Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
Fighting loaded depth charts and an uphill battle to continue playing football into the NFL, former Wildcat players Collin Klein and Braden Wilson have found themselves in different situations from the two NFL teams most connected to Kansas City. While Wilson was not among the Kansas City Chiefs cut yesterday, Klein was informed the Texans would not be in need of his services this fall.
The Chiefs drafted Wilson in the sixth round, but traded for Arizona fullback Anthony Sherman shortly thereafter in a move that remains a significant obstacle to Wilson making the final roster of 53. However, another FB – Patrick Sherman – was released last month to reduce the competition in the backfield. Yesterday Nate Eachus was also released, solidifying Wilson’s predicament to a two-horse race for the fullback job.
Eachus is not a traditional fullback in any sense of the word, standing at only 5’10” and 212 lbs. However, on a team that had no defined FB, he often served as a blocker in the backfield with the potential to roll out in the flat for passes.He made the team as a rookie free agent last year and started two games while seeing action in 11 total. He only totaled 18 yards rushing on five carries and had one catch for 19 yards, but was previously kept around for his physical presence and not his yardage production. The move demonstrates Andy Reid and company are definitely committed to having a true fullback on the field this year, and hopefully that man is Braden Wilson.
On the flip side of the coin, Collin Klein will not be suiting up for the Houston Texans this year (I say they have strong ties to Kansas City b/c the Chiefs were originally the Dallas Texans before moving north in 1963). Regardless of Klein’s physical abilities, he was a longshot to make the roster with four other quarterbacks already in Houston: starter Matt Schaub, T.J. Yates, Stephen McGee, and Case Keenum. And due to his continued insistence that he play the quarterback position and not line up as a tight end, Houston made the decision this morning not to retain his services.
As of this writing, no other team has offered Klein a contract to try out. However, he did leave the Texans with a glowing verbal recommendation from his temporary employers. Over the weekend Texans coach Gary Kubiak discussed Klein, commenting:
"I tell you what, it was impressive, I’m fixing to go up and have a long talk with him. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but to watch how far the guy came in two and a half days… probably his best day out here today. He’s found a way his whole career, and he’s probably going to find a way this time, too.He’s got a ton (of talent). For what he did in college and what Jake (Plummer) has been doing with him, he’s come a long way, as far as working under center and stuff. The arm strength is there. The delivery is a little different but you work with that. But his instincts as a football player you can’t coach; the way he just takes off and stuff like that."
We’ll continue monitoring Klein’s situations and all the other Wildcat seniors attempting to find their way on NFL rosters as the summer progresses.
Update: FB Ryan D’Imperio was also released after being signed by the Chiefs in March of this year.