On the Friday episode of the AP Laboratory, we discussed Kansas City Chiefs players ready to exceed expectations and those who need their expectations lowered.
I looked at the cornerback position for both. How that position performs could go a long way in how far this team eventually goes into the postseason. The Chiefs didn’t do all that much to address the position in free agency and the draft. That can be taken as a vote of confidence of those in the building or the biggest reason for concerned heading into training camp.
Here are two players I talked about on the episode:
Ready to exceed expectations: Kendall Fuller
The Chiefs traded for Fuller as part of the Alex Smith trade before the 2018 season. A lot of people are down on the Virginia Tech product because of his performance last year in Bob Sutton’s man-heavy scheme. I’m here to tell you to look at the 2017 version of him as a reason to expect better things than what we’ve seen in Kansas City.
Fuller should be better positioned to succeed with new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. He’ll be in a more zone-heavy scheme that should help his instincts and understanding of opponent concepts work better. I believe Fuller is primed to play closer to what he was in Washington than what we saw last year.
Expectations should be tempered: Charvarius Ward
I am a fan of Ward’s game and am excited to see what he is able to do this season, but the expectations for the second-year cornerback should be tempered. While he showed promise in his small sample size last season, we should be in much more of a wait-and-see mode with Ward than treating him as a known commodity like some are. We’ve even heard Pro Bowl thrown around.
The same way Fuller should find more success this season under new leadership, Ward has more questions about how he’ll transition. Ward’s best reps happened in man coverage, getting to be physical at the line of scrimmage. He’ll be asked to play off coverage more, and his ability to process and transition from depth were concerns with his game. He’ll need to grow in those areas to be considered a quality starter.
There are intriguing traits with his athletic profile and willingness to tackle, but we should be cautious about expecting big things from him until we get to see him in a new defensive scheme in training camp and the preseason.
We put Darron Lee, Derrick Nnadi, Damien Williams and Damien Wilson all in one of those two categories. Listen to the Friday episode of the AP Laboratory to find out where they were placed. A few might surprise you.