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5 things to know about gritty D.J. White and the Chiefs

At the end of a most important day, D.J. White had still not quite absorbed the fact that he was a professional football player, drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the sixth round.

“It’s still kind of sinking in,” White said Saturday by phone. “I can’t lie.”

White was the second of two Tech players to be drafted, following defensive tackle Adam Gotsis in the second round to Denver. He is the 18th Tech player coached by Paul Johnson to be selected in the draft, including eight in the past three years.

White's draft day crew

White was with his parents, three brothers, his girlfriend and a few cousins on Saturday. After he was picked, they went out to celebrate at the Olive Garden.

Did White pick up the tab?

“Nah,” he said. “I haven’t signed that contract yet.”

Last year's 178th overall pick received a signing bonus of $144,000. The entire four-year deal was worth up to $2.4 million. The draftee, Patriots linebacker Matthew Wells, did not make the roster.

His new coaches

White has two pretty impressive position coaches, Emmitt Thomas and Al Harris. Thomas is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and has coached in the NFL for 35 years, including eight years with the Falcons. The other is Al Harris, who played cornerback for 15 years in the NFL and went to two Pro Bowls.

“Old-school guy,” White said of Thomas. “I think between him and coach Harris, I’ll get a chance to learn a lot.”

Radio silent

White said he had no contact with the Chiefs prior to the draft. The only indicator White’s agent received, he said, was a phone call in the week before the draft with Kansas City general manager John Dorsey, who indicated his interest. Dorsey was the one to call White just before the Chiefs made the pick.

“(Dorsey) basically asked me, ‘Man, we’re looking to take you with the next pick. Is that O.K. with you?’” White said. “I said, ‘Absolutely. I’d love it.’”

White did hear on Saturday from Dallas and Chicago, who told him they might take him that day. The Bears took a cornerback in the fourth round. The Cowboys took a cornerback later in the sixth round.

Plenty of competition

The Chiefs picked up three cornerbacks in the draft, KeiVarae Russell from Notre Dame in the third and Eric Murray from Minnesota in the fourth.

Full of grit

Dorsey, as you might imagine, is pretty high on White.

“D.J. White, he’s one of those guys that Coach (Andy) Reid like to say has grit,” he said. “He’s incredibly smart, he’s driven, he’s talented. It’s going to be really hard to run this guy off because he’s going to come to work every day.”

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About the Author

Ken Sugiura covers Georgia Tech sports for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.