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Lottery Tickets: CB Will Redmond

Brett Veach’s tenure as Kansas City Chiefs general manager has been a fascinating experiment. I’ve generally aligned and agreed with the vast majority of moves he’s made in the last year. The attention to detail, strong communication skills and belief in his people and process are more apparent with every passing day.

Veach is decisive in identifying players he wants in Kansas City to build this roster in his image. He has a plan. Even though I disagreed with trading up to select Breeland Speaks, I still understand the why.

Some teams are very narrowed in on the 53-man roster and might not be as attentive to the whole roster they take into July. One of my favorite revelations of what Veach and company are doing is how strong of a 90-man roster they have built.

Welcome to Lottery Tickets

Lottery Tickets is a breakdown series of the lesser known players who have a chance to make the Chiefs Week 1 roster. Leading up to training camp, we’ll be profiling the intriguing undrafted free agents and reserve/future contract players that show the ability to potentially stick in the NFL.

Why is this series called Lottery Tickets? The players we discuss are high upside players that haven’t significantly affected the Chiefs bottom line, but the returns could be substantial.

We’ll start with one of my favorite players in this group: cornerback Will Redmond.

Redmond was the 68th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. The San Francisco 49ers spent significant draft capital on a player that was still recovering from an injury at the time of the draft. Had he not tore his ACL his senior year, he would have gone even higher, possibly even the first round.

Since then, Redmond has struggled to stay healthy. The last two seasons of his career have been wasted due to nagging injuries. But Veach sees the potential of the healthy version of the cornerback from Mississippi State:

“We still have guys like Keith Reaser and Will Redmond that people won’t really talk about,” Veach noted. “Redmond was a mid-round pick by the 49ers coming off an injury, and Reaser is another guy we like, and I think he was also coming off an injury out of Florida Atlantic a few years back.” - Brett Veach discussing depth at the cornerback position.

This is a promising sign from Veach. Singling him out makes me believe Redmond has or could soon return to the form we saw in his time in the SEC. Let’s look at what that version of him played like.

What Redmond was lauded for coming out of college was his ability in man coverage. The baseline of his ability can be seen in the quickness of his feet and the fluidity in his hips.

The athleticism, twitch and smoothness with which he plays are obvious when you put his tape on. It’s a big part of the reason he was projected to be taken so high. If he can back to that baseline, he’s a likely contributor.

While he isn’t the biggest guy and probably won’t be the most disruptive player at the line of scrimmage in press, Redmond can certainly play with sound technique and enough punch to disrupt timing and get a receiver out of position.

Redmond’s positioning on this play was exceptional. He actually cut off the angle of the receiver to keep him from finishing the route. He also used his best friend on the field, the sideline, to his advantage. His hands didn’t make too much of a dent in the receiver’s movement, but enough to put Redmond in the perfect spot to prevent a completion.

Even though he held up well outside, Redmond will still likely profile more as a slot defender. It’s best suited for his frame. He showed more than enough athleticism in college.

Even though he was a second late to the snap due to making a check with the corner, Redmond was able to get into his backpedal easily, flip his hips and run right next to the receiver. He didn’t give any space between him and his assignment, he was right on top of him. This version of Redmond has the chance to be one of the best slot defenders in football.

You can tell when a player has football character. If you’re willing to be physical in the run game, you care about your craft.

You can tell Redmond loves the game of football by the way he chooses to tackle. He keeps outside leverage, gets around the blocker, gets his eyes up to ID the play and squares up the receiver perfectly. This isn’t a man scared that he’ll get injured. He’s willing to play in the run game. He shows that he cares about the game, loves it and wants to do it as long as he can.

There’s not a ton of NFL snaps. He still shows some of the quickness and fluidity he showed in college. It’s still a little rough comparatively, but this snap is him playing through an ankle that was nagging him throughout the preseason.

Not great, but he was also working through injury.

The bottom line

It’s hard not to root for a guy like Redmond. He’s overcome a lot of adversity to get to where he is to this point. He plays like someone who wants to be there. He’s worked hard to get himself right.

If he comes back from injuries near the guy he was his senior year of college, he will likely be in Los Angeles to play the Chargers in Week 1.

Rarely does a GM bring up a player on a reserve/future contract. Veach sees something in him and obviously knows more about the status of his health than we do.

I’m cautiously optimistic that Redmond is close to the player he was coming out of the draft. Hitting on a lottery ticket at the cornerback position would be a blessing for a Chiefs team that could use the depth.

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