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Are the Kansas City Chiefs cornerbacks facing the most pressure?

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With the Kansas City Chiefs 2014 training camp schedule kicking off soon, we are previewing the KC Chiefs 2014 roster by position. Up today are the cornerbacks.

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The players

Marcus Cooper, Sean Smith, Ron Parker, Phillip Gaines, DeMarcus Van Dyke, David Van Dyke, Justin Rogers, Chris Owens, Kevin Rutland, Brandon Jones, Vernon Kearney, Damond Smith

It's a safe bet the Chiefs will keep six guys from this group, if not seven. The locks are Cooper, Smith, Parker, Gaines and Owens. Beyond that, it's a complete guessing game. I'll go out on a limb and say Van Dyke and Rogers stick.

MoreOur 2013 Chiefs CB preview

What's changed

Flowers and Dunta Robinson were set packing by Dorsey, cutting Flowers for cap reasons and Robinson because he was no longer useful. With those two gone, the Chiefs see two of their three starting corners from Week 1 last season gone.

Marcus Cooper will hold down one corner spot. Meanwhile, Ron Parker has been running with the first team for the latter part of the offseason and the start of training camp. That's a fairly significant amount of time. Smith would still play some of here on the second team but this can't be what the Chiefs envisioned last year giving Smith a 3-year deal.

The big additions to this group are Gaines, third-round pick out of Rice, and Owens, a free-agent signing who played with the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins last season. Owens is expected to start in the slot with Gaines slowly coming along on the outside.

The big question

Is Marcus Cooper ready? He is being thrust into the spotlight, replacing the top cornerback.

Best case scenario

Cooper takes the next step and becomes a very, very good corner to pair with Smith. Parker develops a bit more from just a blitzing corner and shows the ability to cover, while Gaines is brought along in the complex system.

Worst case scenario

Cooper suffers from the sophomore jinx and regresses, forcing defensive coordinator Bob Sutton to bring Parker and / or Gaines into the spotlight much sooner than hoped. Smith proves to be nothing more than a good No. 2 corner, leaving the Chiefs with massive issues on the outside in a quarterback-heavy division.

Random Facts

  • This will only be the third year Cooper plays as a cornerback after being a wide receiver
  • Owens has more career sacks (3.5) than interceptions (3)
  • Smith has only missed one game in his five-year NFL career