Darius Rush brings unique upside to Kansas City Chiefs

The fifth round pick out of South Carolina boasts great length, a solid build, and lightning speed. He is a welcome addition to a thin defensive back room and brings a unique upside.

NFL Combine
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In a genuinely shocking turn of events on Tuesday, the Indianapolis Colts released fifth-round cornerback Darius Rush when making active roster cuts. Rush was considered by some draft analysts to be a top-100 player in this year's draft class, and the Colts had to be sure that he wouldn't clear waivers upon his release.

Fortunately for Chiefs Kingdom, Brett Veach and Co. jumped at the opportunity and secured him to the roster with a successful waiver claim.

Rush's addition comes at the perfect time for the Chiefs, just ahead of the season with L'Jarius Sneed and Nic Jones both potentially on the shelf for Week 1. Kansas City's defensive back room was feeling a bit thin even before their injuries but now has potential equal to that of last year when the team gambled on a couple of late-round draft picks.

Let's take a look at what draft experts had to say about Darius Rush throughout this year's cycle and what special abilities he brings to the Chiefs.

The potential that was actualized for Jalen Watson and Joshua Williams last season—and the way that this system pulled it out of them—should have us all fired up. Rush didn't become a defensive back until college, and didn't earn a starting role until 2021. In two years as a starter for the Gamecocks, he had three interceptions and defended 18 passes. He showed up to Indianapolis for the combine and left as the fastest cornerback to run the 40-yard dash. His ceiling is as high as anyone on the roster, and now it's up to the Chiefs' coaching staff to unlock it.

,The Draft Network spoke highly of Rush's length, athleticism and pro potential in their pre-draft profile. "For a player that is still relatively new to playing corner, his development and production as a two-year starter in the SEC are impressive and suggest there is further room for improvement. Rush has also proven to be an effective multi-phase special teams contributor, which should be an asset to his value in the NFL.

Chiefs'Michael Renner of PFF wrote about the Chiefs new corner in his article detailing the '23 draft class' biggest sleepers: "From a pure tools perspective, he’s more projectable than South Carolina teammate Cam Smith, who’s been mocked as high as the teens in some places. Rush is longer (32 3/4-inch arms) and faster (21.65 mph on GPS at Senior Bowl — fastest of any player in attendance) than Smith with comparable production last season. Rush broke up six passes and picked off two more on only 31 targets last season."

The Athletic's Dane Bruegler listed Rush as CB9 and prospect No. 63 overall in his annual draft guide, The Beast. " Overall, Rush is not a secure tackler and must continue developing his instincts in off coverage, but he has the fluidity and length to turn, run and stay stride-for-stride with receivers. His athletic cover traits give him NFL starting potential as a man to-man corner."

All-in-all, the reports on Darius Rush were abundantly positive, and he simply slipped through the cracks in a stacked DB class. Frankly, had the Chiefs taken a shot on him in either the second or third round, I think all of the Kingdom would have been ecstatic. Nabbing him off waivers, though, is even sweeter.

If recent history says anything about the player Darius Rush will become, the Chiefs have struck gold less than ten days from the season opener.