The Kansas City Chiefs are coming off a spectacular 2019 season that culminated as Super Bowl champions. With the 2020 season on the horizon, the Chiefs will look to defend their title. To repeat as champions, the Chiefs will need support from the cornerback position.
Kansas City Chiefs Cornerbacks Can Make or Break Season
In 2020, the Kansas City Chiefs have a target on their back after winning the Super Bowl. The Chiefs can look to their division to see how teams are planning to attack them. Every team in the AFC West added a wide receiver in the 2020 NFL Draft. Specifically, both the Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders drafted a first-round wide receiver with plans to bolster their pass game. These teams are just a handful of franchises that are gearing up for shootouts with Kansas City. Tasked with slowing down opposing teams’ passing attacks, the cornerback position is vital to Kansas City’s 2020 success.
Bashaud Breeland Off-field Issues
Entering the off-season with only two cornerbacks on the roster, the Chiefs re-signed cornerback Bashaud Breeland to return a starter from a championship team. However, when Kansas City re-signed him, they did not know that he would be facing a four-game suspension from the NFL for the use of a banned substance. Breeland also is in legal trouble for a recent arrest that may lead to more time out of the lineup. The Chiefs’ first four games of 2020 feature difficult opponents with two of 2019’s top passing offenses and two MVP candidates in quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson. Without Breeland on the field, it will be an increased challenge to slow down these high-potent attacks.
Loss of Kendall Fuller
The Chiefs are returning 20 out of 22 starters from their Super Bowl run, but this stat does not take into account the impact of their bench players. The Chiefs lost versatile cornerback Kendall Fuller to free agency as he signed a $40 million deal with the Washington Redskins. Fuller’s versatility played a key role for the Chiefs seeing time at cornerback, nickel and free safety at times. He also had the game-sealing interception in Super Bowl 54. With an important piece gone, the cornerback position is lacking experience behind its starters.
Who Can Step Up?
Outside of returning starters Charvarius Ward and Breeland, the cornerbacks on the roster are late-round picks and undrafted free agents. While some may look to All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu, who played some cornerback in his past, it is unlikely that he’ll switch positions. As a result, the top candidates to fill the backup cornerback position include 2020 fourth-round pick L’Jarius Sneed, 2019 sixth-round pick Rashad Fenton and free-agent signee Antonio Hamilton. Sneed played safety in his final year at Louisiana Tech. Fenton played sparingly last season, and Hamilton went undrafted in 2016. Amongst these candidates, there are a combined two starts.
Lacking experience, the group also faces the obstacle of a shortened off-season that hinders the number of reps they can receive at their position. When training camp for the Chiefs starts in July, someone must step up at the cornerback position as it will determine the success of the 2020 Kansas City Chiefs.
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