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C-Mac
04-30-2005, 09:20 AM
White the big name in college; Kilian the one drafted

By ADAM TEICHER

The Kansas City Star


For more proof that the NFL operates in mysterious ways, check out the first practice of the Chiefs' three-day rookie camp Friday.

There's James Kilian, the former Tulsa quarterback who spent his last two collegiate seasons eager to escape the considerable shadow of his Oklahoma counterpart, former Heisman Trophy winner Jason White. The Chiefs' only other rookie QB is, naturally, White.

Except here's where things take a twist. Kilian, the guy nobody heard about until the Chiefs called his name in the seventh round of last weekend's draft, was first in line for all the drills. He's the one who will still have a job after camp concludes Sunday.

White trailed Kilian all day. White, who had to go begging for a job and is here merely on a trial basis, is hoping to show enough to eventually receive a contract from the Chiefs or one of the NFL's other 31 teams.

The incongruity is hard for anyone to miss.

“It's weird,” said Chiefs director of college scouting Chuck Cook, as he shook his head, “the way the world works.”

College stardom is hardly an accurate predictor of NFL success. But if collegiate achievements and statistics are any kind of assessment, White would be the draft pick, and Kilian the one hoping for a chance.

White won the 2003 Heisman and led the Sooners to the national title game in each of the last two seasons. In two years as a starter, he passed for more than 7,000 yards with a completion percentage of 63 and 75 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.

By contrast, Kilian, playing on a much smaller stage, was just another guy — and one seemingly with little in his favor.

Tulsa won just 12 of 25 games in his two seasons as a starter. He passed for fewer than 4,500 yards, completed 56 percent of his throws and had 35 TDs and 27 interceptions

Yet Kilian is the one who looks good in the often wacky and seemingly nonsensical ways of the NFL.

“Not many people have put up the numbers and won the awards he has,” Kilian said of White. “He's a great player, and he's played on some great teams. But the NFL is a weird deal when it comes to the draft. You never know how it's going to turn out.”

Everyone — not just the NFL — knew about White. Playing for a national-championship contender, he had plenty of TV exposure, which maybe turned out to work against him. Everyone knew about White's once-balky knees, which he said no longer present a problem.

They could also see the holes in his game.

“He's a good, solid college quarterback, but he doesn't have anything he does real well,” said Russ Lande, a former NFL scout who now runs an Internet scouting service at www.gmjr.com.

“He's not a great player. He had tons of talent around him, which made him a lot better than he really is. He's limited athletically and doesn't do real well under pressure. He doesn't get real good zip on his passes. He struggles beyond 5 to 8 yards.”

The Chiefs worked hard to find Kilian. He was spotted by an area scout making his routine checks. The team then dispatched quarterbacks coach Terry Shea to Tulsa to watch Kilian work out, and Shea also filed a positive report.

“We ended up looking at some tapes of him,” Cook said. “We saw him throw on the move and do things out of the pocket and improvise very well. He's an athlete and throws a nice, tight ball. He can make all the throws. There was some question about his arm strength, but I don't think that's a problem. His completion percentage wasn't great, but he didn't have much of a supporting cast.

“When you take your quarterbacks coach and he goes down there and he sees what your scouts are seeing, I don't think there's a big risk.”

This quarterback battle has all the makings of a rivalry, except it really isn't one.

Kilian will stick around for the spring practices and June minicamp and White will return to Oklahoma unless the Chiefs have a change of heart.

“This is nothing negative against Jason,” Cook said. “He's proven himself. He's a winner. It's fortunate we get to see both of them.”

QB state is OK

Oklahoma's Jason White had the numbers but Tulsa's James Kilian got drafted.


Jason White Player James Kilian
Oklahoma College Tulsa
Tuttle, Okla. Hometown Medford, Okla.
6-2, 226 Ht./Wt. 6-3, 218
4.99 40 time 4.81
63.3 Comp. pct. 55.6
7,051 Yards 4,464
75 TDs 35
19 Ints 27

Note: Statistics are from last two seasons