One of the more curious names to attend the Chiefs' mini-camp this weekend is New Hampshire QB Ricky Santos. He was on his fair share of sleeper lists before the draft but ultimately wasn't picked by any team. He signed as an undrafted free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs, presumably because he saw potential to make the team with our current crop of quarterbacks. In fact, that's almost exactly what Santos' agent Brad Blank said about coming to the Chiefs:
"We picked a place where the players he's competing against (for the third spot) don't have as strong a pedigree," Blank said. "His chances are as good as the other two guys'."
New Hampshire is a I-AA school, so Santos' competition level in college was relatively weak compared to any D-I school. He was the 2006 Walter Payton Award winner, which is given to the top I-AA offensive player. Past winners include Tony Romo, Brian Westbrook, Steve McNair and Dave Meggett.
The knocks on Santos are familiar - his smaller size, the prolific passing system he played in and his lack of "legitimate" competition. He's describe, in very sports cliche terms, as a guy "who makes plays".
What catches my eye is that rather nice TD to INT ratio.
Santos is also often described as being a small quarterback, even though he has almost identical stats as current Chiefs' QB Brodie Croyle. Both are just over six feet tall and right around 200 lbs.
Santos seems to have been surrounded by doubters ever since high school and he seems to thrive on that. The Chiefs starting QB will be Brodie Croyle this season. But that doesn't mean Santos is automatically out of the mix. I suppose he has an outside shot to beat out Tyler Thigpen for the #3 spot on the QB depth chart but I doubt it. Herm Edwards has openly spoken of his affection for Thigpen, ever since the Chiefs scrimmaged the Vikings last preseason. The Chiefs snatched Thigpen off of the waiver wire and put him on the active roster to guard against other teams from signing him.
At the very least, the Chiefs have an underdog story to add to their rather bland QB narrative. I have to say the last Walter Payton Award winner to play in the NFL, Tony Romo, isn't doing too bad for himself.
Don't expect Santos to make the Chiefs squad but his name may pop up here and there on various practice squads or as a #3 guy somewhere.