Star-studded Chiefs rely heavily on late-round gems, too

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Kansas City Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen celebrates after an NFL divisional round football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, in Kansas City. The Chiefs won 22-17. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – It was an easy decision for Daniel Sorensen to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent.

They were really the only ones who wanted him.

Sorensen had just finished a standout career at BYU, but his game film and measurables went largely overlooked by the rest of the NFL. He wasn't too surprised when the 2014 draft came and went without his name getting called, but he was a little caught off guard when the phone rang following the seventh round and he heard the voice on the other end.

“Andy Reid was the only head coach that reached out to me,” Sorensen recalled, "and that was pretty big. That was pretty remarkable to get a phone call from him. And he shot me straight: ‘You have a good opportunity to make this team here.’"

Sorensen not only wound up making the team, he's stuck around for seven seasons, helping the Chiefs put together the best stretch in franchise history: They have won the past five AFC West titles, reached the conference championship game three consecutive years, and on Sunday will play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their second straight Super Bowl title.

Sorensen isn't an outlier, either.

While the Chiefs roster is undoubtedly top heavy — Patrick Mahomes is due a half-billion dollars over the next 10 years, and stars such as Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are rich beyond their wildest imaginations — they wouldn't be in this position if not for a collection of late-round draft picks and college free agents that are the envy of the league.

No fewer than 22 players drafted in the third round or later — or not all — are on the Chiefs roster as they finish their prep work for the Super Bowl. Ten of them are likely to start on offense, defense or special teams against the Buccaneers.