Kansas City Chiefs: first-year projections for the 2015 rookie class

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Marcus Peters

Prior to April 30, no Oaklander had been embraced by Kansas City since the Year of the Hammer Pant. It would’ve been like walking in and seeing Mad Max passing the Thanksgiving yams to Toecutter.

And then there was one.

Most of you know the SparkNotes version of Marcus Peters’ story by now; a talented but temperamental coach’s son who was banished from his college football team. He cleansed his soul, they hugged it out, yadda yadda.

Maybe Peters had a come-to-Jesus moment; maybe he didn’t. Either way, Sean Smith is entering a contract year that’s bound to open with a suspension, and two of Phillip Gaines’ seasons at Rice were cut short due to injury.

That being the case, taking a gamble on the best cornerback in the draft—and make no mistake: Peters is exactly that—is a no-brainer, particularly when you’re in a three-horse race with Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning.

On the field, the first-rounder left his mark on every game I watched. If I had to compare his skill set (and demeanor) to cornerbacks of Chiefs past, I’d say it’s a blend of Dale Carter and Brandon Flowers, which speaks to Peters’ diversity.

Like Carter, every down doubles as another round of psychological warfare for Peters. He wants you to know that he’s not just another cornerback, but you are just another receiver.

He has the frame and ability to play press- or off-man coverage, and he’s never met a risk that he didn’t like (which can to highlight-reel interceptions or touchdown-saving penalties).

Like Flowers, he doesn’t have grade-A recovery speed, but he effortlessly plants and drives on anything in front of him. He’s a physical corner and willing tackler who totes keen instincts and impressive hip fluidity.

If Bob Sutton went into the lab and crafted the ideal cornerback for his system, it’d look a lot like the 18th overall pick. And while his clashes with the current University of Washington coaching staff remain a concern, he always maintained a healthy relationship with his teammates, and he didn’t lack in likability leading up to the draft, (Fast-forward to 6:59 in the above video to watch his reaction throughout the first round, including the moment when Kansas City selects him.)

If you’re still on the fence, consider this: An NFC scout told NFL.com that Peters is the best cornerback prospect he’s seen since studying Champ Bailey 14 years ago.

Welcome to the bandwagon.

2015 Projection: Week 1 starter who makes a case for Defensive Rookie of the Year.