AFC Notes: Louis, Dareus, Thomas, Taylor

With Donald Thomas injured, Lance Louis, who hasn’t played since November 2012 because of a torn ACL injury, is working as the Colts’ first-team left guard, shares ESPN’s Mike Wells. Louis appeared to be an emerging talent in 2012 when he started the first 11 games for the Bears, and Colts GM Ryan Grigson took notice: “I was sitting watching the Bears (on tape) with Tom Telesco when we were preparing for them. I look at the tape and I said, ‘Who’s No. 60?’ I look him up in the system and the guy ran a 4.72 (40-yard dash) at 309 (pounds) coming out of San Diego State. He was faster than some of the receivers who are going to go in the second round this year. So, we’re watching that and we’re thinking, in free agency, this guy is going to break the bank because he’s the best player on their line. He gets his knee blown out and things change. We stayed on him all (last) year and the knee’s fine now and we have him here for two years. Hopefully he gets back to that level of play where he’s a good starter. He’s a guy who is completely off the radar who we’re optimistic about.”

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • A pair of off-season arrests for Bills defensive lineman Marcell Dareus has thrown his long-term stability into question, prompting Adam Schein of SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio (highlighted on the web by Pro Football Talk) to ask head coach Doug Marrone if Dareus “gets it.” The coach’s response? “That’s a good question.”
  • Steelers 6-4, 330-pound defensive lineman Cam Thomas, who signed a two-year, $4MM deal in March, is working at nose tackle and five-technique, writes Mark Kaboly of Triblive.com.
  • Dolphins cornerback Jamar Taylor, a 2013 second-rounder, played just 40 snaps as a rookie after a pre-draft kidney ailment and subsequent sports hernia affected him. He’s healthy now and competing with Cortland Finnegan and Will Davis for available playing time between the No. 2 corner and nickel back jobs, writes ESPN’s James Walker, who also notes the Dolphins got just 1,126 snaps by their rookies last year, third-fewest in the league.
  • It was a tale of two seasons for Chiefs cornerback Marcus Cooper in 2013, writes ESPN’s Adam Teicher, who identifies Cooper as a young player who must improve. A seventh-rounder claimed on waivers, Cooper immediately “looked like he belonged,” earned the third cornerback job and “played better than either of the two starters for the first half of the season,” according to Teicher. However, Cooper’s play deteriorated during the second half of the season and he was demoted. At 6-2, 192 pounds, Cooper has the dimensions and physical tools the Chiefs desire, but the team needs more consistency out of him.
  • Because of free-agent departures, there’s competition for jobs up and down the Chiefs roster, details AP writer Dave Skretta.
  • MarQueis Gray, an undrafted college quarterback out of Minnesota, converted to tight end and stuck with the Browns last season, appearing in 12 games (two starts). The team is again tapping into his versatility, this time trying him at fullback, according to George M. Thomas in the Beacon Journal.
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