Laurent Duvernay-Tardif Jersey

We’ve discussed in detail on this website about how Kansas City Chiefs starting right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif lives a good life out of football.

Whether it be completing his medical degree, trying his hand at journalism at the Winter Olympics or simply popping onto NFL Network’s Good Morning Football, the now-sixth-year Chief often finds himself in the spotlight more so than the shadows, which might be otherwise typical for an offensive lineman.

This past weekend was no different, as Duvernay-Tardif had the opportunity to meet Montreal Canadiens center Max Domi. Duvernay-Tardif was born in Montreal and grew up a Canadiens fan, and the two swapped their football and hockey jerseys, respectively.

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Thirty-five of Kansas City’s 59 sixth-round draft picks went on to appear in a game for the Chiefs, combining to play in a total of 841 total contests.Eight of the Chiefs’ nine sixth-round picks since 2014 have appeared in at least one game for Kansas City. The most productive player in that group has been offensive guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who has started 43 games in his five years with the Chiefs.

A few years ago, the Chiefs selected former Canadian offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif—a relative unknown—in the sixth round of the draft out of McGill University, which was described as about the level of junior college football.

It took Duvernay-Tardif a year of development but then he turned into one of the best guards in all of football, so it’s fair to say that late-round offensive lineman under Chiefs’ offensive line coach Andy Heck have developed nicely. We also saw it a few years ago with Zach Fulton, plus the recent quality play of a late pickup in Andrew Wylie, plus countless other guys who have improved and developed under Heck’s guidance.

It was a busy offseason for the NFL’s Canadians. Luke Willson went from Detroit to Oakland. Brett Jones re-signed with the Vikings. Long snapper L.P. LaDouceur signed a one-year deal with Dallas to return for his 15th season. LaDouceur, Tyrone Crawford and Christian Covington – who was not offered a new contract by the Houston Texans – will try to take the Cowboys deeper into the playoffs, while Kansas City’s Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is fully healed from his broken leg and focused on the Chiefs reaching the Super Bowl in 2019.

What will happen is still to be determined; for now, here is a list of the Canadians to keep an eye on as all 32 NFL teams get prepared to battle for the Lombardi Trophy.

The Kansas City Chiefs have signed Jamaal Charles to a one-day contract to allow him to retire in red and gold.

The Chiefs said Wednesday that the four-time pro bowl running back will retire as a Kansas City Chief.Charles went on to sign a one-year contract with the Denver Broncos before jumping to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018. He only played two games as a Jaguar.

Charles was released by the team in 2017, with money from his salary clearing the way for Eric Berry and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. Selected by the Chiefs as a third-round pick in 2008, he became the team’s all-time leader in rushing yards with 7,260 over the course of nine years. He also averaged 5.4 yards per carry – an NFL high for running backs with a minimum of 750 carries.

The Chiefs activated Duvernay-Tardif from injured reserve (fibula) back on January 15 ahead of the AFC championship against the New England Patriots, but the Chiefs chose to start and play Andrew Wylie, instead. The expectation is that Duvernay-Tardif should be ready for offseason workouts, which begin on April 15.

Mitchell Schwartz Jersey

Normally when people think of an MVP, they think quarterback. Very rarely is an offensive lineman an MVP, if ever. While Patrick Mahomes is the league MVP, the hidden MVP of this squad is right tackle Mitchell Schwartz.

Mitchell Schwartz came over to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2016 as an Unrestricted Free Agent after spending his first four seasons in Cleveland, where he was a second round pick. Schwartz, the brother of former Chiefs guard Geoff Schwartz, was considered one of the top Free Agents in 2016.

It also helped that he was graded as the number six tackle in his final season with the Browns and he was the first right tackle on that list. The Chiefs had had a revolving door at the position since John Alt played in Chiefs red, so this was a big get. Fans were just a little skeptical though because the last time the Chiefs landed a big time right tackle, Eric Winston, it didn’t turn out too well.

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 30: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs is congratulated by teammate Mitchell Schwartz #71 after throwing his fiftieth touchdown of the season during the third quarter of the game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images)

The Schwartz signing was a necessary evil though and one that was well worth the risk. The Chiefs needed a right tackle in the worst way, with incumbent Donald Stephenson playing inconsistently since he was drafted. It was one of the final pieces of the offensive line puzzle that then Chiefs general manager John Dorsey had been trying to solve.

