Marcus Peters was a pretty damn good cornerback in 2016.
Pro Football Focus recently tweeted out a graphic that illustrated Peters’ ability to be a playmaker. Per PFF, Peter’s “playmaker percentage” (interceptions and passes defended, divided by total targets) is 18.8 percent. The NFL average is 9.9 percent.
There was some talk in the weeks leading up to the draft that the Chiefs could select a cornerback in the first or second round to compliment Peters on the other side of the field.
In a mock draft done by Terez Paylor of the KC Star on April 13, he had the Chiefs selecting cornerback Gareon Conley of Ohio State. “You can never have too many corners in today’s NFL, and the good ones often get taken early,” Terez wrote.
Dan Kadar of SB Nation sent Conley to the Chiefs, too, in his mock on April 17. “This pick comes down to immediate contribution,” Kadar said. “... Some teams have Conley as the top cornerback in the draft this year. He would be a nice fit opposite Marcus Peters.”
The Chiefs obviously put the importance on the QB position by drafting Patrick Mahomes. But what’s surprising is that KC didn’t draft a single cornerback with their eventual six draft picks, especially since Chiefs GM John Dorsey said the cornerbacks in this class was “as deep a group of cornerbacks as I’ve seen in 10 years or so.”
The Chiefs did make the move Wednesday to add a cornerback in local product De’Vante Bausby. The KCMO native played football at Pitt State and originally signed with the Chiefs in 2015 as an undrafted free agent but was let go after he broke his collarbone in June that same year. My point is ... it’s tough to gauge if there’s something real in Bausby, who’s only had eight total NFL tackles.
Because Dorsey didn’t draft a cornerback in the draft, he and the rest of the staff are showing some big confidence in the cornerbacks already on the roster. Heading into 2017, the Chiefs will probably work with Steven Nelson, Terrance Mitchell and Phillip Gaines at the cornerback position opposite Peters.
Nelson played quite a bit in 2016, so he could be an early favorite in 2017. He could play as nickleback but could also be a starter.
Mitchell had a stretch of games that impressed a lot of people, but the coaching staff probably wants to see more from him. Gaines has some talent, but has to stay healthy to get a legitimate shot.
Playing from the third cornerback slot in 2016, Mitchell had his breakout game in the Week 13 win at Atlanta. AP’s MNchiefsfan (Seth Keysor) wrote about him last year. Seth loved his ability to turn and find the ball while the pass is in the air; many corners often times defend the receiver and not the ball.
D.J. White and Kenneth Acker are two other names fans are probably familiar with but have yet to see much action from. They probably won’t see too much time on the field this season, but if they impress in camp they could potentially find themselves with a shot to contribute.
The Chiefs could have added a cornerback in the draft, but I don’t think there’s a case to be made that any of their six draft picks should have been a corner instead. Enough uncertainty remains, so we’re still guessing on what exactly is going to happen this year at the cornerback position.