The Kansas City Chiefs have a long list of needs to fill between now and training camp, but finding a kick returner is no doubt high on that list. One person that could do the trick — Indiana (Pa.) CB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah — visited with the Chiefs yesterday and spoke with Randy Covitz about what he brings to the table.
Despite teams kicking away from him, Owusu-Ansah used his 4.32 speed to return four punts and three kickoffs for touchdowns during his career, including one game against Edinboro last season in which he returned a kickoff 78 yards and a punt 70 yards for touchdowns in a six-play sequence.
“They scored a touchdown, they kicked it off to me, and I returned the kickoff for a touchdown,” he recalled. “We stopped them on a three-and-out on the following series, and they tried to punt out of bounds, but it stayed in bounds, and I got it and scored.”
Owusu-Ansah, whose family is from Ghana, grew up in Columbus, Ohio, but went to Division II Indiana (Pa.) when he didn’t receive any Division I offers. He’s not worried about making the jump from Division II to the NFL. Chiefs starting cornerback Brandon Carr and other NFL corners, including Drayton Florence, Danieal Manning and former Chiefs backup Ricardo Colclough went from Division II programs to the NFL.
“The jump for me is going to be more on the mental side than physical,” said Owusu-Ansah, a 6-foot- 1/4 , 207-pounder who was unable to compete in postseason all-star games because of shoulder surgery but did participate at the combine. “Physically I’m there, and I have the ability to play. … The shoulder is coming along real good. I continue to rehab it and am getting all my range of motion back.”
Obviously the Chiefs have had success with small school prospects (Carr, Jared Allen, among others) recently, but can they select Owusu-Ansah with a second round pick? Unless they are sure he can contribute immediately — similar to Carr — on defense, it’s hard to justify that high of a pick.
Scott Pioli will probably need his first three picks to start out of the gate for Kansas City to take that next step in 2010, but once you get into the top of the third round with the team’s fourth selection it doesn’t hurt to take a chance on a guy like Owusu-Ansah.
Keep in mind that his shoulder injury prevented him from showing off his ability against prospects from bigger schools so you might be able to sit back and hope that he slips into the fourth round. But if he’s the guy you really want and believe he can solve the Chiefs kick return problems then the third is the place for Owusu-Ansah.