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.


Tim Marshall 5 years, 1 month ago

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

Matt Tait 5 years, 1 month ago

Agree. And this is exactly why he was better off not getting drafted once it got to the middle-to-late 7th round. Chiefs had no late picks, but McDougald still got to dictate his situation. I'd definitely bet on him to make the 53-man roster.

Tim Marshall 5 years, 1 month 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.

Phil Leister 5 years, 1 month 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.

Matt Tait 5 years, 1 month ago

It is pretty common in most places, but the Chiefs haven't done it much with Jayhawks so this is a bit of a new development. Seems like KC has invited more Mizzou and K-State guys in the past...

Phil Leister 5 years, 1 month 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?

Matt Tait 5 years, 1 month ago

Yep. Some guys (the priority guys) often sign deals immediately. Those are guys that teams would've drafted and feel pretty good about. The camp invites simply give guys the chance to earn a deal. A lot of times the teams will pay for their travel to get to camp but nothing is guaranteed.

Good questions.

VaJay 5 years, 1 month 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!

Jeremy Morris 5 years, 1 month 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?).

Dirk Medema 5 years, 1 month ago

DZ was one that I was expecting to hear about for a free agent. Any word on him Matt.

Also, now that you're back from playing hookie, you getting us any interesting news on recruits? Supposed to be a big week or 2 for the coaches to get out and meet players.

KGphoto 5 years, 1 month ago

It started with DZ when Weis benched him for Martin. I couldn’t believe it. I thought DZ was an animal. Goes to show what we are truly able to see from a fans perspective.

Thomas Young 5 years, 1 month ago

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

JayHok 5 years, 1 month ago

If the Chiefs cut Chase Daniel and sign Dayne Crist the Chiefs would pick up another million fans. Not only the local JAYHAWK fans who would eat this up but the biggest fanbase in college football, Notre Dame. Dayne has a much stronger arm, was bred to be an NFL quarterback. From what has been written about him lately including his MVP award he's developing professional swagger quickly. I would personally drive to KC to give Andy Reid a hug.

jhox 5 years, 1 month ago

Don't mistake size for arm strength. As much as it pains me to admit it, I like Daniel's abilities. I think his arm is every bit as strong as Crist's and he's much more accurate. He's a guy I'd rather have on my team than I would playing against me.

Steve Grimm 5 years, 1 month 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?

KGphoto 5 years, 1 month 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.

Chris Bailey 5 years, 1 month 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.

JayHok 5 years, 1 month ago

Our offense was in its first year though. Look what happened at the draft game when he had receivers that ran excellent routes which NFL receivers do. He's been running a pro offense so that's not new to him. Having receivers five inches taller, faster with huge soft hands also makes a massive difference. The plays he will run at camp will be very manageable and he has a very strong arm. He has a very legitimate shot to make this team. Regarding KU next year, our receivers will be so much better than they were last year. Better receivers and much cleaner routes. Faster, bigger, stronger, softer hands. Additionally the players will have run a similar scheme for the 2nd year in a row one that is created for specifically for Heaps, our much better receivers, our running backs and Pierson. RCJ

Phil Leister 5 years, 1 month ago

Plenty of guys who don't experience much success in college end up making it in the pros. He's got the size and strength of an NFL quarterback, which is all he needs to get a shot. Is it likely he'll make the roster? Probably not. But if you're the size of Crist, you'll get a chance. Not making any excuses for his play at KU, but it's not like he had a stellar supporting cast: offensive line, receivers. We should all be rooting for him. Jayhawks in the NFL, particularly at the QB position, is tremendous for recruiting.

Chris Bailey 5 years, 1 month ago

All true. You both make really good points. And I am rooting for him. I just haven't seen anything that makes me believe he is good enough. I hope he does well. Rock Chalk.

texashawk10 5 years, 1 month ago

He doesn't have a contract, he was just invited to Chiefs camp with a opportunity to compete for probably the 3rd string job. The Chiefs will pay for him to go to training camp and that's it unless he ends up making the team.

HawkTronic 5 years, 1 month ago

Bring back the Tait Percentage Wheel!

dgless21 5 years, 1 month 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.

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