While the Kansas City Chiefs had a pretty successful offseason in the eyes of most, there’s still a couple glaring needs when you look up and down the roster. One of those needs is of course cornerback. Kansas City knows this as they lost Bashaud Breeland and targeted the position in free agency when they brought in 49ers cornerback K’Waun Williams on a visit. However, Williams ended up not signing with the Chiefs and the team was not able to draft a cornerback last week in the NFL Draft.
There’s still a chance the Chiefs will bring back Bashaud Breeland as Nate Taylor of the Athletic reported the team was still open to it. Nevertheless, there’s still a chance Breeland does not return which would leave the Chiefs with a lot of question marks at the position. Really, outside of L’Jarius Sneed, there’s not a whole lot. Sneed will be the unquestioned CB1 heading into next year. HE has the speed and athleticism to keep up with some of the best receivers in the league and has versatility that the Chiefs like in defensive backs that some of the other Chiefs cornerbacks don’t have. Let’s take a closer look at who else the Chiefs have at the position:
After a very impressive 2019 campaign, Charvarius Ward was primed to compete for one of the outside corner spots in 2020. Unfortunately, Ward seemed to take a major step back in 2020 as he struggled with penalties and gave up a lot of big plays and was even a liability in certain matchups. Ward did have the hand injury in week 1 of the 2020 season which may have bothered him a bit and I don’t want to downplay a player’s injury because none of us truly know, but are we using the broken hand as an excuse for continuously getting beat deep and committing countless penalties? Sure, Ward still had his fair share of good stretches in 2020 but the idea of him being a No. 1 or No. 2 corner for K.C. seems like a stretch. At this point he seems more like a 3rd or a 4th corner. It’s also important to remember Ward was a UDFA after all and may have already hit his ceiling That’s not necessarily a bad thing either. A UDFA turned solid rotational corner will always be considered a win. I’d be scared of relying on Ward once again 2021, though.
Rashad Fenton has been one of general manager Brett Veach’s best draft picks since he’s gotten the job. Fenton was taken in the 6th round of the 2019 NFL Draft and has turned out to be a tremendous slot corner for the Chiefs. That’s all Fenton is, though. He’s a slot cornerback that plays very physical but doesn’t quite have the size or speed to keep up with the premiere receivers in the NFL. Not to mention his snap counts have never really been overwhelming. He’ll likely see more snaps in 2021 but he can’t play on the outside.
DeAndre Baker was a very interesting mid-season pickup for the Kansas City Chiefs last season. Baker was a first round pick in 2019 for the New York Giants and flashed potential on a rather poor Giants secondary as a rookie. However, Baker was released from the team in the summer of 2020 following an armed robbery charge in the state of Florida while playing a game of “dice” at a party. In a strange plot twist, Baker would end up being exonerated on all charges when the opposing lawyer in the case was arrested for extortion according to ESPN. Baker was then free to sign with any team which is how he ended up in Kansas City. After working his way up from the practice squad Baker was finally given an opportunity to play in week 17 against the Los Angeles Chargers where he looked really good early on with a handful of tackles and a pair of PBU’s. Bad luck struck yet again for Baker when he suffered a gruesome broken leg injury and was carted off the field. Now, we have no idea where Baker is physically and while he still has a lot of upside, he’s also a complete unknown as of right now.
There’s not much to say about BoPete Keyes. He was an intriguing late-round selection by the Kansas City Chiefs late in the 2020 draft but the team took him knowing he would be a project. He didn’t play all that much in 2020 and mainly contributed on special teams. Could he be ready to make a jump to a low-end contributor in 2021? Maybe, but that’s not enough to make us feel good about the position group as a whole.
The KC Chiefs need more at Cornerback
So, that’s it. That’s who the Chiefs have at cornerback heading into next year as it stands. The Chiefs have never really shown they want to invest highly in cornerback and while it has worked out for them in the past, they’re playing with fire with this current group because you have to remember there is no Bashaud Breeland or veteran anchor in that group anymore. It’s also important to acknowledge that while L’Jarius Sneed was great last year he did sustain both a broken collarbone and a concussion at different points throughout the year. If something like that were to happen again next season the Chiefs could be in real trouble.
If the Chiefs wanted to improve the depth of their cornerback group there are still plenty of free agent options out there like Bashaud Breeland, Richard Sherman, Brian Poole etc. and any of those options would likely satisfy fans. Some have also pointed out the idea of playing more three safety sets but is Dan Sorenson as the third safety good enough?
The Chiefs may know something we don’t or just be higher on who they already have when it comes to the secondary which is fair because if everyone mentioned in the article plays up to potential the Chiefs should be fine, but again, they’re skating on thin ice and could really benefit by adding a veteran to the group.