It was around this time last year that Phillip Gaines was the Kansas City Chiefs fourth or fifth corner in offseason workouts. I remember going on Danny Parkins show on 610 Sports last year and saying that Gaines probably wouldn't amount to much in his first year because he looked so far behind.
As usual, I was wrong. Gaines got better and better as the season went on. There was a point late last year where it was obvious that he has a future in the league and reports out of minicamp haven't slowed on him.
For his part, Gaines says he sees a big difference between last year and this year.
"It's a big difference," Gaines said on Tuesday, via quotes from the Chiefs. "Just from pure confidence. Last year, you're coming in and seeing all these players you've never seen before, never played with before. You're not playing as fast as you usually do. Now that I got some playing time and saw how things move, I have a lot more confidence so I can play a lot faster."
Gaines, who said he is up to 188 pounds from 182 last year, is learning plenty from the veteran Sean Smith.
"He's huge," Gaines said of Smith. "He's an amazing player, he's one of the best corners in the league. His frame, his intellect on the field is really, really good, it allows him to excel. He can play off and read the quarterback. When he's up pressing, his arms are really long, so it's hard to get around him. And he's a really big body, so he brings a lot to the table."
Gaines also said that he really likes going up against Albert Wilson because of the challenges he provides.
"He's a really hard cover," Gaines said. "He's short but he's really fast and explosive. He can get in and out of his breaks really quick. You have a little bit of everything when you cover him. I really like guarding him."
If you're making a list of Chiefs 2015 breakout players, it would be wise to have Phillip Gaines (and perhaps Albert Wilson) on that list.