Kansas City Chiefs Draft preview: Cornerback first, everything else later

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 02: Running back Samaje Perine
KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 02: Running back Samaje Perine /

The NFL Draft is finally here, and it seems more evident than ever that the Chiefs have their sights set on a cornerback — and they should.

We’ve already talked (and I’ve already written) about Chiefs GM Brett Veach’s comments regarding his propensity for trading up in the Chiefs’ in-house mock drafts. We know that the Chiefs aren’t afraid of moving up. If they do get into the first round or move up in the second, who will be their target? At this point, it seems clear to me that the Chiefs have left one position particularly barren, which they plan to address Thursday or Friday.

Marcus Peters, Kendall Fuller and Steven Nelson as the Chiefs’ three top cornerbacks would have given Kansas City one of the five-best corner groups in football, but after the stunning Peters trade, the Chiefs have yet to fill the void left by one of the NFL’s best. (The NFL’s very best, according to Ian Wharton, who Cody Tapp talked to on the show podcasted above.) David Amerson is not solving the problems that Peters left when he was shipped to Los Angeles, so the Chiefs still have a major void to fill. (During the show, Ian also explains his pessimism regarding the Amerson addition.)

It’s too easy to exploit a defense with one crippling weakness at a cornerback position. Think of the countless times you cursed the name of Phillip Gaines because he was the one man in coverage who couldn’t stop getting burned. Think of the comparatively-decent play of Terrance Mitchell, often taken off the field in favor of Kenneth Acker. Think of the fact that the Chiefs went out and signed Darrelle Revis!

Could Steven Nelson continue to grow as a player? Sure. Could David Amerson revert to his form from a few years ago? I mean, there’s a chance. Is that the best way to build a competent defense?

No. Like, absolutely not. What a terrible idea. Why would you even suggest that? Good grief.

So why would the Chiefs go somewhere other than cornerback with their first pick? Reasonable cases have been made for additions at safety, defensive line and pass rusher. However, none of those arguments are as strong as the one for corner.

Lyle Graversen made a tremendous point about the Chiefs’ defense. If the pass rush and cornerback play improve, it tremendously decreases the weight heaped upon a weaker safety position. Besides, if Eric Berry can stay healthy, a Berry/Eric Murray duo is at least an improvement over last year’s Ron Parker/Daniel Sorensen tandem.

The defensive line could at least use another rotation player, eventually taking over the role that Allen Bailey would vacate next year, and NFL teams could always add another pass-rusher. But the Chiefs have Justin Houston and Dee Ford as this year’s top two pass-rushers, and Tanoh Kpassagnon is already their third and developmental option. Allen Bailey is almost certainly in his last year with the Chiefs, but his presence at least gives you the option to address the defensive end position with a more developmental pick later.

You could even make a case for an interior offensive lineman, though I would be catatonic for days.

For me, it’s clear. The Chiefs need to address the cornerback position first, and probably for a second time later in the draft. Not only do they need a corner for the future, they need one for now. And as one of the most vital positions in the modern NFL, it just makes too much sense.

Now, how do the Chiefs go about getting their corner? Kent Swanson says he’d like the Chiefs to trade back for more mid-round picks, and Matt Verderame says he’s ready to see the Chiefs jump up to get the star they’re looking for. In the interest of equal time, you can hear both of them make their cases on last night’s show, podcasted above.

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Subscribe to RTK on iTunes, get the show early, and never miss an episode. Roughing the Kicker is a Kansas City Chiefs podcast on Arrowhead Addict Radio, comprised of the Kansas City Chiefs content from (Almost) Entirely Sports on ESPN Kansas City.