NFL Free Agent Tracker: Chiefs invite 3 Jayhawks to mini-camp; 3 others earn shots elsewhere

Moments ago the identity of the NFL Draft's 38th Mr. Irrelevant was revealed, marking the end of a seven-round affair that saw KU offensive lineman Tanner Hawkinson get picked by Cincinnati with the 23rd pick in the 5th round.

Bradley McDougald, the other Jayhawk most likely to get drafted, was not picked (something that really surprised me), but may be in better shape now than if he had been selected with one of those late picks in the seventh round.

Here's why:

  1. Motivation. Being passed over by every team for seven straight rounds no doubt will put a chip on McDougald's shoulder and he'll enter mini camp ready to prove the world wrong.

  2. He'll get to pick his team instead of the other way around. McDougald will get a chance to make an NFL roster and now, instead of taking the hand that's dealt to him, McDougald and his agent get to survey the landscape, look at rosters and take the free agent offer from the team that gives him the best shot to make a squad. This worked well for both Chris Harris and Steven Johnson (both with the Denver Broncos) and has worked well throughout the years for several undrafted players.

As many as 10 other former Jayhawks are likely busy looking for work right now and it's my guess that nearly all of them will at least be invited to a camp and signed as an undrafted free agent.

Joining McDougald as the most notable names on this list are: QB Dayne Crist, DE/FB Toben Opurum and CB Greg Brown.

Call me crazy, but given their luck with Jayhawks in recent years, I wouldn't be surprised for a second if the Broncos went back to the well one more time and added a Kansas free agent.

I've got phone calls and feelers out in all directions and this stuff usually happens pretty quickly once the draft ends, so check back right here for updated free agent info on KU's remaining NFL hopefuls.

2013 NFL Free Agent Signings:

• 7:02 p.m. - Bradley McDougald Tweets that he has agreed to a free-agent deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. Tweet: "Just agreed to a free agent deal with the KC Chiefs... Thank you for all the love and support, time to go to work!"

• 7:46 p.m. - Cornerback Greg Brown Tweets that he has agreed to a deal with San Diego. Man, there's something about KU defensive backs and the AFC West. Tweet: Blessings have fallen! HUMBLE BEGINNINGS! TAKING MY TALENTS TO SAN DIEGO!!!!!! #CHARGERS

• 8:20 p.m. - Defensive end/Fullback Toben Opurum Tweets that he gets a shot with Kansas City. The Chiefs drafted K-State FB Braden Wilson, so Toben's best shot at making the squad may come on defense/special teams. Tweet: #Chiefs mini-camp invite... All I asked for was an opportunity.. Leggo

• 8:29 p.m. - QB Dayne Crist Tweets that he, too, will get an opportunity with the Kansas City Chiefs. Crist, along with McDougald and Opurum, will report to rookie camp on May 9. Tweet: God is great, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to get back on the field! Rookie Camp for the Chiefs May 9th can't come soon enough!

• 8:32 p.m. - Offensive lineman Trevor Marrongelli just updated me via text message. Said he got an invite to camp from the Detroit Lions just after 8:00 p.m. and that he was weighing his options.

• 8:36 p.m. - Linebacker Tunde Bakare just sent me a text and said he was invited to camp with the Chicago Bears. Probably won't make it as a pure linebacker, but I like Tunde's speed and physicality on special teams.



JHWKDW 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Good luck to all the KU guys trying to make NFL rosters!


dgless21 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Matt...I'm hearing Zlatnik invited to the Jags and Josh Williams invited to the Bears. Care to follow up on that for us? Thanks for the article.


HawkTronic 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Bring back the Tait Percentage Wheel!


Ralster Jayhawk 12 months ago

Hey, Dayne Crist is a good kid. I am 100% willing to hope the "clean sheet"/NFL tryouts pan out for him. God, why not? So his lone KU season didnt pan out...but the biggest thing for Dayne is to get that devil-may-care/reckless abandon type of swagger an NFL gunslinger needs. Frankly, you are seeing Charlie Weis's "string pulling" in action on behalf of Dayne, but Dayne still needs to perform to earn his shot. People dont forget he put up several 300+yd games his first season at NDame, prior to the 2yr chain of injuries that made him gun-shy in the pocket. Man, if he has finally overcome that...let's hope he can show what he needs to, for his sake, and for KU recruiting's sake.


Chris Bailey 12 months ago

Ok if I remember correctly wasn't Crist rated like one of the worst QB's in all of the FBS this season? I was thinking he was even rated lower than some back ups. I just can't see how that translates into an NFL opportunity. He was horrible last season. He overthrew and underthrew receivers consistently. IMO Jordan Webb was a much better QB the year before than Crist was last season. Look he's a nice kid and has the size but I don't see it panning out. I will be completely shocked if he makes the roster. I'd rate his shot compared with the other free agents from Kansas as the least likely to make it. I guess time will tell but my money is not on Crist making it. I see him as a great coach some day. I hope he may even consider coming back as a GA at Kansas. Good luck to all the newly drafted or invited players.


KGphoto 12 months ago

It seems to me that Toben could crack the squad as a FB. The Chiefs really had no film on him at the position. As good as he is in the pass catching department, he could be much more than just a blocking FB. I just think they need to see him in person a little more.


Steve Grimm 12 months ago

Hey, Matt: This news does the Jayhawk heart good. I've always liked Toben. I know you mentioned above the his best chance is defense/special teams. The kid's got a motor, that's for sure. And he's proven that he can adjust well in a new position. Unfortunately, the one thing the Chiefs are stronger at is Linebacker. Other than special teams & fullback, is there any other position he might transition to?


Thomas Young 12 months ago

Here's to hoping Crist looks like the QB we hoped he would at KU, and gets Chase Daniel cut in the process.


freudhawk 12 months ago

What's the story with Zlatnik? It seemed like everyone has really cooled on him. Since he became a Jayhawk I always enjoyed watching his progress so it's a bummer to not see him mentioned here.

Kinda makes me wonder if the comments that Weis made about some of the graduated linemen being much less adept at run blocking than the media and fans made them out to be was about Zlatnik (and Hawkinson?).


VaJay 12 months ago

Personally, I'm ecstatic that all these Jayhawks are getting a shot at the NFL.

They have paid their dues big-time at Kansas, especially the ones here for four years with a coach who recruited them & ended up leaving after one season, then a coach who literally drove the team off the road for two years, and had to be a part of a rebuilding their last year under a decent coach.

Some of them have not had the opportunity to play for a competitive team as an NCAA athlete & that's what they all fully expected when they became Jayhawks.

They never hung their heads, never backed down, & worked their hardest to compete, become better players, and do their best to help our team turn the corner and I believe they've helped us do so.

Thank you guys for all you did, good luck in your professional careers, and you will have Jayhawk nation as your loyal fanbase when you play on Sundays!


Phil Leister 12 months ago

Also, Matt, is there a difference between a guy saying he got a "free agent deal" like McDougald did and someone saying he got a rookie/mini camp invite?


Phil Leister 12 months ago

Not a huge NFL fan, so I don't follow the game much after guys leave college. I'm wondering, is it normal for teams to invite guys from nearby colleges to their camps like this? Seems like a lot of stuff about the Chiefs. I wasn't sure if this was just a coincidence or if teams like to invite local guys.


Tim Marshall 12 months ago

I agree, Matt. I was hoping the Chiefs would pull the trigger on him in the later rounds but this works out just as well. I'd love to see him in a Chiefs jersey next season.


Tim Marshall 12 months ago

Chiefs are really thin at Safety. I think McDougald has a great shot at making the team.


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