Geoff Schwartz played one season with the Kansas City Chiefs. During that year, he spent a week serving as the scout team version of his brother, Cleveland Browns right tackle Mitchell Schwartz. Then Kansas City pass rusher Justin Houston was going through his normal routine at practice against the opposition’s right tackle. There was one change that week, however. Houston was not fulfilling his pass rush because he was afraid of his teammate giving tips to his younger brother.

Offensive tackle isn’t a priority for the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2019 NFL Draft. The roster has two quality starting tackles in Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz.

Now might be a good time if general manager Brett Veach wants to find a developmental tackle who could be ready in two to three years when the contracts of the Chiefs’ current starting tackles expire.

The Chiefs appear to prefer long-armed, athletic athletes with excellent lateral quickness who project as solid zone blockers with an ability to pull into space and pass protection adequately on the offensive line.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Offensive tackle isn’t a priority for the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2019 NFL Draft. The roster has two quality starting tackles in Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz.

Now might be a good time if general manager Brett Veach wants to find a developmental tackle who could be ready in two to three years when the contracts of the Chiefs’ current starting tackles expire.

The Chiefs appear to prefer long-armed, athletic athletes with excellent lateral quickness who project as solid zone blockers with an ability to pull into space and pass protection adequately on the offensive line.

Recent history suggests that the Chiefs tend to prioritize athletic ability over technique deficiencies.

Kansas City also hasn’t acquired many offensive linemen high in the the draft. The only recent first-round investment was No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher in 2013.

Former general manager John Dorsey acquired most of the remaining line through free agency or in the sixth round or later.

Veach picked up Cameron Erving in a trade last year, but he has made most offensive line additions through free agency. Here are some of the top fits at offensive tackle:Now: Austin Reiter, Nick Allegretti, Jimmy Murray, Cam Erving, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Kahlil McKenzie, Eric Fisher, Mitchell Schwartz, Andrew Wylie, Dino Boyd, Ryan Hunter, Pace Murphy and Justin Senior

Nick Allegretti Jersey

Nick Allegretti obviously was a little bit concerned last weekend as the seventh round of the NFL Draft was winding down.

The former Lincoln-Way East standout was a two-year captain and three-year staple on the offensive line where he had 36 consecutive starts while playing almost every snap for Illini coach Lovie Smith. Illinois has had a draft selection in 43 of the past 47 years and now has 242 all-time selections.The Kansas City Chiefs wrapped up their three-day rookie minicamp Monday, and by the sound of it, head coach Andy Reid came away pleased with what he saw.

Reid spoke with reporters following the conclusion of Monday’s session and had positive things to say about a number of players, as well as the group of prospects the Chiefs assembled as a whole. Over 70 players attended the three-day minicamp, including the six players the Chiefs selected in the 2019 NFL Draft (wide receiver Mecole Hardman, safety Juan Thornhill, defensive tackle Khalen Saunders, cornerback Rashad Fenton, running back Derwin Thompson, and offensive lineman Nick Allegretti), 17 undrafted signings and a number of tryout players.

Former University of Illinois offensive lineman Nick Allegretti, who was a standout football player and wrestler at Lincoln-Way East, played three seasons for the Illini and was drafted last week in the seventh-round by the Kansas City Chiefs.

“I think overall, this was the best overall group at all positions that we had, just where you could go out and really compete here and make it real,” Reid said.

Reid spoke the most about Hardman, who was making his debut after being the first player the Chiefs selected in the 2019 NFL Draft (Round 2, pick 56 overall). What Reid liked the seeing from Hardman was the improvement he showed from the start of minicamp to its conclusion.

“Every day he got a little better. These are all new — these routes are new to him,” Reid said. “He did a nice job in the red zone, which normally is the toughest place to work, but he did extremely well there. He had a good finish.”

NASHVILLE – Former University of Illinois offensive lineman Nick Allegretti was selected in the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft on Saturday in Nashville. Allegretti was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs with the 216th overall pick.

Allegretti is the sixth Illini drafted in Kansas City Chiefs history and the first since Jeff Allen in 2012. Allen, also an offensive lineman, helped the Chiefs to the AFC Championship game in 2019.

Allegretti was a two-time captain and finished his football career with 36 consecutive starts while playing nearly every snap on the o-line over the last three seasons. A second-team All-Big Ten selection, Allegretti was graded as the third-best offensive guard in the nation in 2018 by Pro Football Focus, allowing just one QB hit and zero sacks on the season while anchoring an offensive line that paved the way for the nation’s 12th-ranked rushing offense. PFF graded him as the No. 6 run-blocking guard and the No. 11 pass-blocking guard in the nation.

Reid said there was one route in particular Hardman had problems with in the early going of minicamp. But he quickly bounced back to show improvement, which was something that left an impression.

