Chiefs news for 7 May 2019
At 5-10 and 200 pounds, Marshall brings a build that the Chiefs don’t currently have on the roster. He’s somewhere between Darwin Thompson and James Williams in terms of size and stature. He also brings a unique blend of rushing expertise and special teams prowess to the Chiefs’ roster.
Marshall rushed for 1,296 yards and 17 touchdowns during his two-year stint at James Madison. He also was a kick returner for the Dukes during his junior season, averaging over 20 yards per return. Marshall began his career at Georgia Tech, where he added another 8 touchdowns and 1,273 rushing yards in two seasons. That brings his college totals to over 2,500 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns.
It’s unclear who the Chiefs will release in order to make room for this signing. The roster currently sits at 90 players, so they will need to make a corresponding move before making Marshall’s signing official
This was Monday, the third and final day of the Kansas City Chiefs’ rookie minicamp, and after sprinting down the field as a scout-team gunner, Mecole Hardman was tired. He had spent the better part of the past three days lining up anywhere and everywhere. Slot receiver. Outside receiver. Punt return. Punt team. You name it, Hardman played it.
With the uncertainty surrounding Chiefs All-Pro Tyreek Hill, the team has thrown the playbook at Hardman to see what sticks. Comparisons to Hill — due to their similar size and speed — be darned.
“I feel like I’m myself, you know?” Hardman said, when asked how he compares to Hill. “I think I’m Mecole Hardman. I think I can do the things I want to do [on the field].”
“Every day he got a little better,” Reid said. “These are all new. These routes are new to him. He did a nice job in the red zone, which normally is the toughest place to work, but he did extremely well there. He had a good finish.”
With Hill’s future up in the air, Hardman is an important piece in both the return game and as a receiver. He showed bursts of speed in special teams drills toward the end of Monday’s practice, cutting around gunners to get to the sideline after fielding a punt, then cutting back inside to elude more would-be tacklers.
To digest Reid’s complex playbook, Hardman tried his best to simplify the plays.
“The quicker you can learn, the quicker you can play,” Hardman said. “The more you can play, the more confident you play. So, it was fun being out there with the coaches learning the playbook. It’s coming easy right now, hopefully I can get it down to where I can play fast and confident.”
Hardman didn’t catch a touchdown in Monday’s scrimmage when Thornhill was the primary defender in the middle of the field. Thornhill performed so well during the camp that the Chiefs are optimistic the rookie could share some snaps with the first-team defense during the full organized team practices.
“Every day he got his hands on the ball,” Reid said of Thornhill. “He almost had (another interception) here in the red zone (Monday). It looks like he’s got a pretty good feel for things. He’s got a little bit of a knack there, a good worker. He’s smart, but you have to have that feel back there, and he seems to have it.”
Another positive sign: Thornhill was one of the most vocal defenders on the field. He celebrated solid plays from his teammates, and he encouraged the unit to not let the offense score. Thornhill said he learned to play with such passion from watching Tyrann Mathieu, the Chiefs’ star strong safety, who will serve as his mentor in the secondary.
Thornhill is close to the line of scrimmage here rather than deep, but the skills he shows translate well to free safety. He sees where the throw is likely going and moves to cut off the throwing lane. He’s able to run at close to full speed while keeping his head turned and watching for the ball, something even most cornerbacks can’t do. He then makes a perfect play on the ball, stepping in front of the receiver and catching it at a high point rather than waiting for it to fall to him.
Since ball skills have come up multiple times, it should be discussed more thoroughly. Thornhill’s ball skills might be the best in the draft, and that’s the biggest reason to believe he could excel as a free safety in the NFL.
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