On Monday’s Mailbag edition of the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory podcast, we were asked if the Kansas City Chiefs — with a potential Bashaud Breeland suspension looming — need to add a veteran cornerback.
Should Breeland miss games, third-year cornerback Charvarius Ward will be leading the group; he will need a starter opposite him. Ward — still only 24 years old — played sparingly during his rookie year before starting the entirety of the Super Bowl season. Candidates to line up across from him include second-year player Rashad Fenton, rookie L’Jarius Sneed and career special-teams ace Antonio Hamilton.
Without much veteran leadership at the position, the Chiefs could covet experience to help them navigate the early part of the season. Former Tennessee Titan Logan Ryan is still on the open market — and is one of the best players still available. Ryan has some inside-outside flexibility, so his ability to operate in the slot would still make him a valuable asset after Breeland returns.
But early on, I would like to see the Chiefs roll with the young corners now on the roster — to throw them into the fire and see what they have. During general manager Brett Veach’s Kansas City tenure, the Chiefs have spent very little on the cornerback group; in Week 1, the available corners will be recent Day 3 picks, undrafted free agents and veteran minimum signings.
If it turns out the Chiefs have found good value with these lower-cost players, it will help them offset the cost of some of the big contracts they’ve signed in the last few years. Late last season, Fenton showed promise; he is likely to be the front runner. But you should not sleep on rookie L’Jarius Sneed; on draft weekend, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was visibly excited about adding him to the mix. Sneed fits the physical profile (and playing style) to be successful in Spagnuolo’s scheme.
As good as the Chiefs were at protecting their cornerbacks last year, they should be able to hold it down in the early part of the season — even if the cornerbacks lack significant experience. If they can, they’ll learn more about the players they have — while giving their young depth players some much-needed experience.
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