How does the Kansas City Chiefs roster compare to 2018?
By Drew Brooks
2018 secondary (10): Eric Berry, Ron Parker, Jordan Lucas, Eric Murray, Kendall Fuller, Steven Nelson, Orlando Scandrick, Charvarius Ward, Tremon Smith, Armani Watts
2019 secondary (10): Tyrann Mathieu, Daniel Sorenson, Juan Thornhill, Armani Watts, Jordan Lucas, Kendall Fuller, Bashaud Breeland, Charvarius Ward, Rashad Fenton, Tremon Smith
The position that the Chiefs struggled at most last year was the secondary. This year, the Chiefs have added safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Juan Thornhill and cornerback Bashaud Breeland, while saying goodbye to safety Eric Berry and cornerback Steven Nelson.
The Chiefs’ biggest move in free agency was signing safety Tyrann Mathieu, who played with the Arizona Cardinals most of his career and this last season with the Houston Texans. Mathieu brings a lot of talent and veteran leadership to a young Chiefs secondary and is clearly going to be a huge addition to the secondary.
Mathieu will be coming in to fill the void of Eric Berry, who the Chiefs released at the end of last season in a bittersweet move. Berry spent his entire nine-year career with the Chiefs, but ultimately couldn’t stay healthy. After playing three games for the Chiefs in the past two seasons, the Chiefs decided it best to part ways with him.
Another safety the Chiefs acquired is Juan Thornhill, who they drafted in the second-round of the 2019 NFL draft. Thornhill is a versatile safety who turned heads in training camp as he picked up right where he left off from the University of Virginia as a ballhawk. While he won’t be starting right away, it won’t be surprising for him to earn the starting spot early on in the season.
At cornerback, the Chiefs had one big loss in Steven Nelson, who was their highest rated corner according to Pro Football Focus. Nelson signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers to a three-year deal worth an upwards of $25.5 million. In response to losing Nelson in free agency, the Chiefs signed free agent cornerback Bashaud Breeland to a one-year deal.
Breeland dealt with a cut on his foot that caused him to fail his physical last year with the Carolina Panthers, and ultimately signed with the Green Bay Packers for a deal under $1 million last season even though he visited and spent significant time in Kansas City. He went on to start 5 and play in 7 games for the Packers and recorded 2 interceptions and 20 tackles during this time. This year, Breeland has vowed to have the “biggest comeback of 2019.”
Along with the addition of Breeland, the Chiefs signed former Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne. Claiborne is, like De’Anthony Thomas, in limbo for the time being due to a four-game suspension. The Chiefs are able to keep another player on the roster for now, but when they activate Claiborne after his suspension they will have to make a corresponding move.
The last new addition to the Chiefs secondary is cornerback Rashad Fenton. The Chiefs drafted Fenton in the sixth-round of the 2019 NFL draft out of South Carolina. While Fenton is unlikely to start, if the Chiefs face any injuries among their cornerbacks Fenton will be forced to step in as the Chiefs lack any significant depth at cornerback.
Next, let’s take a look at the special teams: