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Chiefs claim rookie cornerback from Colts, lose another to Browns

Kansas City general manager Brett Veach certainly has a type.

NFL: AUG 08 Indianapolis Colts Training Camp Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs were involved in two claims posted in this morning’s official NFL transactions report, the first following Tuesday’s 53-man roster deadline.

The Chiefs made only one claim, acquiring cornerback Darius Rush — who is now formerly of the Indianapolis Colts. Cornerback Kahlef Hailassie, who spent training camp and the preseason with the Chiefs, was claimed by the Cleveland Browns.

Rush, 23, was a fifth-round pick made by the Colts in this year’s NFL Draft. Standing at 6’2” and 198 lbs., the South Carolina product fits the height and weight measurables of recent cornerbacks drafted on Day 3 by the Chiefs: 2022 fourth-rounder Joshua Williams and seventh-rounder Jaylen Watson.

Rush also bested veteran cornerback L’Jarius Sneed’s Scouting Combine 40-yard dash time by a hundredth of a second, coming in a 4.36. Our sister site, Stampede Blue, described Rush as a “surprise cut” on Tuesday evening.

The rookie cornerback got off to a slow start in training camp because of a hamstring injury, and later suffered a hip injury in Week 2 of preseason against the Chicago Bears. Perhaps injuries are one of the reasons Rush never truly got comfortable for the Colts this offseason.

He was thought to be a sleeper at cornerback entering training camp because of his physical attributes — namely at 6’2”, 198 pounds, a 4.36 40 time, and 33 3/8” wingspan, compounded with the Colts’ lack of experienced depth at the position.

After all, he was a Senior Bowl standout and was a productive cornerback in the SEC.

However, possibly because of injuries, Rush struggled throughout training camp—although he did have a tipped pick six against the Chicago Bears in joint training camp practice, as well as one during his preseason debut, meaning there were some flashes.

Rush transitioned from the wide receiver position to earn a starting cornerback role at South Carolina from 2021-22. Over that span, he broke up 15 passes, intercepting three.

Of the Chiefs defensive backs who participated in all three preseason games, Hailassie registered the highest Pro Football Focus coverage grade (73.0). If he had cleared waivers, it is a good bet he would have been signed to Kansas City’s practice squad.

The Chiefs will have to make a roster move to make room for Rush.

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