Kansas City Chiefs: the top sleepers on the 2015 roster

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Sanders Commings

Exhibitions included, the Chiefs have played 41 games in the past two seasons. And throughout those 41 games, Sanders Commings has played three defensive snaps.

Being that he’s a former fifth-rounder who’s plagued by injuries, you might ask yourself why the Chiefs are holding out hope for him.

The short answer? This:

In the first play of his NFL career, Commings squared up Knowshon Moreno, tattooed him with an audible thud—leading to Cris Collinsworth inadvertently interrupting Michele Tafoya—and nearly ripped Kendrick Lewis’ arm out of his socket in celebration.

On the subsequent play, Commings lined up in inside technique and shadowed Andre Caldwell down the sideline.

On his third and final snap, he jostled with Demaryius Thomas while Denver botched a double-slants concept on the opposite side of the field. Following that play, the then-rookie vanishes, Marcus Cooper takes his place and Thomas burns No. 31 for a 29-yard gain.

I’ve beaten the drum for Commings since the moment the Chiefs drafted him. He’s basically a slightly shorter but infinitely faster version of Brandon Browner, whose story also serves as Exhibit A in defending talented but injured up-and-comers.

A fractured forearm canceled out Browner’s rookie season, and the Broncos ultimately waived him a year later. However, after a decorated CFL stint, he returned to the NFL and became one of the better press corners in the league.

Similarly, the Chiefs know that if they release Commings, there’s a good chance that the move will come back to bite them. His skill set mirrors the strengths of Ron Parker and upgrades his weaknesses (tackling, technique, agility, etc.).

Furthermore, Commings will, from a contractual standpoint, enter 2015 as a rookie. Since his first two seasons ended on the IR, the 25-year-old doesn’t have an accrued season to his name. That being the case, his 2015 base salary is set at the rookie minimum, and when his contract expires (2017), he’ll become an exclusive-rights free agent. (If tendered, he could only negotiate with the Chiefs.)

All things considered, Commings is still a low-risk, high-return investment, but he has to survive the offseason before he can prove why.

Next: Chiefs rookie minicamp: 4 things to watch

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