Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach took questions after the team’s 53-man roster cutdown on Saturday, and when asked about who was a “surprise” or “revelation” during training camp, Veach mentioned five players by name.
LB Jeremiah Attaochu
VEACH: “Attaochu really played his tail off that last game and he was a guy that we had some different dialogue with. A 3-4 outside linebacker and a defensive end, I think he was a guy that really played his tail off in that last game and it was really hard to argue with the production he had.”
Attaochu certainly played his heart out in the Chiefs’ fourth preseason game, tallying a team-leading eight combined tackles, 2.0 sacks, three quarterback hits and two tackles for loss.
RB/WR Tremon Smith
VEACH: “Tremon was a guy who certainly did a great job for us last year on special teams in the return game. He really did a nice job now on the coverage units. When you talk about guys that make the final 53, we also play the game of who will be active on game day and how will they help us. So, with Tremon playing corner, he plays some running back, he plays some wideout, but really where he stood out for us, and I always say this, his special teams play was really good for us last year. Looking forward, even early on, De’Anthony is suspended the first game and really De’Anthony and Tremon have been the highest graded at our gunner position. Given his versatility and the fact he does so much for us on teams, it made more sense for us right now to keep him on the roster and play with the guys that will help us in Jacksonville.”
The Chiefs just weren’t ready to give up on the former sixth-rounder, moving him from cornerback to running back, then working him as a wide receiver before the preseason broke. When you are only allowed 53 players on a roster, doing as many things as Smith does helps — and it led him to making the team. With the way Veach spoke, however, it is worth wondering what happens when Thomas comes back from suspension in Week 2.
RB Darwin Thompson
VEACH: “I think the play of Darwin Thompson, a small school running back, we knew that he would be guy like Darrel Williams was last year, that we knew we were going to have on the roster, but I think his ability to really grasp everything so quickly and move up the depth chart was certainly a pleasant surprise.”
The Chiefs knew Thompson had upside, but just how soon he managed to show it shocked the Chiefs in a very good way. Thompson will start the season as the Chiefs’ second running back and could push for starting snaps by the end of the season.
OL Ryan Hunter
VEACH: “Ryan Hunter was a guy who was on our practice squad last year and he really came on strong too. He also showed that he can play center and guard and handle the mental reps at both positions... I think Hunter’s development from last year, a practice squad guy, and now being on the active roster, was a pleasant surprise.”
The Chiefs have always liked Ryan Hunter, even going as far to give him first-team left guard reps last offseason. Versatility was once again the key here, and when the Chiefs decided to opt out on Kahlil McKenzie, a spot was open for Hunter to make the roster.
DL Joey Ivie
VEACH: “Ivie, I think, had a really good camp. Some of these guys, we weren’t sure that they were going to make the final cut, but guys like Joey Ivie and Hunter, Attaochu’s last game, Tremon Smith and the play of Darwin Thompson were all really pleasant surprises.”
Ivie did enough to beat Justin Hamilton for a roster spot, and what made it more amazing is that he did it while not always being able to get out of his dorm room in St. Joe.