In the mix: Phillip Gaines, Steven Nelson, KeiVarae Russell, Eric Murray, DJ White
While Marcus Peters returns as the reigning AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year, the rest of the cornerbacks are going to be fighting for playing time. Phillip Gaines will likely get the first shot at starting opposite of Peters, but Gaines has had such a hard time staying healthy that it becomes hard to put your faith in him locking down the position all season.
Steven Nelson is better suited for the slot with his short stature so if Gaines isn’t healthy it will fall on one of KC’s three rookie corners to step up and take the other outside corner spot. Russell was the first player taken and is probably the odds on favorite of the rookies, but I actually think the competition between the three rookie corners could be one of the best battles of both camp and the preseason with any of the three having a chance to earn the job.
Along with the starting guard spots, this position battle will have the biggest impact on the success of the 2016 Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs have invested a ton of draft picks on the corner position in the past three years. Hopefully their investment pays off.
The Third Safety:
In the mix: Stevie Brown, Jamell Fleming, Daniel Sorensen
The Kansas City Chiefs had arguably the deepest safety depth chart in the NFL last season. Eric Berry, Ron Parker, Husain Abdullah, and Tyvon Branch were all starting caliber NFL safeties and all four played significant minutes last season. The Chiefs love to use three safeties in their sub package and with both Abdullah and Branch now gone that means that KC must have one of the three players listed above step up and play like a starting caliber safety.
As much as I like Sorensen as a special teams player I don’t know that he has the coverage abilities needed to earn regular playing time. Stevie Brown had one stand out season for the New York Giants, but hasn’t been able to replicate that success since. Could he be the Chiefs next reclamation project? Let’s hope so, otherwise it will be up to the Chiefs coaches to try and convert Jamell Fleming into a solid safety much like they did with Ron Parker (who has equally horrible in coverage as a corner but has played well in the safety position).
If none of these three step up don’t be surprised if KC adds another proven veteran safety after rosters start cutting down. Having a third reliable safety is just too vital to the KC sub package for them to not have a guy they trust in there.
So what do you think, Addicts? Do you agree with this breakdown of which spots on the Chiefs roster are up for grabs? Do you think I missed any? Do you see any of these spots as already taken? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!