackson his rookie season. I understand he will get a huge contract and should be the starter from day 1, but historically anything you get out of a defensive lineman his rookie year is a bonus. The guy who needs to impress is last year’s top 5 pick, Glenn Dorsey. If Dorsey can adjust to DE and make the kind of impact we expected last season than he can make Jackson’s transition to the pro game that much less difficult. As for Jackson’s contract, I don’t pretend to be an expert but with two players — Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez — on either side of him already signed it would make sense that the other spots in the top 5 fill out quicker than we are used to.
Back in April we talked about Derrick Thomas’ son, Derrion, along with his success on the track and potential to play football in college. Now according to Steve Penn, he is close to making a decision.
It’s been the Southeastern Conference versus the Big 12. Crimson Tide versus the Tigers. And for Derrion Thomas, the Tigers have the edge. Thomas, a football standout at Blue Springs South High School, had considered the University of Alabama, where his father played. Now he’s strongly leaning toward the University of Missouri.
“It’s the top choice for now. I’ve had a lot more communication with them. There’s just more of a connection to Missouri.”
Thomas will have a busy summer. While Carl Peterson, the former president and CEO of the Kansas City Chiefs, will present the late Derrick Thomas to the Hall of Fame for induction in August, Derrion Thomas will accept the trophy and render his own remarks. He has started to prepare his speech for Canton, Ohio.
“I haven’t had a chance to finish yet. Obviously, I’ll focus on some of his career. The biggest thing for me that I need to focus on is the person that he was. There’s all the misconceptions out there. I think it will be a great opportunity to just clear that up.”
Thomas would like to study sports marketing at MU. He wants to become a sports agent.
“Football is something I like to do and pursue in college, but as far as after that, I’m not really sure.”
Thomas plans on redshirting his first year. He’ll move from defensive end and wide receiver to outside linebacker. He’s 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 208 pounds. He’ll try to put on another 10 to 15 pounds this summer. At Alabama, he would have been compared to his father. At the University of Missouri, there won’t be any such expectations. At MU, he just has to be Derrion Thomas.
I was hoping he would be able to find the right fit at the college level and with Missouri I think he just may have found it. Can you even imagine how hard it would be for him to play football at Alabama? No matter where he decides to go, since he will be redshirting we won’t get to see him play until the 2011 season but I look forward to watching him. Good luck, Derrion.