Is cornerback really the Kansas City Chiefs biggest weakness?

Kansas City Chiefs Rashad Fenton (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs Rashad Fenton (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images) /

Cornerback is often cited as the Chiefs biggest weakness, but is that true?

One year ago, fans and analysts alike were wringing their hands over the state of things at cornerback for the Kansas City Chiefs. The position seemed woefully thin and general manager Brett Veach took some hits for not doing enough, so it seemed, at such an obvious need. Free agents went unsigned and, even worse, heralded draft prospect slid right by as the Chiefs shopped for other needs until Day 3.

Sound familiar? It should. The same things could be said about the 2020 offseason.

Fortunately, Veach has earned quite a bit of credibility at this point, so the questions this offseason aren’t nearly as loud as they were a year ago. Hoisting the Lombardi Trophy will do that for a person. This year, the Chiefs brought back Bashaud Breeland on a one-year deal, watched Kendall Fuller strike a big-money deal to return to Washington, and then floated through the first three rounds of the draft before deciding to address the position.

There was a day when the Chiefs made big acquisitions at the position. Sean Smith was a big-name free agent and Marcus Peters was a first-round pick under John Dorsey. Veach, however, seems to like to rely on coaches to bring out the best of developmental prospects while aiming for bigger splashes at other positions, including the defensive front and safety.

In a recent column for Sports Illustrated, Conor Orr identified the biggest weakness for each team in the AFC and cornerback was the obvious call for Orr when it came to the Chiefs. He writes:

"The Chiefs got a nice 2019 from Rashad Fenton (47.1 completion percentage allowed, 57.7 quarterback rating and no missed tackles). He could be a low-cost building block here, but as the rest of football expands to match Kansas City’s explosiveness, they’ll need more bodies on the back end."

Orr is right here and Veach will take some hits if the corners can’t hold up their load for a second season. But Fenton looked the part in limited snaps and Charvarius Ward remains woefully underrated as a starter outside. Bashaud Breeland will be highly motivated to turn around his free agent stock after taking another one-year deal. From there, the Chiefs added a couple athletic young players in the draft in L’Jarius Sneed and BoPete Keyes to round out the roster and help on special teams. The team also has some impressive young undrafted free agents to consider once they hit the field in the preseason.

As a whole, it doesn’t look like an impressive group from the outside. There aren’t any household names here, to be sure, so comparing the Chiefs unit to other teams is going to underwhelm. That said, Ward and Breeland and company played well enough to win a Super Bowl and the play of Tyrann Mathieu near these players should also be brought up since the corners are part of a greater whole.

If the Chiefs can repeat with what looks like another thin set at the position, it will be a true testament to the coaching staff and front office and could even make other executives look at how they approach the position. For now, we’re left to agree that corner is likely the thinnest position on a team that’s loaded front to back.

To be fair to Orr, he admits this himself when he writes, “Again, this is nitpicking. The Chiefs are Super Bowl champions and possess the best player in football. So, everything gets held up to a gargantuan standard.”

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