Aug 7, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Phillip Gaines (23) on the line of scrimmage during the second of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals half at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 41 – 39. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
The Kansas City Chiefs have a very talented roster. The Chiefs currently have 10 Pro Bowlers on the roster; five having been invited to play in Arizona in 2015 including Dontari Poe, Tamba Hali, Justin Houston, Jamaal Charles and Jeremy Maclin, who opted out due to personal reasons. But who are the players who are on the verge of joining this group of nationally recognized players?
Firstly, some honorable mentions. Jaye Howard was tipped to break out earlier on Arrowhead Addict. While I don’t disagree with this statement, I feel that these five players have either greater ability or opportunity to have a truly excellent season. Further players that were close to making this list were the rookies Marcus Peters and Chris Conley and second year right guard Zach Fulton. I also considered Cairo Santos, but thought to keep the list to purely offensive and defensive players. Anyway, onto the list…
The first potential breakout player is second-year cornerback Phillip Gaines. Gaines’ game is built upon his speed. He is, quite simply, fast. Running a 4.38 40-yard dash, second in the combine for all corners and fifth for all positions. Moreover, Gaines has great balance and quickness. His 6.62 3-cone drill at the combine again ranked him 2nd for all corners in the 2014 draft, and he displayed his agility and speed throughout his rookie year.
Gaines mainly played in Nickel or Dime packages, and was used a slot corner extensively by defensive coordinator Bob Sutton. In 2015, Gaines looks set to see more snaps as a slot corner, but will challenge rookie Marcus Peters to play opposite Sean Smith on the outside.
Look to see Gaines become one of the leaders of this young secondary, especially while Smith is suspended. He has looked, according to many reports, to be full of confidence during OTAs, playing at a level above which many expect. Gaines will be challenging to be the best corner in Kansas; the best out of a very good bunch.
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