2014 NFL Combine Preview: Five Secondary Players to Watch

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Jan 1, 2014; Tampa, Fl, USA; LSU Tigers safety Craig Loston (6) reacts after they stopped him on third down during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. LSU Tigers defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes 21-14. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Combine starts Saturday, which means we are getting closer and closer to figuring out who the Kansas City Chiefs are going to select in the 2014 draft. For the next few days we are going to take a look at some of the guys who could play in to the Chiefs draft thoughts and therefore, should have your attention at the combine.

Today we’re going to take a look at some secondary players who we know are already on Kansas City’s radar.

Much has been made of the Chiefs’ second half issues defending the pass, and the secondary has taken most of the heat. For the Chiefs to continue to run the style of defense they want to play, they’ll need to find at least one more corner and a free safety with the size and speed to handle man coverage. This will especially be true if Kansas City has to play another season with Eric Berry essentially playing linebacker.

We know this for sure: John Dorsey is going to go after big defensive backs. There are more talented defensive backs in this draft than the ones listed below but size matters to Dorsey. This is a Ron Wolf principle Dorsey has accepted as gospel. Keep that in mind when watching the combine.

Here are the five defensive backs we know the Chiefs have already met with.

1. Craig Loston (Safety)

School: LSU
Watch to Watch: Speed Turn Drill, 40-Dash, Bench Press, medicals
2013 Stats: 57 tackles, three interceptions, four tackles for loss, a sack
Met with Chiefs: Yes

He’s listed as a strong safety, but there is a thought Loston could play free safety in the NFL. Coverage skills are there – he had a key interception in LSU’s Outback Bowl win – and is a solid tackler. But he spent a lot of time in college in the box, so the transition to free safety would take some time.

Loston would probably get a lot of first round consideration if he didn’t have a history of injuries. He hasn’t had a major injury in his career but he has routinely missed games due to minor injuries. How his medicals check out will be key for him.

Loston also needs to show the basics of being able to translate his college pass coverage ability to the pros. Covering tight ends and slot receivers was a strength for him, but wide receivers with speed were an issue. The size and ability to play the position are there, but Kansas City needs a safety who can perform well in coverage. Speed and how he does in the turn drill will be something to watch.

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  • berttheclock

    Dorsey must have his reasons for that minimum height requirement, but, if he is basing it on the taller members of Seattle’s defensive backfield, he would not be able to pick up Earl Thomas, their All-Pro safety, who is only five ten. Yes, there is a fetish in the league for taller wide outs, but, just being tall to defend against them overlooks other important traits such as closing speed, hitting power and being able to come up quickly to jam TEs. King Carl wanted only certain six five computer models as his QBs and would have never had such as Russell Wilson leading his teams.

    This is beginning to remind me of certain elite military and/or quasi political/military units of Europe, past and present. In Italy, one must be six three to become a member of the Carabinieri. In Germany of old, one had to be six two to qualify for wearing a Death’s Head.

    Shame to not see the hard hitting, very fast closing safety Lamarcus Joyner on the list. He will be quite a success for any NFL team which picks him. But, apparently, not for the Chiefs as he is only five eight.

    • mnelson52

      They should allow for the fact that some of the shorter guys have the ability to jump 43 or 44 inches. If they can do that plus cover good, with good closing speed , and hit hard, I would have to consider them strongly. The Seattle DBs hit so hard that the receivers were growing scared of catching the ball, and were just beat up at the end of the day. That’s what I want KC to do, no matter whether they are 5’10 or 6’3.

  • freshmeat62

    I’ve noticed one thing about the measurable’s of college players. They usually tend to deceive toward the ideal height and/or weight. Where the ideal height for certain positions may be 6-3 or 6-4, the roster may say 6-1, when they are really only 5-11. The listed height of QB’s that I would always question is 6-2. That seems to be the minimum acceptable height. I’d bet that 99% of those QB’s listed at 6-2, are at least 2″ shorter. And if they really are 6-2, they’re listed at 6-3.

    The combine is where we find out the facts.

    • berttheclock

      Very similar to college basketball. “Yea! We have a seven footer”. er, no, six eleven, perhaps. Or some of those six nine guys who are closer to six eight. Even works with point guards trying to get over that six foot model.

      I still recall standing next to Pat Haden, the former QB for the Trojans and the Rams. He was listed at five ten. I was closer to five ten than my preferred five eleven wish list and, as I stood next to him in a sporting goods store in LA, I noticed I was taller. As he used to say, ‘I don’t throw over tall defensive players. I throw between them.’

  • unclejesse40

    I like the LSU Safety and the Nebraska Corner. The McGill guy did not impress me at all.

  • Tristian

    Love this kid to death. Got a chance to watch a lot of him at Florida State this year and he to me is the best safety in the class hands down. Add in running a 4.41 and he has Earl Thomas written all over him. But he can really cover as a single high safety and cover the slot which we need. Would love him at #23 in May