Chiefs’ Worthy exits early, rookies impress in first day of minicamp

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs’ 2024 first-round pick did not finish his first practice as a pro.

In the latter half of practice during a play during the team session, wide receiver Xavier Worthy ran a go route and attempted to stretch for the ball. After the play, Worthy stretched his left leg before walking gingerly to the sideline.

He took his helmet off but later put it back on after taking a drink and talking with trainers and coaches. Worthy jogged to certain spots throughout the rest of practice but did not take another rep.

It was the end of the day for the 28th overall pick.

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Punt returners struggled with catching punts early in practice, including Worthy, from punter Matt Araiza on a windy KC Saturday afternoon with wind gusts up to 12 mph. Worthy also had a few drops in the first couple of drills of practice but ran crisp routes and showcased his top-flight speed and explosion while consistently catching balls throughout practice.

He also worked in different spots throughout practice at outside receiver and slot receiver as well as returner.

After preparing for the NFL draft process focused on athleticism, these are the first actual football reps that most players have taken since the end of their college season. Most of these reps should be taken with grains of salt as these practices are against other rookies and second-year players without any pads on. Rookie minicamp is a preparation ground for rookies to get acclimated to an NFL playbook, an NFL practice, and NFL coaching before organized team activities and training camp.

Before practice, Worthy talked about how excited he is to play in the Chiefs’ system since it’s similar to his college playbook at Texas.

“The expectation of me was to come in willing to work,” he said. “Whatever they need me to do – whatever I have to do – I’m going to do it to get on the field. For me, always to play and be the best me, that’s my expectation.”

Lee’s Summit West and Kansas State alum Phillip Brooks was one of the few returners who didn’t struggle with punts in practice. He was consistently getting open as an outside receiver and showed his ball-tracking skills by catching a few deep balls. At 5’7, 175 pounds, Brooks was one of the best players on the field for the day.

Fourth-round tight end Jared Wiley had an impressive day as well. At 6’7, 260, his size\length and athleticism are astounding and he showed it with an impressive outstretched snag over the middle of the field in 7 on 7 drills.

The former high school quarterback said this will be his sixth offensive playbook that he’s learned in six years between his first three years at Texas and his last two years at TCU. With only five years of experience at the position, Wiley’s talent shows that he’s only scratched the surface of his potential.

“I feel like [tight end is] the most essential part of your offense,” Wiley said. “We’re asked to do everything whether it’s in the pass game or in the run game or pass protection. I kind of like having that pressure or weight on my shoulders a little bit, and I like being able to prove to myself and to everybody else that I’m completely capable of doing it.”

Fifth-round pick Hunter Nourzad is a versatile offensive lineman who was started at right tackle, guard, and center in college at Cornell and Penn State. He lined up at center on Saturday and is projected to be the replacement for fill-in starter Nick Allegretti who signed with the Washington Commanders over the offseason.

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“I’m just really focused on going out there, learning the playbook, and meeting my teammates and I’ll do whatever they need me to do if they think it’s gonna make a good impact,” Nourzad said on Saturday.

Since minicamp is without pads, there are minimal takeaways to gather from linemen play.

Minicamp continues on Sunday and Monday where we hear more from the Chiefs’ 2024 draft class and head coach Andy Reid.

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