Over the last year-plus, the Kansas City Chiefs have placed their own version of a "You Must Be This Tall to Ride" sign on the doors of Arrowhead when it comes to cornerbacks. The magic six-foot mark has become the assumed standard for the Chiefs to be interested in a corner, someone who can come in and handle the bulky wideouts entering the NFL en masse each season.
It's no secret that John Dorsey and Andy Reid seem to have an affection for taller, bigger cornerbacks. It's easy to point to the signing of Sean Smith (a beast at 6'3, 218 pounds.) or the waiver claim of Marcus Cooper (6'2, 192 pounds.) and assume the Chiefs have a minimum height requirement. But just how true is this assumption that the Chiefs prefer taller corners.
Here's a list of every cornerback the Chiefs have signed since John Dorsey assumed control. The cornerbacks who are 6'0 or taller are in bold.
|Name||Height||Weight||How Acquired||Date||Current Status|
|Sean Smith||6'3||218||Free Agent||3/15/2013||Chiefs Roster|
|Marcus Cooper||6'2||192||Waiver Claim||9/1/2013||Chiefs Roster|
|Vernon Kearney||6'2||185||Reserve/Future||1/6/2014||Chiefs Roster|
|Buddy Jackson||6'1||180||Waiver Claim||5/15/2013||Free Agent|
|DeMarcus Van Dyke||6'1||187||Reserve/Future||1/10/2014||Chiefs Roster|
|Kennard Cox||6'0||191||Free Agent||8/14/2013||Free Agent|
|Ron Parker||6'0||206||Waiver Claim||9/1/2013||Chiefs Roster|
|Kevin Rutland||6'0||193||Reserve/Future||1/6/2014||Chiefs Roster|
|Dunta Robinson||5'10||183||Free Agent||3/13/2013||Free Agent|
|Vince Agnew||5'10||196||Free Agent||6/6/2013||Free Agent|
|Kamaal McIlwain||5'10||175||Free Agent||8/1/2013||Free Agent|
|Semaj Moody||5'10||195||Free Agent||8/6/2013||Free Agent|
|Chris Owens||5'9||180||Waiver Claim||3/21/2014||Chiefs Roster|
First it's easy to see that the preference is very real. One of Dorsey's first moves as a general manager was to add Dunta Robinson as a veteran free agent, and he's only 5'10. But that move was a move to add experience on the back end and in the nickel, Sean Smith was the real talent grab. One year later, Smith remains on the team and Robinson doesn't.
In fact, until the signing last month of Chris Owens, who will nickel, the Chiefs hadn't added a single cornerback under 6'0 since late last summer -- a streak that included six players. The Chiefs claimed two players on waivers who stuck in Parker and Cooper, and another three were signed to Reserve/Future contracts just four months ago -- all of whom meet the height requirement. The Chiefs have added bodies, and all of them are tall.
That being said, the Chris Owens signing upends any idea that a player is completely off the board if he does not meet a certain physical standard. Owens is the smallest defensive back on the Chiefs roster (only Brandon Flowers comes close at 5'9, 187 pounds.), but it's clear the Chiefs believe he will be a potentially solid veteran addition for nickel packages. He's a physical corner, and that likely makes up for what he lacks in size.
All things considered, a cornerback clearly has the edge above others if he can meet the height preference displayed by the Chiefs. Then again, that's likely true of any team in the NFL. After all, you never hear someone say "this team loves short cornerbacks." Dorsey and Reid lean toward longer defensive backs, but they'll go after their man either way, even if he lacks the stature of his teammates.
You've made it this far in the article. I hope you realize the headline reference.