By the time the NFL Draft ended May 2, Pittsburg State cornerback De’Vante Bausby had already heard from a handful of teams — including the Chiefs and 49ers — who were interested in landing him as a priority free agent.
But it didn’t take him long to decide where he wanted to sign.
“When I didn’t get drafted, I probably made the decision two minutes after the draft,” said Bausby, a Kansas City native and Hogan Prep graduate.
“It was Kansas City Chiefs all day … I just felt like the opportunity here was better, (it’s) home, and even though I’m not in the organization, (by) me watching it all my life, I feel like I was kind of a part of it already.”
Bausby made his first strides as a participant in the Chiefs first day of rookie minicamp.
Plus, the football fit was solid. When Bausby — who racked up 47 tackles, four interceptions and nine pass deflections in 13 games in 2014 — visited the Chiefs prior to the draft, he immediately formed a connection with secondary coaches Emmitt Thomas and Al Harris.
“That (visit) definitely had something to do with (my decision), because I got to meet the coaching staff, and I fell in love with Coach Al and Coach Thomas,” Bausby said.
The interest, however, was mutual. At 6 feet 2 and 180 pounds with 31 1/4-inch arms, Bausby — a three-year starter in college — possesses solid size and length to play in a press-man scheme like the Chiefs have.
And when he also ran a blistering time at the Chiefs’ local pro day on April 10, Bausby really opened the eyes of the team's staff.
“We thought he was going to come here if he didn’t get drafted,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “We thought we’d have a pretty good shot at it.
“He’s a huge Chiefs fan, and we noticed that during our workout here for the locals. Then he comes in and cranks out like a 4.35 and does the drills well, so we said, ‘Come out, we’ll give you a shot here and see what you can do.’ So he’s doing it, he’s having an opportunity.”
Bausby estimates he played press-man probably 70 percent of the time in college, but he says his ability to drive on the football on the short routes in front of him while playing in off-man coverage shouldn’t be underestimated, either.
“A lot of people say that’s my strength,” said Bausby, who played on the boundary (or short side of the field) as a senior, where teams typically stick their best corners. “When the ball’s in front of me, they say I’m better at that. But I feel like I’m better at my press technique. I’ll show everybody soon.”
Bausby started that process on Saturday, particularly on the final play of practice, when he timed his jump perfectly to break up a pass intended for 6-foot-4 receiver Kenny Cook downfield.
“He’s an energetic kid, if you ever have a chance to talk to him,” Reid said. “He’s got a nice personality to him. He’s a smart kid ... a pretty sharp kid.”
One who couldn't be happier to have a shot at playing for his hometown team, just one week after graduating from Pitt State with a degree in business marketing.
“Everybody says ‘Welcome to Chiefs Kingdom,’ ” Bausby said. “Little do they know I’ve been in the Chiefs Kingdom all my life.”
He certainly isn’t the only member of his family who can say the same. When Bausby made the decision to sign with the Chiefs after the draft, he couldn’t wait to tell his father and uncle — whom he credits for instilling his love for football in him — about it.
“I think I sent them text messages, and a little bit after that, I got to talk to them and they were going crazy,” Bausby said. “They were in Vegas for (the) Mayweather (fight), so they were in Vegas going crazy, hollering on the phone or whatever.
“My uncle, my pops, they’re crazy. They were more happy than me.”
Bausby hopes he does well enough to ensure that his family members will get a chance to come see him don the red-and-gold, first during training camp in St. Joseph, and hopefully longer.
“Definitely, my people are gonna come,” Bausby said. “Lots of people don’t get this opportunity, coming from where I’m from, so it’s definitely a blessing, and I’m gonna take advantage of it.”