Kansas City Chiefs: A Final 2015 NFL Draft Wish List

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Sep 27, 2014; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Utes defensive back Eric Rowe (18) intercepts the football and runs into the end zone during the first quarter against the Washington State Cougars at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports


Cornerback is another position that I believe the Kansas City Chiefs need to address early in the 2015 draft. Sean Smith is entering his contract year and is suspended for the first two games of the season (including a showdown with Peyton Manning and the Broncos). The starting spot across from Smith is basically wide open with the two current best options being a guy with concussion issues (Phillip Gaines) and a guy they signed off the street last season (Jamell Fleming). There is also a potential opening for a nickel back in the sub package where Chris Owens played at times last year but has not been re-signed.

I spent a lot of time watching cornerback prospects and looking for guys that I liked that I thought the Chiefs might target as starting outside corners in their press man system. If you look at the average height and weight of the five guys that saw time at outside cornerback for the Chiefs last season (Sean Smith, Ron Parker, Marcus Cooper, Phillip Gaines, and Jamell Fleming) the average size is 6’1″ and 203 lbs. So after watching all the top prospects I came away with a couple of guys that I believe fit the profile.

1A. Byron Jones – Connecticut – 6’1″ 199 lbs

Byron Jones is a physical specimen. His freakish athleticism made him a combine star and he appears better suited for press man duty than some of the other top corner prospects that possess a leaner build. Jones is still a little raw but is reportedly very smart and a hard worker. If the Chiefs believe that their coaches can get him to play with great technique, Jones may be a target for the Chiefs in the first round. If KC could get him in the second I would be ecstatic, but that looks unlikely at this point.

1B. Eric Rowe – Utah – 6’1″ 205 lbs

I was late coming around to Eric Rowe. I became enamored with Byron Jones early on and after reading several scouting reports that said Rowe would be best served playing safety in the NFL I passed him over in favor of the UConn combine standout. However, when I finally got around to watching Rowe on tape I came away impressed. I think Rowe is the most physical cornerback at the line of scrimmage when lining up over a wide receiver in press man (what KC runs). While he’s not a burner, he’s easily as fast or faster than Sean Smith (his fellow Utah grad) is. While he may not be the all around athletic freak that Jones is, he still ran a 4.45 forty and I like his coverage skills up at the line a little better at this point. I would LOVE it if KC landed Rowe in the second round and if they liked him enough to take him in the first round over other bigger name corners I wouldn’t throw my remote at the TV in disgust.

2. Steven Nelson – Oregon State – 5’10” 197 lbs

If the Chiefs decide to pass on the cornerback position in the first couple of rounds I hope they strongly consider taking a look at Oregon State’s Steven Nelson. Nelson is shorter than what the Chiefs appear to look for in their starting outside corners, but I believe Nelson would be a fantastic nickel corner for KC. Nelson is very physical for a corner his size. In fact, according to the new College Football Focus (the offshoot of Pro Football Focus) Nelson was the only corner last season to not be credited with a single missed tackle. I think Nelson is perfect to play inside in the sub package and is just scrappy enough that he could even fill in some on the outside if the Chiefs needed him to (like while Sean Smith is suspended). If the Chiefs don’t go with a corner in the first couple of rounds I would love for them to target Nelson in the third or fourth round.

Not Making My Wish List:

All The Other Top Cornerbacks

There are several other possible early round cornerbacks that the Chiefs could consider, but I had some concerns about all of them. Trae Waynes is a good prospect but I think he might be too frail to play the physical style of press man that KC likes. Marcus Peters plays more physical but he has too many red flags personality wise for my liking. Jalen Collins looks like the perfect press man corner, but something just doesn’t seem right with him. His technique is really raw and the fact that he didn’t really play all that much at LSU is a concern (recent reports of failed drug tests could be a factor). The toughest omission from my wish list was Kevin Johnson. I like Johnson a lot and he almost made this list. In the end, like Waynes, I think he may just be a little to frail of frame for what the Chiefs want as an outside starting corner in their press man scheme. That having been said, his coverage abilities are solid and if KC ended up selecting him I wouldn’t fall out of my chair, I just think the other corners I mentioned above fit their needs better.

So there you have it Addicts, my final wish list for this week’s NFL Draft. Do you agree with the positions that I’ve focused on? Would you add any other positions to the “must draft” list? What players are at the top of your wish list? Do you have any issues with the players I singled out as not being on my wish list? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!