Chiefs’ Worthy, Wiley shine in 2nd day of rookie minicamp

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After a shortened first day of rookie minicamp, Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Xavier Worthy had a productive second day of minicamp on Sunday.

Worthy was held out of the latter part of Saturday’s practice after diving for a pass and walking gingerly to the sideline as he stretched his legs and stood on the sideline. Before his exit, Worthy had a few drops in the first couple of drills, but ran crisp routes and showcased his top-flight speed and explosion while consistently catching balls throughout practice.

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On Sunday inside the Chiefs’ indoor facility, Worthy had a productive day catching punts and beating cornerbacks’ presses at outside and inside receiver.

Worthy’s ball-tracking skills, quickness, and speed are apparent. Worthy slowed his pace to catch a ball on a wide-open deep post from quarterback Chris Oladokun even as a defender came.

The 28th overall pick was hampered by press coverage a bit on Saturday, but consistently beat the press on Sunday, using his quickness and head movements to leave cornerback Trill Williams behind him on one play.

At 5’11”, 169 pounds, Worthy’s slight frame has been a concern among teams, but not for the Chiefs, who loved his toughness, route running, and intelligence.

“I think he’s fine where he’s at,” head coach Andy Reid said after the draft.

“I don’t think that’s a problem. He’s playing at a high level and he’s been doing this since he was a freshman. I’m not too worried about the weight.”

Worthy looks at former NFL wide receiver DeSean Jackson as his blueprint, who came into the league at almost the same size at 5’10”, 169 pounds. Jackson was a three-time Pro Bowler who led the NFL on four separate occasions in yards per reception, doing most of his damage under Reid for the Philadelphia Eagles.

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“I don’t think I took big hits [in college]. I delivered them,” Worthy jokingly said about his weight. “But, nah, I feel like it’s not gonna be a problem. I feel like just understanding your strengths and your weaknesses, that’s the big thing in the league. Don’t obviously go and try to hit a 215-pound linebacker. Just understanding your weight, understanding your strength. D-Jax (DeSean Jackson) came in the league at 169 and understood his strengths.”

Fourth-round tight end Jared Wiley had another productive day catching passes over the middle while lining up in the slot and from an inline tight end spot. His talent is apparent and the next step will be to see how he performs with pads on against more experienced players in organized team activities on May 22.

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.

Secondary Notes

Fourth-round safety Jaden Hicks has been lining up all over the secondary and looks confident in his knowledge of the playbook so far. Hicks has mostly been lining up at free safety over the top of the defense and has been receiving one-on-one instruction from defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo on both days.

“He was just telling me, you know, the keys,” Hicks said. “So where I was aligned, the quarterback can see that I was coming to the other side. So he was just telling me how to disguise that a little bit more. That was really cool. He brought me to the side and I take that type of coaching very seriously.”

Sixth-round cornerback Kamal Hadden is getting some of his first taste of football practice since a shoulder injury ended his 2023 season in October at Tennessee.

“It was a great feeling. I kind of got that in-game experience a little bit at practice yesterday,” Hadden said on Sunday.

“It’s just a great feeling, a very appreciative feeling. Once you get the game taken away from you for a while, it makes you appreciate it a little more, it makes you want to go a little harder in practice and just give your everything while you are playing because you never know when it can be taken away from you, and you just want to make the most of your opportunities.”

Hadden looked a bit rusty on Saturday with his technique and adjusting to the playbook. His technique improved quickly from Saturday to Sunday where his press coverage had better punch and line up with his feet. He was out of position at times, which happens to young players as they learn new plays.

Hadden’s length, fluidity, and aggression show up in his coverage, and with the Chiefs’ success with late-round defensive backs, he is confident he can work to make an impact.

“When I came here before the draft, [the Chiefs] told me, ‘Come in, know your job,'” Hadden said. “They let it [be] known that no matter where you’re drafted, even if the guys weren’t drafted, everybody has an opportunity. They said they see a lot in me and they think that I can come in and fill those shoes.”

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Second-round offensive tackle Kingsley Suamataia has been practicing at left tackle as he prepares for a training camp battle with second-year player Wanya Morris for the starting spot.

Since minicamp is without pads, there are minimal takeaways to gather from linemen play. Suamataia and seventh-round offensive lineman C.J. Hanson can use this time to perfect their technique.

“I’ve got to put my best foot forward and outwork the guy in front of me,” Suamataia said. “I definitely love all the guys that are here, coming in as a rookie trying to gain all the knowledge I can so I can learn the playbook the best, so I can potentially be out there and play next to them.”

Hanson has been working at both guard positions to start minicamp. He is the first Holy Cross player to be drafted since linebacker Rob McGovern in 1989, whom the Chiefs also took. Hanson has two state championship rings with DePaul Catholic High School in Wayne, New Jersey, and won five conference championships with the Crusaders.

He wears his achievements with pride and the Chiefs’ emphasis on family hit home with Hanson as he got emotional on Sunday.

“That’s what my coaches, my mom was a team mom at Holy Cross,” Hanson said.

“She preached it: One team, one family and you know, it’s huge. I think those relationships it makes you want to work harder for your brother. I think you got to build those bonds in adversity, you know, go through the hard stuff, then, you build those relationships and then you want to give everything for your teammate and that’s what it comes down to. That’s how the winning culture starts and you got to love each other.”

Rookie minicamp wraps up on Monday before OTAs begin in two weeks.

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