Dozens of drafted rookies, undrafted free agent signings and young players asked to try out came together on Saturday for opening day of a three-day rookie minicamp for the Kansas City Chiefs. It was also a time to hear from head coach Andy Reid as he updated reporters on several players.

Reid spoke about a few of the team’s six recent draftees from the 2019 Draft. He noted seventh-round pick Nick Allegretti will be working at center to start. The 6’4″, 320-pound offensive lineman played as a guard for most of his collegiate career at the University of Illinois, but he impressed at center at the Senior Bowl. The Chiefs will enjoy his versatility if he looks good in the middle.

“Nick is an offensive lineman. He can play center or guard, a dual position guy. He can probably kick out and play tackle. He’s not a small guy. We like him in those two positions, guard and center. He’ll be working center with the first group and then getting a little guard work here as we go. He’s very intelligent … he’s a two-time team captain … he’s a tough kid who moves around well.”

Running back Darwin Thompson out of Utah State was praised as a sleeper pick for the Chiefs in the sixth round. Reid provided a brief update on Thompson, saying the best comparison to a player he’s had before is former Chiefs back Charcandrick West

Darwin Thompson Jersey

When Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach sees a player he likes, he doesn’t hesitate to go the extra mile to put him in a Chiefs uniform. That was almost the case with former Utah State running back Darwin Thompson, who Veach almost traded up to select in of the NFL Draft before landing him anyway at pick 214 overall in Round 6.

Veach made a move earlier in the draft for former University of Georgia wide receiver Mecole Hardman, who the Chiefs moved up five spots to select at pick 56 while sending pick 61 and a fifth-round pick to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange. He liked Thompson enough to almost make a similar move after selecting cornerback Rashad Fenton of South Carolina at pick 201 in Round 6.

“He’s a really exciting player,” Veach said of Thompson Monday, per Chiefs.com. “We had him higher on that value board and when he fell there in the sixth round, [we took him]. Actually, when we took Fenton, I was trying to make some moves to get back up there and get [Thompson] because I didn’t want to lose him three or four selections before we picked. I called every team right after we took Fenton to go right back up and get this Thompson kid. We couldn’t reach a deal, but as we were kind of doing the review of the teams picking just ahead of us…and all these teams had taken a running back earlier in the draft, so I was like, ‘These teams went running back earlier, I think we might be OK here.’”

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We’ve already heard a bit from Chiefs scouts on their Day 3 draft picks, but now Brett Veach has weighed in. Area scout Trey Koziol revealed that he doesn’t have an exact comparison that he’d scouted for Chiefs new RB Darwin Thompson. Koziol said that he did remind him a bit of Falcons RB Devonta Freeman, but he was hard-pressed to commit to that comparison.

During Veach’s post-draft teleconference, he revealed a comparison for Thompson that he finds fitting. Thompson reminds Veach of Dion Lewis, though, there is one crucial difference.The Kansas City Chiefs have selected former Utah State running back Darwin Thompson with the 214th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Thompson (5-8, 200) was a second-team All-Mountain West selection in 2018 with 1,044 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns along with 23 catches for 351 yards and two touchdowns. A junior college transfer from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Thompson decided to leave Utah State for the draft after one season. At his Pro Day, Thompson was clocked at 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash with a 39-inch vertical jump, a 126-inch broad jump, a 6.93-second 3-cone drill, and 23 bench press reps of 225 pounds.

The selection is the second in Day 3 for the Chiefs. Here’s a look at the other selections they’ve made so far.In Thompson, the Chiefs drafted a somewhat different type of back than they have with Carlos Hyde, Damien Williams and Darrell Williams, who are all at least 5-11 and over 220 pounds. Thompson checks in at just 5-8, 200 but is also very muscular, which gives him a unique look that makes it hard to compare him to anyone, according to national scout Trey Koziol.

“You want to think he’s a scatback, but he’s so powerful in that build that he really does have strength,” Koziol said Saturday. “So, it’s kind of a rare dynamic. I haven’t done a whole lot of guys out west that I could give you an honest comp and say, ‘Hey, when I looked at him on film he was this guy,’ because not a lot of guys are built that way. It’s kind of a unique build.”

Veach found his own comparison for Thompson — Tennessee Titans running back Dion Lewis.

“He has a little Dion Lewis in him,” Veach said. “Dion is a guy that has similar stature. He might be a little bit more stout than Dion, but both guys are tough runners for their size. Even though they’re small, they can do a lot of different things.”

