Countdown to Chiefs Camp: Cornerbacks

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Jan 15, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters (22) reacts during the third quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Divisional playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 15, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters (22) reacts during the third quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Divisional playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The countdown to Chiefs camp begins now. Over the next two weeks, cover32 Chiefs will have in depth analysis at every position heading into training camp. Jake Schyvinck and Braden Holecek dive into every battle and roster spot up for grabs.

As a cornerback in the NFL, a lot is asked of players and it is one of the taxing positions to play in football. Cornerbacks are asked to cover the best receivers, and are challenged with the receiver’s size, speed, and shiftiness. Cornerbacks have to make plays, but have to stay out of making penalties. Pass interference, illegal contact, and facemask penalties are called more than any on defensive plays, mostly on the cornerbacks.

The battle between the Chiefs cornerbacks should be entertaining and extremely competitive. Like most teams, the Chiefs have continued to draft cornerbacks, even if they already have competent starters. Having depth is huge for every team at cornerback, and the Chiefs have continued to improve against the pass.


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Top Guys

Marcus Peters: Entering his third season, many teams are still probably regretting how far Marcus Peters slipped in the 2015 draft. Peters was still a first round pick, but he was the third cornerback selected, and the seventh defensive player that was picked. He shined early with eight interceptions in his rookie season, including one on his first career defensive play. Peters’ outstanding rookie season earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl. Last season, Peters had six interceptions, and improved even more on deep ball coverage. Again, he earned a trip to the Pro Bowl. One player that the Chiefs will be paying very nicely, real soon.

Steven Nelson: Nelson has played both a lot of outside and in the slot for a cornerback. He did not see much action earlier in his career, but the last few seasons Nelson has been a key defensive player for the Chiefs. Nelson is sort of a swiss army knife among all of the defensive backs. If Nelson can continue to improve on deep ball coverage, the job will continue to be his.

Role Players

Phillip Gaines: Gaines came into last season coming off a torn ACL, and he wasn’t quite the same from his rookie season as a complementary player in 2014. Andy Reid has thrust Gaines into the fire since the beginning. Gaines could improve in coverage, but his instincts as a corner are improving.

Terrance Mitchell: Mitchell bounced around with a few teams before landing in Kansas City last season. Mitchell may not have a huge highlight reel for his career, but he made a lot of smart plays late last year. The pass deflection at the end of the home game against Oakland, sealed the win for the Chiefs in a game they needed to win. Mitchell will have a huge opportunity going into the season, but the expectations should not be over exceeded. Mitchell is good, but he is not at the level of Marcus Peters, yet.

Kenneth Acker: The Chiefs received Kenneth Acker in a trade with San Francisco last season. He got some playing time, but he is more of a depth guy right now. Acker is an average cover man with a lot of potential.

D.J. White: White was a late round draft pick by the Chiefs in 2016. He saw some extended playing time late in games when the Chiefs were winning. White is still learning how to play cornerback in the NFL, and will be one of the cornerbacks that will really need to have a good training camp to make the team.

The Chiefs’ options are plentiful at the cornerback position. Most of the cornerbacks that make the team will most likely spend time on special teams. This position battle is filled with exuberance and much anticipation from the Chiefs coaching staff.

Braden Holecek is a writer for cover32 Chiefs. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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