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Kansas City Kids To Keep An Eye On

By Jordan Smith



Nico Johnson could help bring a championship demeanor to the Chiefs defense
Nico Johnson could help bring a championship demeanor to the Chiefs defense

Building through the draft is the most effective means of rising through the NFL's ranks.

The Chiefs drafts have been up and down in the last decade, but a new regime and coaching staff means new (and probably better) perspectives. These rookies have a chance to make some noise this year.

Eric Fisher

Fisher is the most obvious choice, and with good reason. No. 1 picks are expected to contribute immediately. Fisher will be an immediate upgrade in pass protection over the departed Eric Winston. Alex Smith is solid quarterback, but he can be good or even great if he is given elite pass protection. Fisher is known for his nastiness in the run game, something that will pair fantastically with Jon Asamoah on the right side of the line.

Nico Johnson

Outside of Fisher, I believe Johnson is the odds-on favorite to make an immediate impact. Johnson is primarily a two-down player, but the Chiefs sorely missed that kind of player after the passing of Jovan Belcher. Akeem Jordan is currently penciled in as the Chiefs starter at inside linebacker next to Derrick Johnson. The Chiefs have brought in several other largely unknown names at linebacker in the offseason, and the competition for the starting spot will likely be the talk of training camp. The Chiefs run defense was atrocious last year, and if Johnson can contribute to that in any way, he'd be a fourth-round success. The Chiefs could benefit greatly from a Johnson and Johnson pairing. 

Knile Davis

Davis is something of an enigma. He may have had the greatest size and speed combination (227 pounds with a 4.37 40 time) of any back to come out of this draft, but he also has some alarming issues. Davis has a laundry list of injuries that affected him over his college career, including a dislocated ankle that caused him to miss all of the 2011 season. Davis didn't appear to have the same lateral movement after coming back from the injury. He also puts the ball on the ground at alarmingly high rates. He has a 3.4 percent career fumble rate, and this past year he put the let the ball hit the carpet eight times in only 123 touches. If he can fix the fumbling issues and stay on the field, then Davis could be an outstanding complement to Jamaal Charles. Davis has shown the ability to hold up in pass protection, and is an obvious candidate for short yardage work.

Undrafted rookies that may stick around:

Rico Richardson, WR, Jackson State University

Rico Measures in at just about 6-0, 170. He won the SWAC Offensive Player of the Year award. He ran a 4.38 in his 40 yard dash, and really impressed during his Jackson State pro days. The Chiefs are low on depth at wide receiver, and don't have a reliable field-stretching option. Richardson is as dedicated a football player as they come, and has always managed to make good impressions on coaches and scouts alike. Guys with this much ability and workmanship rarely go unnoticed, and I think he stands a good chance of not only making the team but making some impressive plays this season.