Who should be the Kansas City Chiefs number two cornerback?
As I’ve already stated, it was when Kansas City moved Terrance Mitchell into the cornerback rotation that they finally got some stability at the position. He has received a lot of credit amongst Chiefs fans for it and many believe him to be the front runner for the number two cornerback spot because of it. As I also already stated, many are overlooking the fact that Steven Nelson was ahead of him on the depth chart and played significantly more snaps than Mitchell did down the stretch. So will things be different when the 2017 season opens? Will a full offseason with the team give him the experience and trust of the coaching staff that he needs to unseat Nelson as the official starter?
Mitchell isn’t actually much taller than Nelson, measuring in just one inch taller at 5-foot-11. However, he plays taller. I know that sounds silly, but if you watch tape of both Nelson and Mitchell playing on the outside Nelson just looks like his height is more of an issue. The Chiefs clearly believe that Nelson is better suited to play in the slot than Mitchell is or they wouldn’t have moved Nelson inside in the sub package. If that’s the case then it might make sense to move Nelson inside full time and let each man focus on their primary spot.
According to Pro Football Focus, quarterbacks had only a 55.5 Quarterback Rating when throwing at Mitchell last season. That’s a fantastic number. He also had six pass deflections in his six games played. If he averaged a deflection a game over a 16 game season it would put him in the top 20 in the NFL most seasons. There is definite upside there and the Chiefs may very well want to give him the first shot at earning the starting job in camp.
The case against Mitchell comes down to sample size. Mitchell is a former seventh round draft pick that couldn’t make multiple cornerback needy teams in the Cowboys, Bears, and Texans. Yes, he had a very impressive six game stretch, but not every player can maintain a hot streak for their entire career. Marcus Cooper looked like the future at the position one minute and then suddenly quarterbacks were picking him apart left and right. Phillip Gaines looked promising in his early days but then last season he was just flat out bad most of the time. It is certainly possible that Mitchell could be the next name on that list of once promising corners who couldn’t maintain their quality of play in the long run.
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Mitchell in Kansas City.
Finally, what if the Chiefs number two corner isn’t currently on the roster?