It seems every season that the Kansas City Chiefs — and most teams across the league — find an undrafted free agent or two that end up being heavy contributors. With so little time to spend with younger players, Todd Haley is worried about missing out on some of those players.
“The evaluation process is a much more limited window,” Haley said on Sunday, “You’ve missed two-and-a-half months of watching these guys, how they act, how they lift, just how they go about their business, which is part of the evaluation.”
Sometimes even a full offseason isn’t enough time to realize the potential of a young player. Just look at WR Verran Tucker, who was a part of the Chiefs final cuts and spent the first five games of the season on the practice squad before being promoted.
When it comes down to making the final decisions, does the team go with a player that has been around the program in one way or another the last couple of seasons or take a shot on a first year player with more questions marks?
Haley knows that the way things were done the last two seasons have to be altered for 2011.
“We always say ‘you’re being evaluated every day, everything you do’ – are you taking notes, do you have a pencil or pen, all those little things. We’ve missed a big chunk of that on top of some football things also there that would occur in the May/June portion of the year.”
If the team is going to roll the dice on a couple undrafted free agents, look for it to be where they have the most depth. With the defensive backfield set with the first and second team, cornerback or safety would make the most sense to take more of a chance.
I don’t envy Scott Pioli and the coaching staff down the stretch. The worst way to cap off a shortened offseason would be to have a repeat of the Ryan Lilja-situation: release a player hoping to get a better look on the practice squad just for him to get snatched up by another team and becoming a significant contribtor.