One of the most important position battles comes at cornerback. We believe we have a leader but injuries and other things can change the outlook in training camp.
Currently, Marcus Peters is a lock to play one side while Phillip Gaines is the current leader to play the other side. The Chiefs drafted three cornerbacks who could be involved in the competition, including KeiVarae Russell, Eric Murray and DJ White. The Chiefs also have old friend Marcus Cooper who saw time at cornerback and safety this offseason. The rest of the Chiefs cornerbacks are a group that will need to stand out and prove themselves before they’re in this conversation.
Can any of those players mentioned unseat Gaines as the No. 2 corner?
Russell is a third round pick so he’s the first logical choice here. It doesn’t necessarily say much that it was Gaines - coming off an ACL tear - and not Russell who earned the No. 2 job in OTAs because it’s still so early. It’s completely reasonable to see a big jump from Russell in camp given how young he is.
DJ White is interesting to me. He has the feel of a guy who, despite being a sixth round pick, won’t be easy to keep off the field. One NFL draft analyst thought he could’ve been a third round pick. Maybe it’s not this year but he could be someone to keep an eye on.
Cooper’s rep among Chiefs fans has been hurt over the past few years. To think he went from rookie of the year candidate to goat in the course of one season is pretty amazing. That was back in 2013. Here we are now four seasons later and I can’t say I would feel comfortable with Cooper winning that role.
Regardless of who wins this role, the depth will be key. Not only because the Chiefs regularly play five, six and even seven defensive backs in defensive packages, but also because of injuries. Let’s not forget that in two seasons Gaines has had a concussion and torn his ACL. I don’t want to say he’s injury prone but it’s something to consider. The Chiefs seem to have done that with the drafting of three defensive backs.
This could end up being one of the most important position battles on the team. There’s no way they’ll have someone as good as Peters was last year but all they need is competency.