One On One: Jarrad Page

This time last year, Kansas City Chiefs safety Jarrad Page was starting for the UCLA Bruins. What a difference a year makes.

In his first season in the NFL, Page is staking his place in the league, and making a strong case to start for the Chiefs sooner than later.

Against the Cincinnati Bengals in week one, the Chiefs were frustrated by the play of veteran safety Sammy Knight. They pulled him off the field and sent in Page. The young safety responded and played like he'd been around for several seasons instead of several months.

"It was a good experience," said Page. "We've been practicing all this time - I've been practicing my whole life to get here. I was happy to be out there on special teams, and I actually got a chance to play some defense, and I felt pretty good about the way I played."

"Coach told me I was going to play, but he didn't say how much. Then he told me to go in, and I was like, cool. I was kind of surprised. I was happy to get out there."

There's not exactly a safety controversy at this point, but it's getting tougher to keep Page off the field. Knight started against the Denver Broncos, but the Chiefs spelled both Knight and Greg Wesley with Page.

The seventh-rounder has been a pleasant surprise for the Chiefs. They drafted Bernard Pollard in the second round of this year's draft, and he has the tools to be a great one, but from the moment Page walked into the Chiefs facility, he's been showing the Chiefs that he's the most ready for primetime. The Chiefs are giving him the opportunity to develop into a player.

"They given me support in everything I've done on the field," said Page. "They've shown me that they don't care where they've got people in the draft, or how much money they pay you - they look for you to perform on the field. They told me they really liked me as a player and they like what I'm doing on the practice field, and they just wanted me to keep it up. They said you'll get your turn, just keep doing what you're doing on the practice field."

Page's time on the practice field is translating into live games. He's a natural safety, with size close to a linebacker, but speed that's more like a cornerback. That combination enables Page to play close to the line in run support, and cover wide receivers down the field. The Chiefs have even been using Page as a nickel back in passing situations.

"I think the most underrated part of my game is the fact that I can cover," said Page. "I was 232 pounds at UCLA. I weighed a lot, but I covered. We would play Cover 0, no help, and I would cover the slot (receivers). Because of my size, people would think, ‘Oh, he's a hitter', or, ‘He's just a box safety,' but to me, coming to UCLA, I was a corner. I've always worked on corner. I love one-on-one drills covering receivers. I feel like I can cover, and I think going into the draft and even now, because of my size, people don't look at my coverage. That's one of the things I've showed the coaching staff here, and that's why I've been able to come at nickel, and play free or strong safety. That's something I've been able to show I can do."

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