They are the last line of this defense. They are used three at a time by Bob Sutton. The problem is that the Chiefs only have one proven safety ready to man one of the top three safety roles.
With the Eric Berry’s contract vs franchise tag dilemma coming down to the deadline, the question could get very real. He could sign a contract or let the deadline pass and play under the franchise tag. He could even quietly do what Von Miller has been threatening to do to the Broncos… miss games.
I expect Berry to be in camp on time, one way or another. If I am wrong and he does not report to camp, it makes another question father down the depth chart all that more important. When Berry lines up at nickel linebacker, as our Ben Almquist said, who can be the third safety on the field? What do the Chiefs have beyond Eric Berry and Ron Parker?
Veterans, Journeymen and a Young Gun
Stevie Brown went into OTAs with the advantage only experience brings. He was signed to compete with a young, athletic group of converted corners now playing safety. Brown entered the league in 2010, but has only played in two of the last four seasons. All eight of his career interceptions came in 2012 which may prove to be the peak of his NFL career. While experience is an edge, it may not be enough to secure him a spot on the roster. Don’t expect him to be the next Kurt Coleman.
Daniel Sorensen has seen the field on defense on a few occasions over the last two seasons. In 2015, he even racked up two defensive stats when he recorded a sack and two PBUs. Despite being forced onto the field, Sorensen remains a liability on defense. His special teams play has been solid and will be his best chance to make the 53-man roster in 2016.
Two familiar players continue their NFL journeys with the move to safety. Marcus Copper and Jamell Fleming have both played significant snaps for the Chiefs in the past, but as cornerbacks. Now, they are fighting to make the move to safety.
While both have proven vulnerable in man coverage, they both have valuable experience in the Sutton defense. They will have to lean on that experience during training camp. Fleming would appear to have a good chance at making the roster. He showed he can be solid in zone coverage and that skill set is imperative for a Kansas City safety. Fleming could push for that 3rd safety spot.
Cooper may be the odd man out at the position. His zone awareness is a concern and his aggressive play will leave him susceptible to manipulation while reading the opposing quarterbacks. Its hard to see Cooper as more than a special teams player and that may not be enough to make the 53-man roster.
The young gun in the mix is fourth-round draft pick Eric Murray. Playing at Minnesota, he played in
press-man more than zone. He showed skill in both schemes and has practiced as safety since joining the Chiefs. He brings grit, physicality and work ethic to the table. He would be a candidate to play the third safety and be able to shift to nickel corner when needed. Look for him to be in the running at safety and easily make the roster.
Check out the podcast for the long shots we think could surprise at camp and carve out a place for themselves, much like Justin March did in 2015.
How safe do you feel with the backup safeties, Addicts?