It’s a new week. With that said, it’s time to take a look at another possible breakout candidate for the Chiefs. So far, we have talked about Byron Pringle and Armani Watts. Next on the list, is another defensive back, Charvarius Ward. Ward was acquired by the Chiefs in a trade with the Dallas Cowboys at the end of training camp last year. While he didn’t see significant snaps early on, it was clear the Chiefs saw something special in Ward.
First of all, the Chiefs did not seriously add to the cornerback depth chart this offseason. This shows a vote of confidence they have in Ward, despite him yet to play a snap in a new defensive system. His combination of length and speed is something Kansas City has always wanted in their cornerbacks. With all the intangibles there, Ward just has to go out and continue to develop on the field.
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Ward began last season strictly as a special teams player. It was after the Chiefs blew a late lead at home against the Chargers, when he finally got a shot to play a major chunk of snaps on defense. It was a rough start to say the least. In Seattle, Ward was fooled plenty of times by the silky route running of someone like Doug Baldwin. He, like many other Chief defenders, struggled with too much penalties on the backend as well. It was a humbling moment for him and the Chiefs in that brutal loss against the Seahawks.
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From then on, Ward and the defense played more sound in the next couple of games before the AFC Championship. The assignments were less blown. The opposing receivers were gaining less separation. Finally, the tackling saw more success and was more consistent. Ward himself, showed how well he could hang with receivers stride for stride in these games. The great connection of Tom Brady to Julian Edelman was just too much for Ward in the AFC Championship Game though. Despite the tough ending to the season, Ward came a long way from a sleepless night in Seattle. If he can continue to grow, the Chiefs won’t shy away from giving him opportunities in 2019.
In His Own Words
For Charvarius Ward, things were never easy. There was a story from the Kansas City Star that came out last year during the playoffs, that talked about what Ward had overcome. He had to take kindergarten twice, as teachers were worried about his diagnosed visual acuity. Ward also spent six months on crutches and an additional six months in a wheelchair following an accident in his childhood. While overcoming all of this, Ward didn’t always think about football. Now he feels the love from this Chiefs team.
Last week at minicamp, Ward mentioned how it was “a dream come true” to play for the Chiefs. “The Chiefs gave me an opportunity. The Cowboys also gave me an opportunity, but the Chiefs believed in me more. Coach Reid and Brett Veach saw a lot in me. They gave me an opportunity. I respect them for that. I thank them for that. I’m going to prove them right.”
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– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.