The practice squad's importance has grown over this particular summer. Over the years it's formed a tandem along with NFL Europe as a legitimate place to store your long-term projects and young, possible stars of tomorrow. Now that NFL Europe is no more, that makes the allotted 8 available slots on an NFL's practice squad all the more important.
The practice squad, for anybody unfamiliar with it, is a way to keep players on your team without actually keeping them on your team... It ensures that whoever's on it stays with the organization even though the player couldn't make the 53-man team. Without the practice squad, any other team with enough curiousity and a roster spot to burn can pick up whatever change falls out of your pockets.
Who usually makes it onto the practice squad? Usually rookies who could conceivably make an impact next year and project players who might take a season or two to groom before you eventually determine if they'll do anything. A player can't be on the practice squad for any longer than two seasons, so if you're under the belief that it'll take longer than two years to develop a player, you simply can't afford to keep him.
Enough with the FAQ. Arrowhead Pride, a few days after posting our depth chart prediction for the 53-man team, now breaks down the players most likely to land on the Chiefs practice squad.
After the jump, of course.
1. WR Brad Eckwerekwu -- It's either him or Hannon at this point, but I think Hannon edges him out because Herm's simply been too publicly infatuated with him. Eck is a large possession receiver that's been shrouded in buzz ever since he arrived at Arrowhead. The WR field is too numerous at this point for him to weasil his way onto the squad, but he's a lock to get a shot within the next two years.
2. TE Michael Allan -- I have voiced my disapproval over this draft pick (he was taken with our 7th this year). You should never draft Div III players, ever. The fact we took him with our 7th is especially sad, since there's zero doubt he would have been available as an UDFA. But all told, Allan has the physical characteristics necessary to be a competent NFL TE, but he is incredibly raw and will take at least a year to groom.
3. OT Ramiro Pruneda -- Ladies and gentlemen: the Mexitackle. Pruneda played respectably well at NFLE, where the Chiefs picked him up. He's a massive 6'7", 320 lbs., making him the largest Chief on the roster. He's also notably athletic, and has earned mild praise from KC's own Tim Grunhard. But he has generated no real excitement since his arrival. It's entirely likely that he's got the tools, but he's just too raw and will sit out this season to prepare himself for a roster spot run in 2008.
4. LB William Kershaw -- The Chiefs are deep at a handful of positions this year, but none moreso than linebacker. I believe that of the young guys, Nate Harris will be the sleeper that steals a roster spot, but Kershaw's first on my list after him. He was actually promoted to the 53-man roster at the end of 2006, and while the Chiefs' FA acquisitions made his stay merely temporary, it's likely they'll want to take a shot again in 2007.
5. LB Nick Reid -- The Chiefs brain trust is thrilled with Nick Reid. They enthusiastically snatched him up last year and immediately shipped him to NFL Europe to check out the goods. Reid was nothing short of impressive as the leading defensive force for the 2007 World Bowl team Frankfurt Galaxy. The roster is way too deep at LB this year for a lot of young guys to get a spot, so Reid will have to hold off William Kershaw, Brian Crum, and David Hicks, and I think he's got the talent to do it -- or, he could be the next Rich Scanlon.
6. DT Matt McGlothlin -- Tim Krumrie and the Chiefs love this dude. He made a lot of noise when he signed with Kansas City, due to a story alleging that he passed Krumrie's famous slapfighting with such gusto that he actually knocked Krumrie, a former AFL nosetackle, to the ground. McGlothlin's a short, stocky guy (5'11", 300 lbs.), and allegedly strong as a bull. He also played right alongside the Chiefs' 2nd round pick, Turk McBride, so he's well scouted and the Chiefs would love to keep him around and develop him.
7. RB Marcus O'Keith -- A RB born to be a role player. O'Keith is a project straight out of Cal. This guy's athletic, smart, and like I said, born to be a role player. He's a jack of all trades, but a king of none. Has garnered some attention from Herm in the media, and that's reason enough to believe he'll be sticking around on the 8-man squad. Why O'Keith, and not NFL Europe MVP Derrick Ross? Because if Ross fails to beat out Kolby Smith to be the #3 RB, than the Chiefs will spare themselves from giving him another shot after his impotent play in 2006. Better to try a new guy than hope the old crappy guys somehow improve.
8. WR Titus Ryan -- This is my reach for the day. The rest have been fairly safe picks, but Herm's been verbal about Titus Ryan, a former track star. Only in an unusual twist, Herm wasn't bragging about Ryan -- he was wondering aloud. Herm's historically been nuts about smaller receivers with blazing speed. If there's any chance Ryan can learn to run routes effectively (something he has some experience doing, as he's played some college ball), there's a decent shot he can make this team in the future at one of its thinnest positions.
9. QB Jeff Terrell -- You can only have eight guys on your practice squad, but if there's one guy the Chiefs will try to squeeze onto their practice squad, it'll be a QB. It's smart thinking to always have a QB available anyway. Terrell hasn't shown much in his time as a Chief; he and Swogger were reportedly so poor at rookie camp that Dwayne Bowe kept calling them out for poor passing. Nonetheless, his college experience was at Princeton, so at the very least, he's about as far from a character concern as you get. But as you can imagine, the Ivy League isn't known for churning out NFL caliber QBs with fair regularity, so Terrell's a bit of a reach.