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Archive for Sunday, May 11, 2014

Chiefs turn to offense on third day

May 11, 2014

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— After the Kansas City Chiefs spent two days bolstering their defense with lesser-known prospects, they went after some big names to help their offense on the final day of the NFL Draft.

The Chiefs spent their fourth-round pick Saturday on dynamic playmaker De’Anthony Thomas, whose good buddy Snoop Dogg tweeted his approval a few minutes later. Then in the fifth round, Kansas City nabbed Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, once considered a first-round talent.

The Chiefs wrapped their draft by adding a pair of offensive linemen in the sixth round. Zach Fulton is a mammoth guard from Tennessee, while Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is a raw tackle who played at prestigious McGill University in Canada while studying to become a doctor.

The Chiefs grabbed defensive end Dee Ford out of Auburn in Thursday night’s first round and defensive back Phillip Gaines out of Rice in the third round Friday.

The Chiefs may have found in Thomas a replacement for return specialist Dexter McCluster, who signed with the Titans in free agency. Thomas set school records for punt and kick return yardage at Oregon, and while he was showcased more as a running back last season, he also has good hands.

“I feel like I’m an entertainer on the field,” said Thomas, who departed Oregon after a junior season cut short by injuries. “I have a passion for this game.”

The Chiefs already have Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles — another former track standout — and bruising Knile Davis, their third-round pick a year ago. That means Thomas likely will evolve into a pass-catching threat rather than an every-down running back.

“First and foremost, he’s explosive,” said Trey Koziol, the Chiefs’ scout for the West Coast. “He has world-class speed, ran on the track team at Oregon. Just versatility.”

Thomas first started turning heads as a 12-year-old playing in a Pop Warner league for rap star Snoop Dogg, who claims to have given him the nickname “Black Mamba.”

“You know, when it comes down to it, you have to look at what you see on tape,” Koziol said. “You don’t see this kid get caught from behind. ... The speed on tape doesn’t lie.”

Murray was considered one of the nation’s top quarterbacks as a junior, but elected to return to the Bulldogs for his senior season. The SEC’s career passing leader ended up tearing his ACL on Nov. 8 and did not work out during the NFL scouting combine.

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