With 2015 first round pick Marcus Peters not participating in OTAs, the Kansas City Chiefs top cornerbacks are Sean Smith and Phillip Gaines. We know Smith is the obvious No. 1 corner on the team but I have been curious where Peters will be relative to Gaines. Alas, Peters is not at OTAs yet (thanks, NFL / NCAA) so we don't know where that particular position battle stands.
What we do know is that Gaines won't give up his spot on the outside without a fight. He had a good rookie year as the Chiefs 2014 third round pick. As our old pal Todd Haley might say, the arrow is pointing up, which Gaines showed at OTAs this week.
CB Philip Gaines had the play of the day when he dived to break up a deep pass down the right sideline for Jeremy Maclin.— Adam Teicher (@adamteicher) May 27, 2015
Phillip Gaines made an awesome play in coverage down the field. He turned and ran with Maclin step for step and deflected a pass away.— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) May 27, 2015
Phillip Gaines shined today with a couple big breakups. Especially on a deep ball to Maclin near the endzone.— Nick Jacobs (@Jacobs71) May 27, 2015
Arguably the top play from today's #Chiefs practice was Phillip Gaines' breakup on Alex Smith's attempt to Jeremy Maclin down the field.— BJ Kissel (@ChiefsReporter) May 27, 2015
Here is the play by Gaines on Maclin yesterday. Per @65TPTPhotog pic.twitter.com/Amr7mdyzso— Nick Jacobs (@Jacobs71) May 28, 2015
Gaines' rookie year was promising enough that I feel pretty good about the direction he's heading. Hitting on Gaines would be a nice coup for the Chiefs not only because that's a premium position and it's much cheaper with a third round pick contract but also because Smith is a free agent after this season. The construction of the Chiefs roster makes a lot of sense when you see Smith exit via free agency, Gaines step in and Peters follow after him.
So how does this all affect Peters? If Smith and Gaines are on point as the top two corners on the team this means the Chiefs can be very patient with Peters. More than two cornerbacks will be playing at a time -- the Chiefs subpackages on defense are basically their base defense -- but the Chiefs are in no rush to force Peters on the field (unless he's earned it ... then by all means, get him out there!). I can't see Peters starting 13 games like 2013 first round pick Eric Fisher did as a rookie and I can't see him barely seeing the field like 2014 first round pick Dee Ford did as a rookie either. Probably somewhere in between.