Free Agency Mock Draft: The Seven Most Impactful Free Agents For The Kansas City Chiefs
By Ben Nielsen
Jan 18, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell (41) celebrates his second quarter interception against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Round Four: Byron Maxwell
Kansas City’s secondary took a huge step forward in 2014 from their awful showing in 2013 that culminating with a crushing playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Even without Eric Berry for the majority of the season and with the drop off from Marcus Cooper, the Chiefs ranked second in the NFL in passing yards allowed, third in yards per attempt, and did not allow a single 300 yard passing game. All of this even though they played Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers twice, and had games against Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, and Ben Roethlisberger.
Still, the Chiefs’ secondary has some holes. Their six interceptions this season where tied with the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets for fewest in the NFL. One could argue the Chiefs’ inability to intercept the ball may have cost them one or two potential wins throughout the season.
Between Ron Parker, Husain Abdullah, and Kurt Coleman, the safeties played pretty well for the Chiefs this season. Those three players combined to intercept five of the defense’s six interceptions, and a cumulative +11.9 PFF grade in pass coverage.
The cornerback situation, however, was a problem for the Chiefs. Sean Smith had a hell of a season but he’ll be a free agent after the 2015 season. Plus, can the Chiefs count on him to put together another season like he had in 2014? Phillip Gaines and Jamell Fleming flashed some promise as young players but there are still question marks with both of them.
Kansas City must find a veteran cornerback to pair with another draft pick to add the kind of depth the Chiefs need at the position in order to leap into the ‘elite defense’ level. This means creating more turnovers, being able to neutralize elite receivers (KC will play against Calvin Johnson, Jordy Nelson, Demaryius Thomas, and A.J. Green in 2015), and playing better against the run (KC’s secondary had a -18.7 PFF grade against the run in 2014).
Maxwell provides some of those things to the secondary. He’s big, physical, and would fit with the type of scheme the Chiefs run. In 2014 he allowed one touchdown reception with three interceptions and seven passes defended. The combination of Maxwell, Smith, Gaines, Fleming, and a draft pick should be able to provide enough numbers and depth to compete against teams with quality receivers plus give two guys in Gaines and a draft pick who could develop into ‘number one’ corners. A Maxwell signing would also give the Chiefs a replacement for Smith if the Chiefs cannot reach a reasonable deal with him.
Making the Super Bowl in the Alex Smith era isn’t going to be about having elite receivers but about having an elite defense. Pouring resources into the defense makes more sense for the Chiefs than trying to win shootouts week in and week out.
With that said…
Next: Round Five