Among the 70 or so who will suit up for Chiefs during three-day rookie minicamp that started Saturday are 17 undrafted free agents.
Longshots, it seems. They weren’t among the 256 players selected in the NFL Draft last month. But all it takes is a glance at last year’s group to know there are roster candidates.
The Chiefs undrafted free agent class numbered 14 in 2018, and the list included linebacker Ben Niemann, who appeared in 14 regular season games and running back Darrel Williams, who scored a playoff touchdown. Others spent time on the practice squad.
Two years ago, wide receivers Gehrig Dieter and Marcus Kemp came to the Chiefs as undrafted free agents. That also was the path of veteran safety Daniel Sorensen.
“Some of these free agents, there are going to be guys that were undrafted who have an opportunity to make the team,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “It happens every year. It doesn’t matter if you’re a priority free agent or not, or a tryout guy. Somehow somebody squeaks in there, catches your eye and you bring him up.”
Quarterback Kyle Shurmur is among the priority free agents. Syracuse wide receiver Jamal Custis reportedly received a $100,000 bonus for signing.
Last week, general manager Brett Veach, when asked about players he was looking forward to seeing, mentioned linebackers Gary Johnson from Texas, Middle Tennessee’s Darius Harris, although Harris is coming off shoulder surgery and not practicing, Washington State running back James Williams, Toledo wide receiver Cody Thompson and Clemson cornerback Mark Fields.
Another player nursing an injury is Princeton’s John Lovett, who is recovering from wrist surgery. Lovett figures to get a long look from the Chiefs after a college career in which he played quarterback but will transition to a tight end/H back.
Also Saturday, the Chiefs announced the signings of four draft picks: Georgia wide receiver Mecole Hardman, taken in the second round, South Carolina cornerback Rashad Fenton and Utah State running back Darwin Thompson, both taken in the sixth round, and seventh-round offensive lineman Nick Allegretti of Illinois.
The other two draft picks are Virginia defensive back Juan Thornhill and Western Illinois defensive lineman Khalen Saunders.
Among the tryout candidates in camp are Kansas State guard Abdul Beecham; running back Josh Caldwell of Lee’s Summit and Northwest Missouri State; and center Alex Fontana and kicker Gabriel Rui of Kansas.
Uniform numbers for the drafted players: Hardman (17), Thornhill (22), Saunders (99), Fenton (27), Thompson (25) and Allegretti (73).
The camp concludes Monday.