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Old 12.09.2018, 05:45   #1
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Reggie McKenzie kept telling his son that if his Oakland Raiders were going to draft him last week Davis Webb Jersey , it would require making the switch from mammoth defensive tackle to bruising offensive guard.

Turns out the general manager’s counterparts in Kansas City had the same idea.

So when the elder McKenzie, sitting in the Oakland draft room, saw Chiefs general manager Brett Veach calling him, a wry smile crossed his face. The most bitter of AFC West rivals were trading up to take Kahlil McKenzie in the sixth round – with every intention of flipping him to offense.

”I told him, `It’s your conspiracy. You did this,”’ Kahlil McKenzie recalls telling his pop, himself a longtime NFL linebacker before becoming a front-office exec. ”He always wanted me to play offensive line. He said I could play the position a lot different, somebody that knows what defensive linemen are going to do and somebody who can move a lot better than a lot of offensive linemen.”

The Chiefs are gambling on precisely the same line of thinking.

McKenzie drew plenty of interest at defensive tackle when he declared for the draft after his junior season at Tennessee. But when the Chiefs showed up at his pro day, they worked him out at guard, and he merely outperformed three other traditional offensive line prospects.

His athleticism and measurables – including his stout trunk and huge lower body – also project nicely to the interior of the offensive line Xavier Rhodes Jersey , where McKenzie’s raw power would best be displayed.

”This kid is going to look like a first-round pick. He’s an impressive looking player,” Veach said. ”He’s a draftable talent just as a defensive lineman and he would certainly be on an NFL roster this coming fall if he just played defensive line. But when you watched him at his pro day, he just had such a good workout at guard. It looked natural to him.”

McKenzie played both sides of the offensive line in high school, but he was stuck at defensive tackle by the Vols out of necessity. His production wound up keeping him there for three seasons.

Still, one has to wonder what he could have been had he played offensive line all this time.

”The kid has tremendous physical gifts,” Veach said, ”and again, I don’t know exactly how long this will take because he hasn’t played offensive line a long time.”

The task of turning him into a blocker begins Saturday when the Chiefs open a three-day rookie minicamp. McKenzie is expected on the field along with the rest of the Kansas City draft class – all defensive players that are planning to stay on that side of the ball.

”All the things and traits you look at with him, you could see that this kid might have a shot as an offensive guard,” said Chiefs area scout Pat Sperduto Robert Alford Jersey , who has watched McKenzie the last few years, and was able to draw comparisons to at least two success stories.

J.R. Sweezy was a standout linebacker and defensive end at North Carolina State, Sperduto said, before becoming a solid offensive guard with the Seahawks and Buccaneers. Alejandro Villanueva of the Pittsburgh Steelers spent time as a defensive lineman at Army before becoming a standout NFL left tackle.

McKenzie also had the same team-first attitude as Sweezy and Villanueva when it came to the switch.

”I said, `What if we drafted you as an offensive guard?’ He said, `I’d be willing to do anything. I just want to play football. I want to be a good player in the league,”’ Sperduto said.

Even if it happened to be for his father’s biggest rival.

”I got a text from Charles Woodson. He said, `Your son has to retire. There’s no way he’s going to put that red helmet on his head,”’ Reggie McKenzie said. ”Part of me felt that way, but in all seriousness Albert McClellan Jersey , it’s a good opportunity for him, and I was hoping that he landed at a spot that will kind of grow him to that position. He can play D-tackle but he probably could be special on the offensive line.”

Kahlil McKenzie certainly thinks so. He brashly predicted that he’s going to eventually help the Chiefs ”whoop up” on the Raiders, along with everybody else in the NFL.

”My dad’s happy for me. The rest of the family, they’re happy as well,” he said. ”It’s just going to make for a lot more family rivalries. We’re a competitive family at nature. We compete at everything we do. This just adds one more ripple into that.”

Julius Peppers isn't done playing football just yet.

The 38-year-old free agent re-signed with the Panthers on Wednesday, agreeing to a one-year contract.

The deal is for $5 million, with $2.5 million guaranteed, a person familiar with the situation said. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team does not release financial terms of contracts.

"I am fired up to have him back," Panthers coach Ron Rivera told The Associated Press. "It was amazing to have him as part of what we are trying to build and I think he can help us get to the next level."

The Panthers also officially announced acquisition of Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith in exchange for cornerback Daryl Worley, which was reported last week .

Peppers had contemplated retirement after the Panthers went 11-5 last season and made the playoffs as a wild card team.

Earlier this year Panthers outside linebacker Thomas Davis and center Ryan Kalil both said this will be their last season. Peppers could also be another player making a farewell tour in 2018.

Peppers is entering his 17th NFL season Ray-Ray Armstrong Jersey , including his 10th with the Panthers.

A nine-time Pro bowl selection, he returned to Carolina last season and had a productive season with 11 sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Peppers helps provide some depth at defensive end after starter Charles Johnson was released earlier this offseason.

Peppers' 154 陆 sacks are the fourth-most in NFL history. He needs six sacks to pass Kevin Greene and move into third place on the NFL's all-time list.

The North Carolina native was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2002 draft by the Panthers following a successful college career with the North Carolina Tar Heels.

He played his first eight seasons in Carolina before joining the Chicago Bears in 2010. He played four years there and three more for the Green Bay Packers before returning to Carolina last year.

Peppers has played in 250 career games, tied for seventh-most of any defensive player in NFL history and has played in 160 straight games, the second-longest of any defensive player.

He was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 2000s.

Peppers leads all active players with 20 career fumble recoveries and ranks second in forced fumbles (49) in the NFL since 2002. His 11 career interceptions rank second all-time for defensive ends.

Smith brings needed speed to the team's wide receiver position.

He said in a conference call Wednesday that he's thrilled to join the Panthers and have a chance to play with quarterback Cam Newton, whom he has worked out with in the past.

"The Eagles were very open about the trade, so I wasn't blindsided," said Smith, who had 36 catches for 430 yards and two touchdowns while starting 14 games last year for the Super Bowl champions. "But this is one of the places I wanted to be and I'm happy that it played out that way."

Smith played one season with former Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith in Baltimore and said he's like a "legit big brother I can talk to about anything."

The Panthers lost unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Star Lotulelei to Buffalo on Wednesday after he signed a five-year deal with the Bills.


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