Kansas City Chiefs gradecard: The defense

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 07: Linebackers Tamba Hali
KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 07: Linebackers Tamba Hali /
5 of 6
KANSAS CITY, MO – JANUARY 3: Marcus Peters
KANSAS CITY, MO – JANUARY 3: Marcus Peters /


Key Players On Depth Chart:
Marcus Peters
Phillip Gaines
Steven Nelson
KeiVarae Russell
Eric Murray
D.J. White

Positional Grade: C

This is another really hard group to grade. On one hand you have the most promising young corner in the NFL. On the other hand you have a WHOLE lot of questions. Can Phillip Gaines stay healthy and lock down the starting spot opposite Peters?

Can Steven Nelson show the lateral quickness needed to keep up with slot receivers and lock down the nickel corner spot? Will any of the three rookies KC drafted step up and be a key contributor in their first season?

That’s a lot of question marks.

Frankly, even Marcus Peters has some questions. Can he repeat his ballhawking ways when he’s now the number one corner and lining up against number one wideouts every week? Will QBs avoid him altogether and attack the other corners? Will he suffer a Sophomore slump? While I believe in Peters I simply can’t justify giving the entire position group a high grade because of his talents. Phillip Gaines is probably the player with the most potential to raise this position group grade.

If he can stay healthy and prove to be an above average corner opposite Peters it will be a huge step for the KC secondary. While maybe not as important as the starting outside corner spot, the slot corner in the sub package has pretty much become a starting position in today’s NFL. Steven Nelson didn’t see the field much as a rookie, but the hope has to be that he’s the guy to start their in 2016.

The Chiefs drafted a trio of corners in KeiVarae Russell, Eric Murray, and D.J. White. While that gives the Chiefs defense a lot of promising young talent it gives them almost zero experience coming off the bench.

This group has a truck load of upside, but in terms of tangible proof of their NFL abilities, they’re lacking. Gaines is likely to be the oldest corner on the roster and he’s just 25 years old. Hopefully that youth steps up and this grade is much higher by the end of the season, but for now I can’t go any higher than a “C.”

Finally, let’s look at the safeties.

Next: Grading KC's Safeties