The Kansas City Chiefs were quickly lauded after the 2010 NFL draft for selecting seven good, high-character players. Chiefs GM Scott Pioli focused on character, selecting five team captains in that group and wanted guys that he says just love football.
The Chiefs are high on this year's class and judging by their play on the field that's for good reason. Rookies don't generally make a big impact in the NFL because of the large learning curve but the Chiefs will have a few contributors in year one from this group.
Here's a run down of where the Chiefs 2010 draft class stands less than two weeks from the start of the season.
Safety Eric Berry
He's been about as good as advertised. He hasn't made any of those "That's why he was the fifth overall pick!" type of plays but he's consistently been around the ball and delivered some big hits.
After watching him in training camp, I definitely think he's on the right track. As a rookie, I suspect he'll have a good, if not unspectacular rookie year. Berry will have to deal with the learning curve that any rookie has and appears on the right track to developing into a solid NFL safety -- but he's not there yet.
His momentum is trending upward but I think he's got a little bit to go because the expectations on him are so high.
Receiver/Running Back Dexter McCluster
The buzz on him at this point makes it seem like he was a top ten pick. But he was just (just?) a second rounder.
He's probably been the star of training camp and the preseason. He's lining up at receiver, running back and return man. We haven't seen him in the wildcat yet but he'll get there eventually.
He's going to be one of the Chiefs contributors moving forward and may have the biggest impact in year one of any of these draft picks.
His momentum is definitely trending upward as lots of folks are seeing just how much he can do.
Cornerback Javier Arenas
We noted his ability as a return man during training camp but it wasn't until the first preseason game that we saw it in action. He had a 40-plus yard return as well as a 100-yard return that was called back because of a penalty away from the ball. I really think the Chiefs have something special as a return man here.
But that's not it -- he's also a solid cornerback. Arenas appears to have a strong hold on the starting nickel back job.
He'll fulfill two roles in 2010 so the Chiefs appear to have gotten a nice bargain here.
Guard Jon Asamoah
If things work out well, he steps into Waters' or Lilja's spot in the next 1-2 years.
Tight End Tony Moeaki
There's some potential there but he's been a disappointment in his first offseason because of some injuries. With most players, we'd chalk that up to bad luck but with Moeaki, you have to take into account his extensive injury history.
Ideally we see more of what he can do against the Packers in the final preseason game on Thursday but he's mostly an unknown right now when it comes to live game action.
Safety Kendrick Lewis
Talk about another bargain. The money put into a fifth-round pick is peanuts compared to others across the league and the Chiefs got a solid player in Lewis. He's been playing a lot in the last few weeks with Jon McGraw down with an injury.
He's probably not going to begin the season as the starter but he may get it before it ends. Either way, Lewis' early play says he's got a future as a Chiefs safety.
Outside Linebacker Cameron Sheffield
We didn't expect a whole lot of him because he was a fifth-round pick but he showed some flashes of being a good player. It was clear though that he was pretty raw.
He suffered a neck injury last week and we're not sure where he stands. He appears to be coming along with the rehab on it -- he was working out this week -- so we're cautious with his role in 2010.
Moving forward, I'd say Tamba Hali and Mike Vrabel/Andy Studebaker have a hold on the outside linebacker spots so I'm not quite sure where he will eventually fit in. i guess if there's one position you want to collect it's pass rushers.