Rashad Fenton Jersey

The Kansas City Chiefs have selected former South Carolina cornerback Rashad Fenton with the 201st overall pick (Round 6) in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Fenton (5-11, 193) played in 48 games in four seasons at South Carolina (30 starts) and totaled 122 tackles, five interceptions, and 24 passes defensed. He also was a kick returner for the Gamecocks with a 24.8-yard career average and one return for a touchdown. Fenton was clocked at 4.52 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine with a vertical jump of 34 inches, a broad jump of 117 inches, and a 20-yard shuttle of 4.25 seconds.

The selection of Fenton is the first in Day 3 for the Chiefs. Here’s a look at the other selections they’ve made so far.

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“I think we’re just looking to find another great player period, offense or defense,” Veach said. “I think the cool thing about having the league MVP (quarterback Patrick Mahomes) is he makes the people around him that much better, so that’s a luxury we have. And if we can get him another tool, we absolutely will. But I think in general we’re just looking to find playmakers on both sides of the football. I don’t think we’re going to be geared towards offense now because Pat is so good. But we’re also aware that Pat is so good, so if there’s someone out there that can make him even better, we’ll be all for it. But I think just in general, we just want to add playmakers, and that includes special teams too.”

Among the top needs coming into the draft for the Chiefs were cornerback, safety, wide receiver, tight end, and running back. The Chiefs had six draft picks in 2018, which was Veach’s first draft as general manager, and used them on defensive end Breeland Speaks (Round 2), defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi (Round 3), linebacker Dorian O’Daniel (Round 3), safety Armani Watts (Round 4), cornerback Tremon Smith (Round 6), and guard Kahlil McKenzie (Round 6).

Juan Thornhill of Virginia and Rashad Fenton of South Carolina will try to help impact the secondary.

“I want to prove that not only as a complete cornerback but as a complete athlete, just being able to bring more to the table and being a lockdown corner,” Fenton said. “I feel I was able to prove that during my time at South Carolina.”

The Chiefs have added Jamal Custis, an undrafted free agent receiver from Syracuse, to their lineup. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports Curtis will receive $100,000 in guaranteed money.Juan Thornhill is expected to instantly mix in with the starting defensive backs. According to Brett Veach, he was the No. 1 ranked free safety prospect for the Chiefs. There’s a burden that comes with being regarded so highly as a rookie. Given the quarterbacks throwing at rookie camp, he could be in for a big one.

Then you have a guy like Khalen Saunders, who automatically has a lot to prove coming from Western Illinois which is an FCS school. He’ll have a chip on his shoulder coming in, but will it be enough? He’ll have to face off against fellow rookie Nick Allegretti during minicamp.

Fans didn’t like the Rashad Fenton pick, but Andy Reid seems to believe he’s a versatile piece for the team to use in the secondary. The question of readiness will certainly be looming, but Fenton could benefit from the quarterback play at camp.

Darwin Thompson is sure to be a fan favorite during the entire offseason program. His contact balance is superb, but he won’t have much of a chance to show it because of the lack of live contact periods.The Kansas City Chiefs used their initial pick on the final day of the NFL draft to select Rashad Fenton, a cornerback out of South Carolina who can play multiple positions on defense.Fenton is another piece Kansas City can use as it shifts to a 4-3 defense under new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. The club has been busy fixing one of the NFL’s worst defenses this offseason, and added safety Juan Thornhill and defensive tackle Khalen Saunders on Friday night.

Their biggest addition came earlier in the week, when the Chiefs packaged their first-round pick and a second-rounder next year to acquire pass rusher Frank Clark from the Seattle Seahawks.

Khalen Saunders Jersey

In the Chiefs final of three picks on day two, they selected Khalen Saunders. Saunders is a defensive lineman who is very athletic at 324 pounds. He brings a non-stop motor to the table. Along with that above average athleticism, Saunders presents a wicked first step quickness.

Saunders really shined at the Senior Bowl. His whole Senior Bowl weekend was a cool and fun story. On the first day of Senior Bowl practice, Saunders’s wife gave birth to their daughter. His wife told him to stay in Mobile to finish the week and play in the Senior Bowl game. After a strong performance, he finally got to meet his new born daughter in Chicago. Saunders says he was holding her when he got the call from the Chiefs on Friday.

Saunders playing next to Chris Jones could provide the Chiefs with major production from the inside for years to come. Kansas City has now completely rebuilt their defensive line this offseason. The Chiefs feel like they found great value with Saunders still being available at pick 84. Saunders has great production from his time at Western Illinois, and now he’s the first player to be drafted from that school in 10 years.

