CB Phillip Gaines
There hasn’t been a Chiefs offseason issue more heatedly discussed than: the replacement for cornerback Sean Smith. Does that place an undue amount of pressure on third year man Phillip Gaines? Who knows for sure but you can bet, like most players, he’s chomping at the bit to get his chance to be the one.
The Chiefs may take a corner early in this year’s draft but Phillip Gaines will still play a huge role in the Chiefs defensive backfield this year, even if a rookie corner comes in and plays as good as Marcus Peters did last year.
The real pressure on Phillip Gaines exists simply because so many NFL teams use multiple wide receiver sets and even if the Chiefs do find mister-right-cornerback in this draft Gaines will be called upon most likely as a nickel back.
Let’s review who Phillip Gaines is. He played his college ball at Rice,
+ In 2009 he started 4 games as a true freshman and missed the last 3 with a wrist injury.
+ In 2010 Gaines started 10 games, played in 12, with 64 tackles, 6 passes defensed and 0 INTs.
+ In the spring of 2011 Phillip Gaines was arrested on a marijuana charge and spent one year on probation. On the field he hurt his foot in the 4th game and got a medical hardship for the remainder of the year.
+ He was healthy for the first time in 2012, started all 13 games, had 33 tackles, with 18 passes defensed (which ranked 2nd in the country).
+ In 2013 Phillip Gaines had 36 tackles with 9 passes defensed and because he was the primary right cornerback, teams were throwing away from him, and still he had 4 INTs and 4 tackles for a loss.
In June of 2015, Sean Keeler wrote a piece for Fox Sports called, “Chiefs CB Gaines is starting to become king of once-dreaded ‘Island’” in which he quoted head coach Andy Reid,
"“He’s smart and he’s fast and he’s got good hips. He hit a low during training camp (last year) where nothing was going right for him for about two days there. And then he kind of picked himself off the mat and whether he rearranged his thought process, whatever it was that took place, he just kept getting better from that point. And he had some good downs for us last year and now coming out here, he’s jumped right in and he looks terrific.”"
Gaines added six pounds of muscle last offseason and since his ACL injury was the third week of the season he should be back up and ready to go stronger than ever for the Chiefs offseason program.
Mike Mayock of NFL.com said of Phillip Gaines coming out of college,
"“He’s a long corner who had a tremendous combine workout. I felt like he’s a developmental guy, but he has starter skills.”"
With 4.38 speed, and as Mayock likes to often say, “twitchy” quickness, Gaines should eventually mature into an excellent corner. That combination of speed and quickness is what makes him such a threat inside or out. Two months ago Tarek Mavani wrote an article for AA called, “Chiefs Film Room: What do we have in Phillip Gaines?” in which he said,
"“… the area where Gaines’ game shines the brightest: bump and run coverage. It’s kind of ironic how this has developed into such a vital component of his game considering NFL.com’s scouting profile on him said he lacks physicality (oh, and they also said he shouldn’t be drafted). Safe to say NFL.com whiffed on that piece of analysis; the guy thrives when he gets his hands on a receiver at the line.”"
With this being Gaines third season, although he was out most of last year, we should be able to expect that this is the year he puts it all together and shows everyone his skills. Probably more than any other player drafted in 2014, Phillip Gaines will need to come through for the Chiefs in order for the team to achieve it’s Super goal.
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