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2011 Senior Bowl: Chiefs Checking Out Iowa DT Christian Ballard

As some of you long time readers know, we track all the reported contact between the Kansas City Chiefs and players entering the 2011 NFL draft. Sometimes that's something minor like a simple meeting at the Senior Bowl this week, which the Chiefs will do with a ton of players, and other times it's more significant like a private workout.

Anyway, our first draft interest is Iowa DT Christian Ballard. Matt Bowen of National Football Post reports the Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings met with him last night at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL and the New England Patriots will meet with him today.

Ballard comes in at 6'4" and 288 pounds and we know how GM Scott Pioli likes Iowa players coached by his friend, Kirk Ferentz. Here's what Wes Bunting of National Football Post (who has tons of Senior Bowl info) had to say about Ballard:

He's a tall, long armed kid with a good initial first step, extend his arms well and can create some leverage for himself off the snap. However, if his initial bull rush is stalled he allows his pad level to pop up quickly, gets hung up too easily through contact and doesn't use his hands well enough to cleanly disengage. He looks more like a DE only who has the length and anchor strength to play the run with some consistency as well as the range to track the football in pursuit. But overall he's not a real natural pass rusher at this stage.

He's projected as a 2nd-3rd round pick, though those projections obviously aren't set in stone.

I know we've got some Iowa Hawkeyes fans out there. Tell us, Iowa fans, what's your impression of Ballard?

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