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The Kansas City Chiefs added six players to the roster over the course of the 2019 NFL Draft last weekend, picking up wide receiver Mecole Hardman, defensive back Juan Thornhill, defensive tackle Khalen Saunders, cornerback Rashad Fenton, tailback Darwin Thompson and guard/center Nick Allegretti.

Western Illinois defensive tackle Khalen Saunders could be a steal for Kansas City at No. 84. I thought he might go in the top 50. He could be a good complement to Chris Jones.

The first pick of the fourth round for our Big Blue Draft-A-Thon is in the books, and Big Blue View has selected Khalen Saunders (iDL, Western Illinois) for the New York Giants at 109th overall.

Khalen Saunders is a small-school prospect but he could well be a steal at the beginning of the fourth round. He made waves for himself at the Senior Bowl, and not just for his ability to back handsprings at 320 pounds. He is both powerful and agile (exactly the kind of defensive tackle the Giants like) and gave big-school offensive linemen a serious run for their money. He also had one of the most touching moments when he made time to go home for the birth of his daughter, and still made sure to be back in Mobile to play in the Senior Bowl, rather than just stay home because the scouts left.

After trading Eli Apple to the New Orleans Saints for a fourth round pick, the Giants are back on the clock with the 132nd overall selection.

The Kansas City Chiefs are hosting their exclusive Season Ticket Member draft party at Arrowhead Stadium today. There are tons of festivities going on and one of those has been shared by the Chiefs.
The voice of the Chiefs, Mitch Holthus, hosted a Q&A session with all three of the Chiefs new rookies — Mecole Hardman, Juan Thornhill and Khalen Saunders. Fans got a glimpse into who these new players are and what they’re all about.

Each of the rookies weighs-in on different aspects of joining the Chiefs team, from playing with MVP Patrick Mahomes, to the rich tradition of great defensive play in Kansas City.

Western Illinois defensive tackle Khalen Saunders (6-foot, 324) has had an unconventional NFL Draft process. The opportunity to play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl is an honor for most prospects. Saunders was balancing the chance to put his talents on display with welcoming his newborn daughter, Kambridge.

“I didn’t want to just leave immediately. Looking back on it, I wouldn’t have made it for the birth anyway because she came right after our first practice. If I wanted to do any of the practices, I was going to miss the birth anyway,” Saunders explained to 247Sports.

“After she had came, I wanted to see her but there wasn’t a rush to get home anyway because she already came. Whether I seen her an hour or two after she came or a day or two, she wouldn’t have remembered anyway. It was my fiancee deciding it was best for me to stay up there in Mobile and competing with everybody and raising my draft stock.”Raise his draft stock, he did. Saunders has put himself in a position to hear his name called on Day Two of the 2019 NFL Draft, which brings a four year contract.

The defensive lineman did get the chance to go back to Illinois and spend some time with his daughter after practices concluded but before returning for Saturday’s game.

“I was actually the one who made the decision to come home before the game. Everybody was getting to see her. Literally grandparents, aunties and everybody was getting to see her before I get to so I guess that was the jealous part of me.”

As if the pre-NFL Draft process has not been enough, Saunders has also been spending his time preparing to be a father.

Juan Thornhill Jersey

The Cleveland Browns have the opportunity to give themselves a knock-out safety tandem. With Damarious Randall on one side of the field, the Browns need a strong presence across from him. They could find it in Virginia’s Juan Thornhill.

The Cleveland Browns have a need in the secondary before they can really learn to fly on defense. Denzel Ward is a fine cornerback, and Damarious Randall was a breath of fresh air at the free safety position last season. Jabrill Peppers has been shipped off to New York in exchange for Odell Beckham Jr. The Browns need a plug and play strong safety and an upgrade over Morgan Burnett. Virginia’s Juan Thornhill could be their guy.

First and foremost, Thornhill is an athletic freak and perhaps the most athletic safety in this class. The 6-0, 205-pound Virginia native can jump out of the gym with an 11-foot-9 broad jump, and has fantastic, 4.42 speed. Perhaps Thornhill’s most impressive trait is just how easy he makes the safety position look.

Thornhill’s smooth movements make his game tape look more like fine art than football, and his 36 starts give scouts plenty of tape to look at. A former high school quarterback, Thornhill has the instincts to know where he needs to be, but he doesn’t use those instincts as a crutch. Thornhill is patient on his reads and will rarely get fooled. His flashiest game in 2018 came against Miami, where he posted two interceptions and six tackles.

Juan Thornhill, a safety out of UVA, became the first state college player to be taken in this year’s draft on Friday evening.

