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How Kansas City Chiefs can replace Sean Smith during suspension

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Smith is reportedly facing a three-game suspension. We have not heard yet if he plans to appeal that but let's assume for now that he will be out for the first three games of the Kansas City Chiefs season.

Smith will miss games against the Texans, Broncos and Packers. It's those last two that make this a rough stretch to lose your team's top cornerback. No team is prepared to lose a player like Smith but the Chiefs have invested in the cornerback position in the last two years.

On one side the Chiefs will have Phillip Gaines, a 2014 third round pick. Most of us here feel pretty good about the strides Gaines has taken in the past year and are optimistic that he'll play like he belongs when the season starts. So mark him down for one corner spot when Smith is out.

The other corner spot is likely a battle between first round pick Marcus Peters, Jamell Fleming and Marcus Cooper. Peters seems like the obvious choice given his draft position but it's no guarantee the Chiefs throw him to the wolves against Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers. Fleming was hampered by an injury last year but the Chiefs, who signed him off the Ravens practice squad last year, really like him. Plus he has a little more experience than Peters which could come in handy in those first three games. Finally there's Marcus Cooper, who went from the Chiefs top rookie in 2013 to a disappointment in 2014.

Ron Parker? He played cornerback last year before making the switch to safety. My sense is that the Chiefs prefer him at safety, which is his best position.

The upside here is that the Chiefs pass rush will make things easier on the cornerbacks. The Chiefs didn't allow a 300-yard passer last season and the pass rush was a big reason why. It won't solve all the problems but it's better for a corner to play with Justin Houston coming off the edge than not.