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The Chiefs’ best cornerback fits in free agency and the draft

The roster-building process starts with free agency in March.

NFL: FEB 02 Super Bowl LIV - Chiefs v 49ers Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In just a few weeks the Chiefs will begin to form the team that will defend their Super Bowl title. The roster-building process starts with free agency in March and is followed by the draft in April. The groundwork will be laid for potential signings, trades and picks at the NFL Combine in a couple weeks. Looking ahead, there are several positions lacking in club-controlled talent for 2020.

On the Friday episode of the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory, we put the cornerback position under the microscope. We looked at the 2019 performance for the position and discussed free agent and draft targets that make sense for the Chiefs. Every week, we’ll go position by position leading up to draft weekend. The Chiefs will have to be active to address the lack of depth and talent at the cornerback position. Here are who we think are the best fits in free agency and the draft.

Free Agency: James Bradberry

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a little surprising the Panthers have yet to lock up a quality cornerback like Bradberry. The former Sanford Bulldog has seen improvement year over year in his NFL career after being selected in the second round by the Carolina Panthers. Bradberry has the desired length and size to play cornerback in Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme. He is not a freak athlete but makes up for that with his instincts. Bradberry had a career-high three interceptions in 2019 with the Panthers.

Bradberry’s best playing in zone, where he can read through the play, but can still play in a press man alignment if asked. He’s active in the run game, is smart and still has room and time to improve. He will turn 27 during training camp, so the Chiefs would be signing him up for his prime. Bradberry will not re-set the market, but will still require a sizable investment to obtain his services.

Draft: Bryce Hall

NCAA Football: Florida State at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

You’ve already heard a few times from us about Hall, but he really is a fantastic fit for the Chiefs defense. There are several other cornerbacks — some more talented than Hall — we’ll discuss over the course of draft season, but the ideal prospect is probably Juan Thornhill’s former teammate.

A lot of the qualities Bradberry possesses are prevalent in Hall’s game as well. He makes up for an average athletic profile with his mental ability and instincts. He’s playing in a zone-heavy scheme. He’s good in the run game for a cornerback. While he possesses good long speed, the overall athletic profile has concerns — as does his recovery from a broken ankle. The latter issue will force him to miss key dates during the pre-draft process and could push his draft range into the late second round. If that’s the case, the Chiefs could find themselves getting an excellent fit at a good value.

Arrowhead Pride Laboratory

We went into detail on more free agent and draft targets — and reviewed the 2019 cornerback position for the Chiefs — on the Friday episode of the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory.