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.