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The Chiefs and NFL by beat writers Randy Covitz and Terez Paylor

Chiefs rookie Laurent Duvernay-Tardif adjusts to NFL

07/21/2014 2:27 PM

07/21/2014 2:27 PM

Rookie offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif seems to understand that he has quite an adjustment ahead of him his rookie year.

Not only is Duvernay-Tardif, a sixth-round pick, adjusting to the American game after his spending his college career at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, he’s also adjusting to a new position — guard.

During organized team activities, Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Duvernay-Tardif, a tackle in college, looked more natural at the guard position and will learn how to play both during camp.

“I’m enjoying practicing at guard,” said Duvernay-Tardif. “You don’t have that much space, so you have to take smaller steps. You have to be able to have a good punch; you don’t want to have to grab them. You want to be able to punch well.”

At 6 feet 5 and 315 pounds, Duvernay-Tardif caught the attention of the Chiefs’ front office with his size and strength (33 bench-press reps) before the draft.

However, he knows he still needs to make some physical improvements if he wants to cut it in the NFL.

“Upperbody-wise, I think I’m pretty strong,” Duvernay-Tardif said. “I have good quads and good balance. I think I need to work on cardio and getting used to the heat — it’s not like it is down in Montreal. I need to get used to that, and I’ve been working on that over the last few weeks. I think I’m ready for camp now.”

The Chiefs won’t don pads until later in the week, but Duvernay-Tardif is still excited to see how he stacks up when it’s time to hit.

“Oh yeah, we have probably one of the best defensive lines in the league,” he said. “So for sure, I’m super excited to go against those guys. So far, we’ve only been practicing in helmets, so to be able to go in full pads, full throttle is going to be a great experience.”

Duvernay-Tardif then chuckled when asked if he’s ever gone against anyone comparable to the likes of 340-pound nose tackle Dontari Poe, someone he will see quite often if he indeed makes the team as a reserve.

“No, never,” he said. “No, I don’t think so.”

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to tpaylor@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/TerezPaylor.

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