Dec 7, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith (21) celebrates a play with safety Ron Parker (38) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Chiefs 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
ROUND FIVE: Cornerback
Who is the shutdown cornerback on this team?
The combination of Sean Smith, Phillip Gaines, and Jemel Flemming were very solid in holding down the fort at the cornerback position, even if creating turnovers was an issue for them. A team could do far worse than that trio of corners.
But if you’re going to evaluate the ‘elite’ defenses around the league, you’ll find each one has a guy one could consider a shutdown corner. Whether it is Richard Sherman, Derrelle Revis, or Patrick Petterson, great defenses have a guy on the outside who can lockdown their side of the field and allow the secondary to cover less area. KC really doesn’t have that.
As a result, the Chiefs scheme around the idea of keeping everything in front of them. Don’t let anyone get behind you and let the pass rush make the play. At some point, however, the secondary is going to have to make the play. Who is the guy in the secondary making that play for the Chiefs?
Given the Chiefs cap limitations and who is available in free agency, Dorsey is likely going to need to spend a draft pick on a guy who can develop into that shutdown caliber of player.
Good news for the Chiefs is you don’t have to spend a first round pick in order to find that shutdown cornerback. Chris Harris Jr. was an undrafted free agent, Richard Sherman was a fifth round pick, Alterran Verner was a fourth round pick, and Corey Graham was a fifth round pick. Those four guys make up half of the top eight PFF rated cornerback in the NFL last season.
That guy – a number one corner – will be there and available to develop at some point in the draft. Identifying him and developing him is the key. And who knows, maybe they already found that guy in Gaines.
Next: Round Six