Saturday, April 30, 2011

Kansas City "a good fit" for Shane Bannon

While seventh-round picks are hardly locks to make NFL rosters, it appears as if Shane Bannon is walking into a good situation after the Kansas City Chiefs made him the first Yale player taken in the NFL draft since 2004.

Not only did the Chiefs led the NFL in rushing offense in 2010, but a quick glance at the Chiefs' roster shows Bannon's competition at fullback as being Jackie Battle,
Tim Castille, Mike Cox and Tervaris Johnson who combined for 25 carries last season and 64 career NFL carries between them. Of course, Bannon is living proof that the fullback position can't be judged by the number of rushing attempts since he did not carry the ball as a senior at Yale but the point is that there is another an all-pro standing between Bannon and a spot on the Kansas City roster.

"I think potentially it could be a good fit," Bannon said. "They have some good running backs there and are a fantastic team. Hopefully I will be able to create a niche for myself and get on their roster this fall. I like contact and I can't wait until I put my helmet on somebody else. I am really excited for the opportunity and excited to join such a great running back core and hopefully I can help out in any way possible."

Bannon worked out for the Chiefs in April and believed that Kansas City liked what they saw. It doesn't hurt that former NFL fullback Maurice Carthon is on the Chiefs' coaching staff and was one of the people Bannon spoke with as Kansas City was drafting him.

"I had a sense that they thought I was a good player and I had heard from the scouts that they thought I had a pretty good workout," Bannon said. "I felt they were a potential team that could be picking me today if not (signing with them) in free agency.

"I was getting a little anxious, I was pretty excited to see what was going to happen. I saw Kansas City had a pick in the seventh round and I thought the workout with them went really well. When they called me and there is over a minute left on
the clock, I was feeling overjoyed and excited."

Bannon is the first Yale player drafted since Tampa Bay took tight end Nate Lawrie in the sixth round in the NFL draft. Bannon went with the 223rd pick, the exact spot Tampa Bay took former Yale safety Than Merrill in the 2001 draft. Eric Johnson went with the following pick and enjoyed a few productive years as a tight end with the San Francisco 49ers.

Bannon's former Yale teammates Chris Blohm and Tom McCarthy did not get drafted. San Francisco worked out Blohm and had two picks late in the seventh round where they could have taken Blohm, a native of San Francisco. McCarthy had workout with 10-12 NFL teams but was not among the 254 players taken in the three-day draft.

Now they will have to wait until the labor unrest currently existing in the NFL is rectified before they can sign as undrafted rookie free agents.

"We talked about preparing for this possibility should they not be drafted," Yale coach Tom Williams said. "Towards the later rounds, in my opinion, if you are not drafted I think you have a better opportunity to place yourself as a priority free agent. I think as soon as the lockout is settled, both of those guys will be (signed) very quickly."

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