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South Carolina DB fits Chiefs’ mold: athletic, versatile, playmaker

On the 17th day of Draftmas, my true love gave to me: a giant cornerback that lives to make plays.

South Carolina v Georgia Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

A very Merry Draftmas to you!

We continue our tradition of profiling an NFL Draft prospect every day in April, leading up to the NFL Draft on April 29th. Every day, you’ll get a prospect profile that includes how they would fit with the Kansas City Chiefs.

While the Chiefs certainly have a decently long list of needs for their roster, one position that has picked up steam lately has been cornerback. Bashaud Breeland is still a free agent and hasn’t been replaced, and Charvarius Ward is on the last year of his deal. The Chiefs could also stand to improve those starting positions, anyway.

L’Jarius Sneed had a great rookie campaign, but now the Chiefs have to decide to leave him in the slot or to move him outside, creating a hole at whichever cornerback spot he doesn’t play. Both for the immediate season and for future years, the Chiefs should be looking to add some talent to the cornerback room.

Israel Mukuamu, cornerback

South Carolina v Georgia Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

6’4” | 212 lbs | South Carolina

Bossier City, LA

Expected draft range: Day three

Pro Day: 36.5” vertical jump, 119” broad jump, 13 bench reps, 34” arm length

One-sentence bio: Came out of high school as a safety prospect that spent more and more time playing cornerback through his three seasons at South Carolina.

One-sentence scouting report: Great length, versatility and ball skills that will fit best in a zone coverage scheme with the upside of being a chess piece against athletic tight ends out of the slot.

One play:

How he fits in Kansas City: Mukuamu fits the general model that the Chiefs have been trending toward lately under defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. He has some positional flexibility — spending time at outside and slot cornerback, as well as a deep safety — and is a good athlete. This has been the direction the Chiefs have been trending lately with acquisitions such as Tyrann Mathieu, Kendall Fuller, Juan Thornhill and even L’Jarius Sneed. They are hammering on the versatility aspect but also consistently looking to up the overall athleticism of the secondary.

Mukuamu fits the general mold but what really locks down the fit is his ability to thrive in zone concepts and make plays. Sam Madison and Steve Spagnuolo have both spoken out about the need to come down with more ball production in the secondary, and Mukuamu can absolutely provide that. He shows a knack for making plays on errant throws, utilizing his body control and absurd length to reach out and snag passes off target.

In zone coverage, he is at his most comfortable playing either from a shuffle or driving downhill on plays underneath him. He operates really well on the vertical plane — such as Cover 3 or Cover 4 — and does a good job disrupting wide receivers at the line of scrimmage and forcing them into areas they don’t want to be in. He still has plenty of technical refinement to go before he’s ready to play full time, but a system that often limits their outside cornerback’s role (such as Kansas City’s) would be well suited for Mukuamu.

KC Draft Guide

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