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The Chiefs’ Keondre Coburn is accustomed to being judged incorrectly

Kansas City’s sixth-round selection spoke from the team’s rookie minicamp on Sunday.

NFL Combine Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

For rookie defensive tackle Keondre Coburn — selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the sixth round of last weekend’s NFL Draft — playing with elite talent is nothing new.

As a sophomore at Westfield High School near Houston — one of the top 6A programs in Texas — the future Texas Longhorn lined up next to now-Buffalo Bills defensive lineman Ed Oliver, the ninth selection of the 2019 draft from the University of Houston.

“Me and Ed both played at Westfield together,” Coburn recalled as he addressed reporters at the Chiefs’ rookie minicamp on Sunday. “When I was a sophomore, he was a senior. We both played right next to each other. I kind of had fun that year when they would double-team Ed and I was getting the one-on-ones — then they realized I was good and they started double-teaming both of us.”

Now weighing over 330 pounds, Coburn continues to enjoy proving doubters wrong about how athletic he can be.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 08 AT&T Red River Showdown - Texas vs Oklahoma Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“Since I was a kid,” he explained, “I knew that I could move at my size. Some people look at you and be like, ‘He ain’t going to be able to get there.’

“Then I get there, and they be surprised.

“I’m not surprised — but they are. It’s funny when I get on the field and they just judge a book by its cover. It feels good right now that I can run.”

A rookie practice without pads in May is not likely to be Coburn’s best opportunity to show what he can bring to the defensive line room. The value this weekend will be in helping with his transition to the team.

“I wanted to get the little nervousness out of the room right now,” Coburn said of his weekend goal. “Like I’ve never been out here. Never been to the stadium, never been to the facility, things like that. So just kind of getting used to it. Getting my mind ready to wake up here, working out here, running here, drinking here, eating here — things like that.

“It kind of feels good being here right now. Also knowing the playbook — you get a little head start right now. Especially [since] I’m a rookie. I’m just coming in. I don’t know nothing that’s here right now. Meeting the coaches — meeting, really, all the staff around this amazing facility.”

Though he lasted until the sixth round, most draft analysts considered Coburn a high-floor selection due to his long career at Texas. Though he could have entered the draft earlier, he believes the Chiefs will benefit from the fifth year he spent in Austin.

“I learned the game a little better — actually a lot better,” he claimed of his extended time with the Longhorns. “I learned [to understand] formations — reading offenses and understanding what’s happening if they’re running this way or running that way when a back is in different stances. I understand defenses better, too.”

He recognizes, however, that as a rookie, he cannot rest on prior accomplishments.

“I’m not going to say I’m good at anything,” Coburn declared, “because there’s always something you can work on. I can get better at a lot of things. I can get better still at reading defenses and understanding what offenses are doing — because every game plan’s going to be different. I just feel like I got better as a football player in the head — and outside of football with my body.”

Echoing sentiments from Kansas City’s other rookies, the first thing he will work on is adjusting to the Chiefs’ terminology.

“Some of the defenses are kind of the same,” he observed of Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s schemes. “It’s how they word it [and] how they say it. I have to learn the lingo here from what it was at Texas. That’s the different part right there.”

This weekend has also been a crash course in working with his new position coach.

Valero Alamo Bowl - Washington v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

“First off, you’ve got to know what you’re doing,” he said of Chiefs defensive line coach Joe Cullen. “I’ve got to get the playbook to where I understand what I’m doing — so I can play fast. That’s one thing he wants you to do is play fast and run to the ball at all times. Just move. Don’t be on the field and do nothing. Pretty much, you’ve got to do something at all times.”

Getting to the ball should allow Coburn to help the Chiefs in their quest to repeat as Super Bowl champions. He recognizes, however, that having his name written on a slip of paper in April is only the beginning of this journey.

“I’m here to do whatever they need me to do,” the rookie stated. “I feel like I can help in so many ways. If they need me to sit here and play this gap, the best way I can, I’m going to do it. If they need me to pass-rush this person or get to the quarterback on this play, I’m going to give it everything I have.

“Right now, I need to know the plays. I need to earn a spot. I need to earn a chance to even do that. Right now, I’m just trying to get in and get everything right so they can trust me.”

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