KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Rookie cornerbacks Justin Cox and De’Vante Bausby went undrafted, but that doesn’t mean their services weren’t desired around the league.
The 6-1, 191-pound Cox, who played at Mississippi State, said he drew post-draft interest from the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks and Chiefs.
The 6-2, 182-pound Bausby, who played at Pittsburg State, said he knew the Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, among other teams, wanted him.
Ultimately, the Chiefs won over both players by making them feel wanted more than the other teams.
“I think it was a better opportunity,” Cox said Saturday, the first day of the Chiefs rookie minicamp. “I like to compete. There are some good corners here I can learn from. I think it’s a pretty good place to be.”
Bausby, a native of Kansas City, agreed.
“It came down between the Chiefs and San Francisco,” Bausby said. “I felt the opportunity here was better, so I chose Kansas City.”
Kansas City also helped its cause by keeping the communication lines open with Cox and Bausby throughout the pre-draft process, and part of it likely surrounded getting comfortable with Cox.
Cox has experience at free safety and cornerback, and finished his college career with 52 tackles (38 solo), two interceptions and seven passes defensed.
He was dismissed, however, from the football team nine games into the 2014 season for an off-field incident, which was eventually settled in court in January.
“It’s not who I am,” Cox said. “I made a mistake and I’m just building from it. I can’t go back to the past. I’m going to come in here and do what I got to do, play ball and learn from the veterans and do what I got to do to make the 53.”
The Chiefs apparently felt good about Cox and stayed in touch. The two parties also had an informal meeting at the Combine where Cox ran a blistering 4.36 40-yard dash, the second-fastest time among defensive back in Indianapolis.
“I had a lot of contact with them,” Cox said. “They called my phone a lot, asking for my draft number. They stayed in touch.”
Cox said he didn’t have a pre-draft visit in Kansas City, and the team’s interest in him flew under the radar from the media eye.
But the same can’t be said for Bausby, a 2014 first-team All-MIAA selection.
Kansas City representatives attended Bausby’s Pro Day workouts at Pittsburg State and Fort Hays State, and then invited him to the local Pro Day workout on April 10. The Chiefs’ interest during those events was previously reported by ChiefsDigest.com.
The Chiefs capped off the pre-draft process with Bausby by bringing him in as one of the 30 allowed pre-draft visits.
And the strong showing of interest in the months leading to the draft left an impression.
“That definitely had something to do with it,” Bausby said. “I got to meet the coaching staff and I fell in love with (defensive assistant/secondary) coach Al (Harris) and (defensive backs) coach (Emmitt) Thomas, so that definitely had something to do with it as well.”
Still, the players had to sweat it out during the NFL Draft before signing with the Chiefs.
“I was really surprised I didn’t get drafted,” Cox admits. “I’m very talented in what I do.”
The disappointment was short-lived, however, and he had to choose between the Chiefs, Seahawks and Patriots.
He could have discussed the options with his agent before making a decision, but Cox elected to do it himself.
“I made my own decision on where I wanted to go,” Cox said. “He backed it up.”
Cox’s new teammate took a similar path, although the decision likely came faster.
Bausby said he took being overlooked during the draft in stride because he was aware the opportunities would be there as an undrafted free agent.
And the Chiefs made sure Bausby knew he was on the radar as the draft wound down.
“The Chiefs called in the seventh round, so I had options in the middle of the seventh,” Bausby said. “I didn’t get drafted, so I made the decision in probably like two minutes after the draft. I told the Chiefs I was going with them.”
Of course, an opportunity for the former Hogan Prep star to stay home and play in front of family and friends also played a major role.
“It was Kansas City Chiefs all day,” Bausby said with a smile.
Herbie Teope is the lead beat writer and reporter for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: