September 29, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Rice Owls cornerback Phillip Gaines (15) defends against a pass intended for Houston Cougars wide receiver Dewayne Peace (9) in the fourth quarter at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

2014 Kansas City Chiefs Draft Grade: Phillip Gaines

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He’s not a receivers, but he sounds like a hell of a potential talent at cornerback.

Kansas City selected Philip Gaines with the 87th pick in the draft and he looks like a guy who can grow into being a very solid corner for the Chiefs. Here are a few scouting reports on him and a few thoughts on how he fits on the Chiefs.

Dane Brugler on Gaines:

Good-sized athlete and looks the part with a solid build and long arms. Natural burst, decisive strides and good straight-line speed. Fluid footwork and redirection skills to easily turn and stay hip-to-hip vertically. Strong plant foot to click-and-close in a flash with conviction.

Won’t take unnecessary steps and mirrors well with proper body discipline. Patient, controlled feet. Physical in press with strong hands to initiate contact at the point of attack. Alert and rarely falls asleep at the wheel. Locates well and gets his hands on the ball – only 32.5% of passes thrown his way in 2013 were completed.

Good work ethic and a team-first guy with the right priorities, two-year team captain. Four-year starter (45 career starts) with experience in both man and zone coverage and holds the school record for career passes defended (42).

Walter Football on Gaines, who he had ranked as the 10th best corner in the draft:

Gaines was another star of the Combine who used the opportunity to really help his draft stock. He blistered the 40-yard dash and did well in the field drills, so he used the Combine to his advantage to command more attention from teams. The senior recorded 36 tackles with four interceptions and nine passes broken up in 2013. In 2012, he had 33 tackles with 18 passes defended. 

Gaines clearly has a nice combination of size and speed. It isn’t surprising that his stock has climbed in the lead up to the 2014 NFL Draft. Gaines may go earlier than most projections; the second round isn’t out of the realm of possibility. 

The immediate thought for this pick is what does this mean for Brandon Flowers? This is a fair question given how much of the cap room he occupies, the Chiefs’ need to re-sign key pending free agents, and the thought that Flowers isn’t a good fit for what the Chiefs are trying to do on defense. All of these are solid points.

However, the Chiefs love to use as many defensive backs as possible. They’ll have six defensive backs on the field at any given time, and they need them in a division where Denver and San Diego love to spread the field. Adding Gaines gives the Chiefs three solid options on the outside – Gaines, Sean Smith, and Marcus Cooper – and two good options on the inside in Flowers and Chris Owens. Kansas City is better at cornerback today than they were a year ago, no doubt.

It would not be a surprise to me if the Chiefs keep Flowers beyond 2014. I think they really like what he has to offer as a physical inside cornerback. The issue last year was when Flowers was forced to the outside to cover taller receivers like Dez Bryant and Eric Decker. If that job is now occupied by Cooper and Smith, with Gaines giving either one a breather for a few downs, the Flowers can stick on the inside.

Gaines has a great deal of upside to eventually take a starting spot at corner. His length and ball skills matched with his speed and versatility are very appealing. While a wide receiver would have been nice in round three, I’d give the Chiefs’ selection of Gaines a B.

Now it is your turn, Addicts. What grade do you give the Gaines pick?

How would you grade the selection of Phillip Gaines?

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