Chiefs roster 2015: Will DeVante Bausby make it?

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Over the next few weeks, we will look at players currently on the Kansas City Chiefs roster with a chance to make the team out of training camp, starting with those players most likely to make the team.

We will start with cornerback DeVante Bausby, the Pittsburg State product and Kansas City native. We will analyze the good, followed by the not so good.

Bausby, standing around 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, possesses the physical tools the Kansas City staff looks for in corners. His greatest asset, at least on film, appears to be his instincts. Bausby appears to diagnose plays quickly and act just as quickly. There is not a lot of wasted motion when reacting, especially to a ball in the air, allowing him to consistently make plays on the football.

Going along with his solid instincts, Bausby posses above-average ball skills. He attacks the ball in the air with confidence, coming down with four interceptions his senior year with the Gorillas, 11 in his four-year career. Bausby possesses average to above-average hands and catches with his hands, allowing him to convert touches to interceptions. During his junior year, the game against Northwest Missouri shows this pension for making plays. He comes off his man on the short side of the field, reads the quarterbacks eyes, coming across the field to make an interception.

Lastly, Bausby is the best player on the field, and the best athlete. This may sound trivial, but in most cases, when looking for players that are going to make the jump from the lower levels, don’t look for players who are good at lower levels, find the players who’s athleticism stands out.  Technique and form can be taught, or more honestly, refined. Players who stand out on film with their athleticism, speed and instincts are the players most likely to make teams.

The issues with Bausby, while not great in quantity, are rather glaring when watching film. Many of Bausby’s highlights come when he’s playing off-man coverage, almost a zone scheme. Obviously, our beloved Chiefs don’t ask our corners to do that often.

When he plays in press coverage, his deficiencies become obvious. Many come from a player who is far more comfortable with his athleticism then his technique, which helps explain the difference in the confidence in which he plays. His hips, when playing press coverage, can become stiff, forcing him to struggle in turning and running on deep pass routes. While he was able to get away with this at the D-II level, an NFL-caliber quarterback, even an average one, would feast all game.

When receivers would cut or commit to an inside route, he would immediately open his hips, committing his lower half to an inside route.  The reason this is such a concern is it limits his ability to change direction during the route until he gets his feet again.  A double move, and Bausby would be several steps behind the receiver.

Bausby also likes to take a lot of chances and guesses… a lot.  Again, this comes back to a player who trusts his athleticism and instincts. He believes he will make the play. As I mentioned before, in the 2013 match up with Northwest Missouri, he comes all the way across the field, from the near numbers to the far hashmarks to make an interception. Yea he made a play and created a turnover deep in their own territory, stopping a scoring opportunity. The issue is that he breaks on the play and leaves his receiver before the ball is released. Well before. This comes back to Bausby’s ability, with his eyes in the backfield, to read and react. He sees a player breaking towards the end zone and makes the play. The concern is, would an NFL quarterback be able to see him coming off his receiver, and attack his open receiver.

Bausby’s lack of competition really streamlines the issues addressed above. Athleticism, instincts and confidence are obvious when watching tape. So are the issues with technique, and more specifically, trusting the technique. How many plays does he make because the quarterback lacks accuracy to the perimeter, or the arm strength to get the ball out ahead of his receiver are all valid questions.  Also, it is worth noting, he makes these plays. Other players do not make the plays he is. Important to point that out.

In summation, Bausby does have an opportunity to make this team. Obviously, he’ll have to show he can contribute on special teams to help his case. But if he can clean up his technique wit quality coaching, he has an opportunity to make the team. Worries about getting him to the practice squad could keep him on the active roster over Marcus Cooper come cut day. The staff I’m sure would prefer to put him on the practice squad, but may be unable to do so. It should be noted, perhaps ironically, many of Cooper’s strengths and weaknesses mirror those of Bausby.

Prediction: Bausby will make the Chiefs opening day roster, and will take the fifth spot at corner and contribute on special teams, and the team will let go either Marcus Cooper or Jamell Flemming.