L’Jarius Sneed’s emergence
For several seasons, one of the primary holes that most have seen in the Chiefs defense was that of cornerback. Since the Andy Reid era began in Kansas City the front office has only drafted four cornerbacks in the first three rounds of the NFL draft, and none of those players remain on the team.
With the emergence of Patrick Mahomes as the league’s brightest star, helming the league’s most consistently potent offense, calls for aggressiveness have resounded from the fan base the last two seasons either at the trade deadline or in the offseason. The belief was the team could not climb the mountaintop without addressing the cornerback position.
Fortunately, the long awaited gaze from the mountaintop came and went without the front office having to expend valuable draft capital on the position. Even so, the position remained a thin one following the team’s victory in Super Bowl LIV.
Most thought the team would assuredly draft a cornerback in the first three rounds this time around, as they had a first round pick for the first time in several offseasons. In April, the first three rounds came and went without a cornerback to show for it.
The team decided, however, to draft a cornerback in the next round in L’Jarius Sneed out of Louisiana Tech. Sneed had good size and athleticism, standing at 6’0″ and posting a 4.37 second forty-yard dash and 41″ vertical at the NFL Combine, but had played mid-major football and even safety in his final season with the team. It was hard to expect much from what appeared to be a long-term project.
Through the first three games of the season Sneed looked like anything but a project. He displayed a consistency in coverage that was frankly a bit shocking, with occasional rookie mistakes here or there. He also displayed the coveted ability to make plays on the ball from a great distance, intercepting two passess and defending another three.
Sneed fell prey to an early injury and hasn’t seen the field since week three. Fortunately, he returned to the practice field following the New York Jets game and hopes are high he can carve out a significant role in the Chiefs secondary to end the season.