With two defensive picks to begin the 2014 NFL Draft for the Kansas City Chiefs, Head Coach Andy…
When they finally were up to bat in the third round they filled another huge area of need for their defense. In selecting Rice cornerback, Phillip Gaines, the Chiefs have someone who can grow into a starters role in 2015. Further the team continues to address the teams' biggest area of weakness by adding two defensive playmakers on Thursday and Friday.
Gaines has blazing speed, and much like former Chiefs first round pick, Dontari Poe, two years ago, the Rice product had one of the most impressive workout warriors at the NFL combines last February.
He can close the gap on receivers down the field. He's not known for his ability to support the run but his talents reside in his ability to shut down one side of the field. A year ago at Rice opponents only threw 33% of the time in his direction.
In the AFC West against the likes of Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers, he'll be tested mightily. But the Chiefs certainly will give him an opportunity to compete right away and get on the field come opening day.
This selection isn't all that surprising since there were rumblings, Brandon Flowers, was on the trading block before the draft began. So adding a player such as the lanky and talented Gaines was a solid move for Kansas City in their attempts to bolster their secondary.
A year ago Chiefs General Manager, John Dorsey, signed veteran cornerback, Sean Smith, to a three-year free agent deal. But his first year in Kansas City was anything but stellar. With Flowers struggling all season, and Smith underachieving, they turned to rookie, Marcus Cooper, who had some bright spots but also some very low points in a starters role.
With Gaines in the fold, suddenly the Chiefs secondary is a bit deeper. But it also means something else long term. This pick is eerily similar to the one Kansas City made with their first round pick Defensive End, Dee Ford, on Thursday.
Ford is the heir apparent and eventual successor to Tamba Hali. Gaines could be the man who replaces Smith on the outside after this season or Flowers should his salary be too much for the Chiefs to carry in 2015.
On the plus side, if Flowers can have a comeback season defending the slot and Smith stands tall to shake off a miserable 2013 season, the addition of Gaines will only bolster the Chiefs secondary.
After all, the Chiefs will face some of the games best quarterbacks next year and they're going to need their cornerbacks to play much better than they did after their 9-0 start.
But before we get too euphoric over the selection, Gaines is not without risk. He battled injuries and suspensions but bounced back last season to record four interceptions, nine pass breakups and recorded 36 tackles. Again the way the Chiefs secondary was torched a year ago, his only job will be to chase down receivers and break up passes.
This selection didn't address the Chiefs need at wide receiver or offensive line but it's clear Dorsey and Head Coach, Andy Reid, must fix their defense to be competitive in 2014.
That plan started back in March with the free agent additions of Defensive Lineman Vance Walker, Linebacker Joe Mays and veteran Cornerback, Chris Owens. By acquiring a pair of playmakers on defense via the draft, the Chiefs appear focused on retooling their defense one player at a time.
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Will Phillip Gaines start for the Chiefs in 2014?
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