The Kansas City Chiefs used the 63rd overall pick in the second round to select Thornhill, a versatile defensive back.

Thornhill became the highest drafted player out of UVA since 2011, when the New England Patriots selected another defensive back, cornerback Ras-I Dowling, to start the second round.

Thornhill tied for third in the nation with six interceptions last season.

Thornhill played both safety and cornerback at Virginia, but most scouts project him as an over the top safety at the next level. Some teams had concerns about his tackling ability, and those teams could consider moving him out to corner.

NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah is among those who believes Thornhill can play safety at the next level.

“I just love his range,” Jeremiah said. “I just like his ability to play in the middle of the field, to range around, and make a bunch of plays that way. … I think pure free safeties are hard to find right now, that can play over the top, and that’s where I’d put him.”

Tony Pauline, publisher of NFLdraftanalyst.com listed Thornhill as his fastest rising safety going into the draft, in part because of an eye opening showing at the NFL combine. He ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash to go with his 44-inch vertical jump and 11-foot, 9-inch broad jump.

More big news out of Virginia Cavaliers men’s basketball yesterday, as sophomore guard Marco Anthony announced that he would enter the NCAA transfer portal, while junior guard Kyle Guy, who said last week that he would at least try out the professional waters, fully committed to the NBA Draft. We also found out more news about the team’s schedule next season, learning that UVA will play Vermont and UMass as a part of the Mohegan Sun’s Hall-of-Fame Classic tournament.

Check out some of the highlights from Juan Thornhill’s incredible career at UVA below. Also be sure to tune into the NFL Draft, which starts on Thursday, and Streaking The Lawn for updated coverage on where the star safety will be heading.

Sophomore Will Rock, who caused four turnovers and picked up six ground balls in the team’s wins over VMI and Marist last week, earned ACC Defensive Player of the Week for the first time in his career on Monday.

Five-star recruit Johnny Juzang names Kentucky, Virginia among his final schools Reports: Virginia’s Hunter, Jerome, and Guy receive NBA Combine invites WATCH: The heartwarming moments Juan Thornhill and Tim Harris got the call in the NFL Draft Bronco Mendenhall honors Virginia legend George Welsh at Celebration of Life Here is where UVA players have signed after the 2019 NFL Draft Virginia lacrosse moves on to ACC title game with dramatic 14-13 win over North Carolina

Mecole Hardman Jersey

The Chiefs have taken Mecole Hardman, Juan Thornhill and Khalen Saunders. How did the Chiefs do? We discuss the newest team’s newest players.

The Chiefs have made their first three selections of 2019. While it is impossible to know exactly how a player’s NFL career will go based off of their college career, I am going to give my initial take away from the selections of Mecole Hardman, Juan Thornhill, and Khalen Saunders as well as a way-too-early grade, because all draft grades are too early.

My initial take away from the group as a whole is how Brett Veach is approaching this year’s draft. He is not only taking guys that have a high ceiling, but also decently high floors. All three players selected stand little chance of being complete busts, in my opinion. That being said, let us begin with Mecole Hardman.

Why Cowboys Should Draft Mecole Hardman no Matter What

To me, this is the signal for the end of Tyreek Hill‘s career with the Chiefs. I don’t believe that there is any way that Hardman was the Chiefs initial guy going into the draft. When the Tyreek Hill news surfaced, Brett Veach was left with very little choice, but to draft a playmaker for Patrick Mahomes to make up for some of the production that Hill created.

Hardman is a speedy player who can burn people off of the line of scrimmage. His burst is very good and his vision with the ball in his hands is incredible. I like his vertical ability and his ability to track the ball. The Chiefs are blessed with more speed for the offense and for special teams.

Mecole Hardman has a pretty small frame and may have a smaller catch radius. Also part of his size, his downfield physicality is not great. For players that at the top of the league, being able to box out defenders and use their body to their advantage. This is where the he could use a bit of improvement.

Again, it is way too early to know how Hardman will play in the NFL; However, his talent is not as high as many of the receivers that went in round two, in my opinion. While his playmaking ability is incredible and he has been gifted with top-notch speed, he will need to improve in several parts of his game to be a true number one receiver in the NFL.

If authentic, the audio cut of Hill and his girlfriend would be quite damning to his case with the NFL, which has a track record for conducting detailed investigations in the matters of child and/or spousal abuse.

And the notion of Hill potentially lying to police authorities may be grounds for an unprecedented suspension, if not a lifetime ban with the NFL.

Which brings us back to Hardman: the lightning-fast wideout enjoyed a breakout season last year, rolling for 35 catches, 543 yards and eight total touchdowns.

