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Get to know the newest Chiefs cornerback, Charvarius Ward

Craig comes out of the Laboratory with a film review of Ward

NCAA Football: Middle Tennessee at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Rumors surfaced late Thursday night just before the Kansas City Chiefs took the field against the Green Bay Packers for their preseason Week 4 clash:

The Chiefs had made a trade, for yes, a cornerback!

The Chiefs reportedly have made a deal for Dallas Cowboys UDFA cornerback Charvarius Ward, helping to round out the bottom of their secondary and adding yet another young corner to the mix for Emmitt Thomas and Al Harris to develop.

As soon as the trade was announced, I sprinted down to the Lab, fired up the equipment and got right down to the film to find out what Chiefs fans want to know most: What did the Chiefs just trade for?

We’re here and we’ve got what you want.

Come find out about Charvarius Ward.

Ward is a 6-foot-1, 200-pound corner who loves to get physical with wide receivers in their routes. He’s long and knows how to use his body well against bigger receivers, especially in press coverage.

On this deep pass breakup from his days at Middle Tennessee State University, Ward does a good job with his initial shuffle to keep his hips square with the receiver off the snap.

As the receiver releases, Ward is able to reroute him with his body to the boundary, then flip, stab with the outside hand and run with the receiver. As the throw is made, Ward is able to keep a hand on the back of the receiver, keeping a good feel for where the receiver is as he turns and locates the ball.

He’s able to use his length to then get a hand up to impede the catch, resulting in a pass breakup. A great play, showing his ability to stay physical with a receiver on a deep pass without drawing a flag.

In this play from this preseason with the Cowboys, Ward shows good awareness on a crossing route. From the snap, he makes sure to keep his shoulders square and moves with the receiver across the formation, positioning himself between the receiver and the first-down marker while showing the speed to run step for step.

As the throw comes, Ward has the length to fight around the receiver’s body for a pass breakup. It may seem like a routine play to make at this level, but it showcases his ability to recognize the first-down marker, stay physical as the receiver is inside five yards and utilize his length to get around the receiver for the stop.

We’ve recently seen that crossers have given trouble to some of the other Chiefs cornerbacks, so it’s good to see one well defended.

Ward showed an uncanny ability to play back shoulder throws very well on his college tape.

In this play, Ward gets a good jam from press, reroutes to the boundary and stays engaged throughout the route. This is important, as he’s able to feel the break on the ball as the receiver stops and jumps to high-point the ball for the back-shoulder throw.

Without needing to turn his head and locate the ball, Ward is able to swat away the throw in the end zone on fourth-and-1, making a big stop in a close game. Ward simply does not get bodied often in the red zone and comebacks/back shoulders do not get him very often due to him being engaged throughout the play.

Quite simply, the guy was born to play press-man.

But he’s not some lumbering cornerback that isn’t going to be able to help underneath from off coverage, either. Ward shows good click and close to get to underneath routes and screens.

Ward is in off coverage on this play, but Pete Sweeney’s Syracuse Orange throw a bubble with a clearout route to try to get Ward out of the picture while Middle Tennessee runs a slot-corner blitz.

Ward recognizes that the quarterback will need to get the ball out quickly, so he sits on the bubble and shows terrific click and close to stuff the slot receiver, almost getting to a poor throw before the receiver does.

Again, this seems like an easy play for a cornerback to make, but it shows great recognition of the situation (blitzing slot corner) and understanding of his safety help to make this gamble and come up for a great stop.

On this play, Ward has been tasked with a blitz from the slot. He does a great job slipping the block but does an even better job recognizing the play early, taking his rush wide to get in the throwing lane. He gets his long arm out and swats the ball away, preventing what would have been a big gain on a blitz-busting screen.

That’s a fantastic job identifying the play on the fly and a great job adjusting his blitz to cover the throwing lane into the flat.

The bottom line

The Chiefs are definitely seeing some great press corner traits with Charvarius Ward.

His size, length, and willingness to be aggressive, not only early in the route, but also throughout are exactly what you want in Bob Sutton’s scheme.

He doesn’t have much experience against top competition, playing at a small school in college and just getting reps against third-teamers this preseason, so his ability to translate to the professional level and stiffer competition still remains to be seen.

Cowboys beat writers loved him in camp, and he routinely showed solid coverage against receivers Tavon Austin and Michael Gallup, showcasing his quickness and agility.

While he may just be rounding out the bottom of the roster in the secondary, Ward’s got some great traits to develop for a team that wants to play a lot of press coverage this season and going forward.

It offers a little more depth at a position that the Chiefs didn’t have much in this preseason, and it offers another young player for the team to try to hang their hopes on over the next couple seasons.

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