We are about a week into KC Chiefs training camp which is enough time to start basing some opinions on how a few of these players are doing. I went through the roster looking for a few of the under-the-radar guys who have jumped out at me.
I found three that really interest me and talked about them after the jump.
1. Brandon Bair, Defensive End
Josh Looney brought him up on the Chop Talk podcast the other day and I talked about him recently with Nick Jacobs of Metro Sports. The guy looks like an NFL player. He was listed last year at 6'7" and 272 pounds and I imagine he's heavier this year.
He's having a solid camp. You know how it goes at defensive end in the 3-4 -- people rarely notice you.
He was an undrafted free agent last year and while he didn't log any stats the Chiefs kept him on the active roster all year long. Think about that. They wanted to keep him so bad that they were willing to burn a roster spot on him all year long. That doesn't happen very often and should tell you what the Chiefs think about him.
2. Jalil Brown, Cornerback
He's not under-the-radar in that fact that you haven't heard of him. You have. Or else you should have (if we were doing our job). Brown was a fourth round pick last year out of Colorado. The "other" Colorado cornerback that year, behind first round pick Jimmy Smith.
Jay Binkley of 610 Sports loves this guy and told GM Scott Pioli in an interview earlier this week that he's the under-the-radar guy that's jumping out at him.
Brown is having a solid camp. I figured his future role was mostly at special teams but the more I keep noticing him on the field during camp the more I realize he's going to have additional roles this year. He's a reserve cornerback and the rest of training camp will sort out exactly what that depth chart looks like but Brown is going to make it tough on Romeo Crennel.
He seems like a smart player, does well on special teams and is making a nice little leap from year one to year two. He could be an important role player outside of special teams, perhaps even this year.
One of the things I like to see in a player is a pattern of improvement. Do you make a big leap from year one to year two, or year two to year three? Keeping the status quo makes the decision easy on the Chiefs. Showing consistent improvement keeps you on the roster.
3. Cameron Sheffield, Outside Linebacker
Remember him? The Chiefs spent a fifth round pick on him in the 2010 draft and then he suffered a season-ending (scary) neck injury that preseason. His rookie year was wasted and as a result we kinda brushed him aside as the lockout hit the following year and a new group of rookies came in.
Sheffield was one of the first guys I noticed in camp this year. He seems, maybe it's not bigger, but more cut. Like he's stayed in really good shape.
Sheffield may not be a starter. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee you he won't be and I can't even say confidently that he'll make the team. He's behind Tamba Hali and Justin Houston at outside linebacker. But there's still a role to be had, a reserve pass rusher in case something happens to the starters.