We have finally made it past the end of the preseason. The last part of our Kansas City roster projections includes the cornerbacks and the safeties today. There are several crucial decisions that need to be made regarding the Chiefs defensive backs. Let’s try to predict what happens.
Defensive Backs on the current roster
So far in the preseason, the secondary has looked like the weakest part of the team. Fuller has had some nice showings by demonstrating the many different dimensions he brings to the table as a player. However, the Chiefs traded away Marcus Peters in the offseason and hardly upgraded the position after that. They did not draft a cornerback until the sixth round, and there were plenty of good free agents out there as well. Bashaud Breeland was a cornerback who looked like was on his way to signing back in July, but that never came to completion and he’s still on the market. The preseason can sometimes cause false narratives though, so maybe things will be better in the regular season, we’ll see.
The starting cornerback tandem will be Kendall Fuller and Steven Nelson. Let’s take a look at both players individually.
First, we have Fuller, the player Kansas City received in the Alex Smith trade with Washington back in the offseason. Fuller is the kind of cornerback that defensive coordinator Bob Sutton loves. That is a long-armed, physical player who can press coverage and run with receivers. Fuller was rated as one of the best slot cornerbacks a year ago, and now he looks like Kansas City’s top man outside.
Next, we have Nelson who has had a so-so run thus far in Kansas City, but who has a chance to do some big things this season. He has continued to grow in Sutton’s defense and is already entering his fourth year with the team. Nelson does not play press as well as Fuller, but he can still run down the field with the receivers. If he can stay consistent, the Chiefs will be fine opposite of Fuller.
Moving to the safety position, the great Eric Berry has one roster spot locked down. The other spot is a huge question mark right now, as Daniel Sorensen suffered a knee injury in training camp and is likely out for most of the first half of the season. Berry contributes imensily already, and with the youth at the other safety spot, the Chiefs will need someone to step up fast. Eric Murray has some experience, but rookie Armani Watts played a ton of snaps at Texas A&M and has a lot of upside. My guess is the Chiefs will have a rotation at the other safety spot throughout the first half of the season.
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Looking at the rest of the depth chart and the performance throughout camp and the preseason, it is very tough to say what Kansas City’s front office and coaches are thinking about the rest of these guys.
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My official projections are that the Chiefs will keep three other cornerbacks. That is a total of five cornerbacks and four safeties, including Sorensen, since he is unlikely to land on IR at this point. The other remaining players that I think make the team are Orlando Scandrick, ArrionSprings, as well as rookie Tremon Smitm.
Smith is still learning to play cornerback in Sutton’s defense, but will likely see a good share of reps. Scandrick is a veteran who helps the Chiefs who can he perform consistently. As the season goes on, I think the third cornerback spot will become his. I also believe Springs has performed well enough in the preseason to make the team, even if he hasn’t had a ton of reps.
I do not think a veteran, David Amerson, makes the team. Amerson has not fared well in camp or the preseason, and even though the Chiefs need experience in the secondary, Amerson just doesn’t look he has what Kansas City is hoping for. They signed him for cheap at $500,000 guaranteed, so it won’t be like this signing was a complete blow to their salary cap. Amerson has been around for a while, but it seems like he has struggled for a couple of seasons now. With the Raiders, he was getting run by just as bad as he was this preseason. Therefore, that is one of the biggest notable cuts I see the Chiefs making.
Final depth chart:
LCB: 1) Steven Nelson 2) Orlando Scandrick 3) Arrion Springs
RCB: 1) Kendall Fuller 2) Tremon Smith
SS: 1) Eric Berry 2) Eric Murray
FS: 1) Daniel Sorensen (injured) 2) Armani Watts
Keep in mind, with final roster cuts, the Chiefs can always sign a free agent or trade for somebody.
Here are some bonus roster spots: These four positions are easy decisions to make for the final 53, as there is no competition at these spots. They are fullback Anthony Sherman, long snapper James Winchester, punter Dustin Colquitt and kicker Harrison Butker.
That will do it for our roster projections, and it will be fun to see how correct we were throughout this. As always, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage for great sports content! We have finally made it to the regular season!