The fact the Kansas City Chiefs have now selected four cornerbacks in the last three years, tells you something. Two years ago it was often injured Georgia defensive back, Sanders Commings. In 2014, they took Rice corner, Phillip Gaines.
On Thursday night, the Chiefs used their first pick of the draft by selecting Washington Cornerback, Marcus Peters. Not satisfied with their current group of corners, the Chiefs added small framed defensive back, Steven Nelson.
I don’t want to slight Nelson for his height because he plays big. In fact, he’s a hard nose, old school style cornerback that loves to get in the face of receivers. Even with his vertical challenges, he uses cunning speed and sharp angles to break up passes.
Of all the cornerbacks drafted to date, you might be hard pressed to find one that is this string in supporting the run. If you’re a cornerback in Kansas City, you must be able to attack the line of scrimmage.
In taking Peters and Nelson, the Chiefs have upgraded the cornerback position for Defensive Coordinator, Bob Sutton. Over the last two years, Kansas City has struggled defending the pass. In the AFC West, the Chiefs cornerbacks have generally fallen short when it comes to playing against the elite quarterbacks.
Though Kansas City has tried to fill the bill at cornerback with taller defenders; Nelson is a rare exception because he plays with such tenacity. As some have pointed out, he tends to grab a hold of receivers at times. However, for a late third round pick, he has terrific footwork and loves to attack the ball.
The comparisons to Mark McMillian won’t cease anytime soon. If you look at both cornerbacks, they have the same build, closing speed and playmaking abilities. If Nelson, plays anywhere near the level of ‘Mighty Mouse’ then perhaps Kansas City found a player who could become a solid nickel cornerback for Sutton’s defense.