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Insider Blog: Searching For Gold

Posted Apr 25, 2010

The hunt is on as the Chiefs scour the list of available undrafted players

The two men at the top of the Chiefs football operations staff left Arrowhead feeling good about how their three-day player acquisitions period ended. In the end, GM Scott Pioli and head coach Todd Haley felt like the Chiefs got faster, created competition and addressed positions of need.

“I think we continued to work on the makeup of the football team and I think we got better,” Pioli said. “Every single player that we drafted this year, we think has a chance to keep for a role on the football field, this year and or in the future.”

Pioli and Haley sat down and fielded questions to recap their 2010 NFL Draft for nearly a half-hour as the seventh round concluded early Saturday evening. But as the clock kept ticking the window to acquire even more talent was closing. Eventually, Pioli had to ask for only one more final question.

“I’m sorry we have to cut this off, but we’re falling behind on the recruiting aspect of things,” Pioli referenced at the end of the press conference.

There is still a pool of talented players sitting out there that need to be contacted.

Finding rookie players doesn’t end at the conclusion of round seven. In fact, many of the league’s undrafted targets are contacted before the draft even concludes. Sometimes the player is picked and sometimes the player is not, but most everyone on the bubble is getting a call from a team representative with a sales pitch.

For the Chiefs, Pioli and Co. are trying to find a diamond in the rough.

The 48-72 hours that immediately follow the draft are some of the most interesting of the off-season. This is the time the fan favorites are made. Everyone loves an underdog and everyone loves a local kid; sometime the two mix together and form a successful undrafted free agent - just ask Ryan Lilja.

Pioli indicated that he expects the Chiefs to sign somewhere between 10-15 undrafted players for spring and summer practices. A couple of those players will go on to make the team as head-turners in July and August. Last year, Maine’s Jovan Belcher was a key member of the Chiefs special teams and situational defensive packages; he was also a college free agent.

Though most are long-shots to make the team, a couple of rookies who sign just hours following the draft end up making the team. Even further down the line there are also undrafted rookies who will go on to get a camp invite and sometimes even make the team following a rookie tryout – these players might join rosters even later in the spring.

Currently, 30 Chiefs entered the league as undrafted free agents.

CB Jackie Bates – 0 games played

RB Jackie Battle – 17 games played

LB Jovan Belcher – 16 games played

RB Tim Castille – 21 games played

WR Terrance Copper – 78 games played

FB Mike Cox – 32 games played

LS Thomas Gafford – 25 games played

DL Dion Gales – 3 games played

DE Wallace Gilberry – 21 games played

DE Bobby Greenwood – 0 games played

QB Matt Gutierrez – 6 games played

G Darryl Harris – 0 games played

LB David Herron – 26 games played

S Reshard Langford – 0 games played

DB Maurice Leggett – 22 games played

G Ryan Lilja – 66 games played

DT Derek Lokey – 3 games played

WR Lance Long – 8 games played

LB Corey Mays – 48 games played

RB Kestahn Moore – 0 games played

OL Ikechuku Ndukwe – 33 games played

C Rudy Niswanger – 46 games played

QB Tyler Palko – 0 games played

OL Jermail Porter – 0 games played

S Ricky Price – 2 games played

DT Shaun Smith – 63 games played

WR Jerheme Urban – 47 games played

LB Pierre Walters – 3 games played

G Brian Waters – 147 games played

C Casey Wiegmann – 195 games played

The final two names on that list obviously stand out as they’ve both carved out very successful Pro Bowl careers. The list of former players who entered the league as an undrafted player only continues to impress. RB Priest Holmes is just one of handful of franchise greats who was by-passed on draft day.

Players such as QB Kurt Warner, K Lou Groza, CB Emmitt Thomas, DB Cornell Green, DT John Randle and S Deron Cherry all once entered the league undrafted.

NFL.com’s Gil Brandt has compiled a running list of the best available undrafted players and where they have landed to date. Have a look…

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