The Kansas City Chiefs begin Phase 3 of the offseason workout program with Organized Team Activities (OTAs) starting on Wednesday, May 25. This will be the first of three groups of OTA practice sessions. In total, there will be 10 individual OTA practices during the course of Phase 3.
While the players won’t be putting on pads quite yet, they’ll be getting back to team drills, which is a big step forward in offseason workouts. It’s basically the most extensive football work for the full team since the end of the 2021 NFL season.
Here are six things to keep an eye on with OTAs about to begin for the Chiefs:
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It’s always important to take a look at the health of the roster when they all gather for the first time. There are at least two players coming off of injury who are not expected to participate in OTAs.
RT Lucas Niang is dealing with a torn patellar tendon suffered last season. Brett Veach says the earliest he’ll be ready to go is at the end of training camp.
CB Rashad Fenton is recovering from shoulder surgery. Brett Veach expects Fenton will be ready to go for training camp.
One player the Chiefs could get back as early as Wednesday is TE Jody Fortson. He suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in Week 6 of last season. Andy Reid said there was a chance that they’d get Fortson back for Phase 3 workouts.
Some other players to look out for include two in the rookie class, in Bryan Cook and Skyy Moore. Both had injuries that limited them during rookie minicamp, but the expectation was that they’d be healthy for OTAs. Second-year WR Cornell Powell also dealt with a hamstring injury at that minicamp.
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OTAs are voluntary and it’s possible that some players simply won’t show up. Most of the time, those are players who are dealing with contract-oriented grievances and don’t want to risk injury until they’ve signed a new deal.
When the Chiefs placed the franchise tag on Chris Jones a few years ago, he stayed away from voluntary workouts and it paid off for him. He eventually got his long-term deal in July. Orlando Brown Jr.’s situation is slightly different, but he’s someone that we could see staying away from OTAs initially because of his desire for a long-term contract extension.
Will there be any other contract-related holdouts for Kansas City? That would surprise me, but all the players from the 2019 NFL draft are in a contract year, so it bears monitoring.
Next week, I’d expect Patrick Mahomes to potentially miss an OTA practice or two being that he has ‘The Match’ with Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. It’s really not uncommon for star players to come and go as they please during voluntary workouts.
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
The Chiefs added 10 rookies in the 2022 NFL draft and have 11 undrafted free agent rookies on their 90-man offseason roster. All these players will get an opportunity to really get on the field and play with the veterans for the first time during OTA practices. We’ll get to see exactly where they fit in the grand scheme of the roster in Kansas City.
There are already expectations that the team’s two first-round picks, Trent McDuffie and George Karlaftis, will step in as Day 1 starters. Will any of the other rookies be able to step up and make contributions early on, though? Receivers Skyy Moore and Justyn Ross seem to be a good bet. Where will some of the late Day 2 and Day 3 picks fit in? Could Bryan Cook earn a starting role? How far along are players like Joshua Williams and Jaylen Watson. Where will Isiah Pacheco fit in the running back rotation for Kansas City? Will Leo Chenal be working at SAM linebacker now that the veterans are in the building?
There are really just an endless number of questions about this rookie class and we’ll begin getting some answers with OTAs.
AP Photo/Terrance Williams
The 2021 NFL draft class has been hailed as one of Brett Veach’s best. Veach landed two starters on the offensive line (Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith) without having a first-round draft pick. He also got Nick Bolton, who looks to be the team’s MIKE linebacker of the future. How will those players fair during their second season with the team?
What about the players who didn’t really have standout rookie campaigns with Kansas City, such as Joshua Kaindoh, Noah Gray and Cornell Powell? Will any of those players rise to the occasion and claim a bigger role for themselves in 2022? Powell will be clawing for a roster spot after not making the team in 2021. Gray had big expectations, but he didn’t really seem to meet those in his rookie year. Kaindoh is a virtual unknown after appearing in just a few games and dealing with an injury in 2021.
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One of the biggest question marks on the offensive side of the ball is the starting right tackle position. With Lucas Niang sidelined until late training camp, we’d guess that Andrew Wylie would get the nod at right tackle initially. The veteran started most of the season at right tackle last year and he didn’t do a bad job against even some of the toughest competition.
A wild card for early snaps at the right tackle spot is rookie OT Darian Kinnard. He has been receiving some hype as a steal in the 2022 NFL draft, along the same lines as Trey Smith last season. There are also a number of other offensive linemen who could surprise and claim that right tackle spot.
Reporters aren’t allowed to shed insight on starters and specific alignments during practice, so you might have to do some detective work to get this information. We’ll certainly scour the team’s photo gallery for some information on who gets the nod at right tackle during 11-on-11 drills.
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The wide receiver position might be the most competitive on the roster in Kansas City. It’s certainly one of the most interesting following the departure of star receiver Tyreek Hill. We can expect players like Mecole Hardman, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling to get a ton of work with the first-team offense. Outside of those three players, it’s really a toss-up when it comes to who gets the first-team snaps. Skyy Moore, Josh Gordon, Corey Coleman, Daurice Fountain, Cornell Powell and Justyn Ross are just a few of the players that fans should be paying close attention to here.
Don’t count out one of Gary Jennings, Omar Bayless, Justin Watson or Mathew Sexton surprising and getting some looks with the first team. Remember, if the team does carry six receivers on the 53-man roster, special teams could play a big role in that last spot.
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