Interestingly, Hardman’s athletic skill set compares favorably to that of Hill; and whether fair or not, those tie-ins will become even more prevalent, if Hardman gets vaulted into a starting role in Year 1.

Bottom line: the pressure’s on for the player (Hardman) who just joined a franchise with sky-high hopes of making the Super Bowl in 2020.

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid talks about how WR Mecole Hardman of Georgia and Virginia DB Juan Thornhill, the team’s first two 2019 NFL Draft picks, will fit in and help the team.

Mecole Hardman is around the same size as many of the NFL’s leading receivers including Antonio Brown, Stefon Diggs, Tyreek Hill, T.Y. Hilton, Brandin Cooks and Odell Beckham Jr. His size, speed, and quickness would present problems for bigger corners.

Hardman was a high-school quarterback, and is still learning the receiver position. With that being considered, his ceiling is considerably higher as a pro than in college. He managed to find the end zone once every 4.6 plays, scoring 13 touchdowns on only 60 touches. He also managed 1,467 return yards on only 74 returns.

Mecole would be valuable in the Ravens’ offense, and would be able to take the top off, consistently winning 1-on-1 on the outside or in the slot. If the box is stacked, Hardman will score at a freakishly high rate if Lamar Jackson is able to get the ball in his hands deep.

Greg Roman would love to have him for jet sweeps/screens which are a prominent feature in his offensive game plan. Many pundits predict that Mecole will be available in the third round.

University of Georgia playmakers have excelled at the NFL level, and Hardman should follow suit. He projects somewhere between Seattle Seahawks’ Tyler Lockett and Kansas City Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill. If the Ravens are able to secure Hardman with the 85th pick, they won’t regret it.

Cameron Erving Jersey

That being said, Garrett Bradbury is a rare talent at the center position and if he’s still on the board at pick 29, it might be tough to go a different route.

Yes, the Chiefs need to focus heavily on defense, but they shouldn’t reach on a guy if they don’t have to. Picking Bradbury 29th overall wouldn’t be reaching at all. He spent time playing left guard as well during his time at NC State and that just so happens to be a position that isn’t shored up in Kansas City.

Cameron Erving is a fine player, but he’s a better backup. When given extensive work as a starter, he struggled a bit, so maybe Bradbury could be the starting left guard until Reiter’s contract is either up or he struggles enough that he’s removed as the starting center.

Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach spent last offseason adding developmental pieces along the interior of the offensive line last season, anticipating the loss of Mitch Morse.

It wasn’t an accident that the Chiefs extended contracts for Cameron Erving and Austin Reiter before the 2018 season and signed Jimmy Murray and Ryan Hunter after the draft.

Kansas City has provided ample time for two other guards Andrew Wylie and Kahlil McKenzie to develop.

While interior offensive line may not be a pressing need, there will be opportunities to address depth at those spots if the Chiefs elect to upgrade at left guard or center. Some of my favorite prospects are detailed below:

Because of his arm length (33⅝”), some teams may view Alabama’s Jonah Williams as an interior lineman instead of an offensive tackle. This is what happened to 2015 first-round pick Cameron Erving (34⅛” arms), who played left tackle at Florida State but has settled in at guard for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Now, Williams is a more polished technician than Erving was as a prospect, but his ability to overpower defenders at the point of attack is similar.

“Draft him, put him at OT or OG, he will block the player in front of him,” former NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz tweeted of Williams. “That’s what matters.”

The fact that Erving didn’t pan out with the Cleveland Browns shouldn’t make this a scary comparison. He’s become a terrific fit for the Chiefs, as he’s a reliable starter at guard who can fill in at tackle if needed.

They picked up 2011 first-rounder Phil Taylor’s, but cut him before the start of the 2015 season. The players they did not pick up the options for include: Trent Richardson (2012), Brandon Weeden (2012), Barkevious Mingo (2013), Justin Gilbert (2014), Johnny Manziel (2014), Danny Shelton (2015), and Cameron Erving (2015). They won’t exercise 2016 first-rounder Corey Coleman‘s either, since he’s on the Giants roster now. The streak should end when it’s time to do business with 2017 first-rounder Myles Garrett.

Blowing that many premium picks is an easy way to prevent your team from being good for years to come.

The Seahawks are 0-for-2 over the same span, since they so often trade down and out of the first round.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Panthers, Texans, and Chargers are a clean 5-for-5 through the 2015 draft class, while the Falcons are 4-for-4.

