Chiefs sign rookie left tackle Branden Albert

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Thursday morning the Chiefs agreed to terms with first-round pick Branden Albert on a five-year contract. Albert is the 10th member of the Chiefs' 2008 draft class to ink a deal, and may be the most important.

After playing left guard at the University of Virginia, Albert is expected to be Kansas City's starting left tackle on opening day. The extra work he'll gain by reporting to training camp on time will be paramount to his development.

At 6-foot-5 and 316 pounds, Albert will bring much needed youth and athleticism to what was an otherwise lackluster Chiefs offensive line in 2007. During OTAs he held his own against defensive end Tamba Hali in team drills. His only real setback was a sprained ankle, which by all reports he will be recovered from when camp opens Friday.

Albert wasn't the only new Chief added in the last 24 hours, as the team signed two free agent wide receivers: Sergio Joachim and Timon Marshall. Joachim beats his fellow UCF Golden Knight and Chiefs seventh-round draft Michael Merritt to the signing table.

Merritt is one of the two remaining Chiefs draft picks who are yet to be signed, due in large part, to him being injured. Merritt was present during OTAs, but did not participate. It is becoming more and more likely that the Chiefs will sign Merritt and put him on the physically unable to perform list, or release him and try to slide him on to the practice squad.

Joachim, 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds, failed to record a receiving touchdown last season for UCF.

Marshall led the Arena Football League in all purpose yards in 2006 and 2007, while playing for the Los Angeles Avengers and the Grand Rapids Rampage. He attended nearby Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kansas. He leads the Braves in all-time touchdowns and points scored.

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