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New Chiefs safety Chamarri Conner wants to play like Budda Baker

The versatile defensive back is expected to play all over the Kansas City secondary — and on special teams.

Virginia Tech v Miami Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

In the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft at Kansas City’s Union Station, Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach traded up from the 134th pick to select Virginia Tech defensive back Chamarri Conner at 119.

While he is listed as a cornerback on many draft prospect lists, the Chiefs see the 22-year-old Jacksonville native as a safety — but acknowledge that they can use him anywhere in the secondary.

“He was asked to do a lot of things — play a lot of positions at Virginia Tech — so [we like] his versatility,” Kansas City scout Anthony McGee told reporters on Saturday. “He will play any position that you need to in the back end. And he just brings size, speed, burst — everything. I just love the way he plays — and [he’s] a guy that will want to do anything and everything for the team.”

“[I’ve] always been able to play multiple positions,” Conner explained during his turn with the media. “Ever since high school, I always played every position in the back end — from corner to safety to nickel. I always was able to move around. That moved into my college career as well — just being able to move around and always be the guy that if we need anybody to do [something] (or do any job), I could always be that guy to step up and do that job.”

His new team also expects that Conner will immediately be a four-phase special-teams player.

“I take so much pride in special teams,” he told reporters. “Special teams was how I earned my name at Virginia Tech. My freshman year, I came in starting all four special teams — [and] then was always the guy to get those special teams honors... Even outside of my freshman year, that was always part of my career — to be on those teams and make those plays on special teams. That was always a big part of Virginia Tech, so I’m definitely going to carry that with me.”

A four-year starter for the Hokies, Conner models himself on Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker.

“The way he flies around and makes plays — and [was] just always around the ball — that really always stood out to me,” he said. “I always wanted to be that kind of player... That’s definitely somebody I study.”

Conner said he had a virtual meeting with Kansas City less than two weeks before the draft — and is very happy to be joining the team.

“Everything about the Chiefs just excites me,” he declared. “It’s a great team, a great program [and a] great NFL club. The Chiefs have been part of the last couple [of] Super Bowl championships — so you know they’re a great team.

“I’m ready to get started.”

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