We’ll continue with the fifth round, where the Chiefs currently own one pick in this year’s draft (No. 167 overall). There have been several notable players taken with that exact selection in NFL history, including Minnesota Vikings’ defensive back Bobby Bryant (No. 167 in 1967) and Miami Dolphins’ two-time All-Pro punter Reggie Roby (No. 167 in 1983).

Kansas City didn’t pick in the fifth round last year, instead choosing to trade their selection to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for offensive lineman Cameron Erving.

Reggie Ragland Jersey

As part of the Clark trade, the Chiefs swapped their original third-round pick (92nd overall) for the Seahawks’ 84th. However, Kansas City doesn’t own a fourth-round pick because of a 2017 trade to acquire Buffalo Bills LB Reggie Ragland.

With that third-round pick from Seattle, Penn State CB Amani Oruwariye would represent great value. Though he lacks elite speed, the 6-2, 205 pounder is a physical press cornerback. He was an All-Big Ten performer last season while breaking up 12 passes (to lead Penn State) and recording three interceptions and 51 tackles.

Though the obvious needs are on the defensive side, head coach Andy Reid loves drafting offensive linemen, which he did early and often with the Philadelphia Eagles.

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With C Mitch Morse having signed a four-year, $44.5 million deal, including $26.175 million guaranteed, with the Buffalo Bills, that position could also be bolstered.

Ohio State C/G Michael Jordan would have great value in the third or fifth round.

He won’t go on to have the career his namesake had in basketball, but the football version has a great frame at 6-6 and 312 pounds. Experienced and durable, Jordan impressively started every game for the Buckeyes during the last three seasons.

Alabama has had inside linebackers selected early in each of the last three drafts. Reggie Ragland went 41st overall in 2016, Reuben Foster slid to 31st in 2017, and Rashaan Evans went 21st in 2018. As such, like with other positions in Bama’s defense, younger players have to wait their turn to get on the field.

As a freshman in 2016, Wilson’s impact was mainly felt on special teams, where he produced a lot of big hits on kick coverage. When he got his chance to start in 2017, he responded by intercepting four passes. In 2018, he had two picks, and was an enforcer at times (but a shaky tackler at other times) in the middle of Bama’s imposing defense.

On Thursday, Bleacher Report revealed their selections for the worst player of the 2018 season for each NFL team. To no surprise, their choice for the Kansas City Chiefs went to someone on defense, with the unlucky recipient being linebacker Reggie Ragland.

Ragland has 80 tackles and 0.5 sacks this season for the Chiefs in 15 games. He’s currently not the lowest-rated starting player on the Chiefs defense at Pro Football Focus (that dubious distinction goes to linebacker Anthony Hitchens, who ranks as the number 89 linebacker in the NFL to Ragland’s 77), but Bleacher Report made Ragland the choice while criticizing his tackling and pass coverage.

“Ragland is a big part of why the Chiefs are easy to attack in the middle of the field,” wrote Kristopher Knox of B/R. “Many of his tackles have come as he’s chasing ball-carriers. Browns and Colts fans who watched D’Qwell Jackson rack up stats in his heyday can relate. The former Alabama standout misses far too many open-field tackles, and he’s a liability in pass coverage as well. He’s a big reason why Kansas City’s defense could cost the team in the postseason.”

The Chiefs acquired Ragland in a preseason trade with the Buffalo Bills in 2017 after he missed his entire rookie season with a torn ACL. He worked his way into the starting lineup last season and had enough good moments to create a strong level of optimism for his prospects in 2018. That optimism was spurred in part by Ragland seemingly having his injury problems in the past.

“I’m very comfortable now,” Ragland told reporters in April. “Offseason workouts, I did a lot of stuff as far as explosiveness and I feel like I’m getting my explosiveness back. As far as the defense, I feel like I’m more comfortable now. The verbiage, I’m spitting it out in the meetings and everything, so I’m very comfortable.”

Ragland’s path took a temporary detour in July when he was sidelined for multiple weeks after swelling flared up in his knee. He returned to action in August and was healthy enough by the opening of the season to be back in the starting lineup. He’s gone on to play 546 snaps this year (49.10 percent) and racked up a season-high ten tackles in Kansas City’s loss at Seattle in Week 16.

The title of worst Chiefs player this season is one that’s up for debate (if it’s even a debate worth having), but perhaps Ragland is among those who hasn’t flashed as much as some thought he would coming into 2018. If Ragland’s showing this season does deserve the type of criticism Bleacher Report gave, he’s certainly not alone — there’s more than enough to go around for a defense that heads into the final week ranking second-to-last in the league in yards allowed per game.