Chiefs Positional Preview: Defensive Backs

Exploring what to watch in the Chiefs secondary leading up to training camp

The Kansas City Chiefs secondary had their best season based on passing yards allowed per game (203) since 2011 last year, and the general theme for the group heading into this season will be continuing that success.

Returning starters Husain Abdullah, Ron Parker and Sean Smith head into camp leading a unit of 17, including two draft picks in first-rounder Marcus Peters and third-rounder Steve Nelson. Of the 17, five will enter their rookie season and two, Phillip Gaines and Daniel Sorensen, enter 2015 as sophomores.

Here are three points regarding the defensive backs group headed into the 2014 season:

The Chiefs spent two top-three round draft picks on defensive backs.

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Any time a team spends their top pick in any year's draft on a given position, there will be special attention paid to that positional group come training camp.

In the 2015 NFL Draft, the Chiefs selected two cornerbacks in the first three rounds—first-round pick Marcus Peters and third-round pick Steve Nelson.

Because of school obligations, both players missed OTAs but returned for the Chiefs minicamp, where they were able to continue to take in their playbooks.

"I thought they did a pretty nice job, actually," Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said after minicamp.  "They're getting caught up with the speed of the game, which looks like they adjusted to very well."


Sean Smith had the best year of his career last year, but still wants more for the Chiefs as a whole.

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Sean Smith's 2015 season was the best of his career according to the football analytics website, Pro Football Focus. In fact, only four other cornerbacks in the league rated higher than Smith, a top-five honor that placed him in the same breath of the widely known Richard Sherman and Darrelle Revis.

Pro Football Focus Cornerback Ratings

 Name

Team

Overall Rating

 Chris Harris Jr.

DEN

28.4

 Vontae Davis

IND

21.8

 Richard Sherman

SEA

18.2

 Darrelle Revis

NYJ

17.7

Sean Smith

KC

17.0

The rating was Smith's best since 2010, when he was a member of the Miami Dolphins.

When asked if he's ready to build upon last year, despite that personal success, Smith said he has goals in mind this year that are more important.

"I hate to say that I'm picking up where I left off because I look at us as a team, as a unit, and we didn't really make it to where we needed to be," he said during offseason workouts. "As a secondary we didn't finish number one, we were number two in pass defense but we weren't number one.

"I feel like there's always room for improvement. But I definitely learned what I did right and what I did wrong from last year and this year I'm trying to build on it, improve in some areas and just make more plays."

The Kansas City Chiefs 2015 Defensive Backs

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Ron Parker signed an extension in the offseason.

With all the midseason changes to the secondary last season, Ron Parker proved to be a constant for Kansas City, seamlessly switching from cornerback to safety and back depending on what was asked of him.

After being released on eight separate occasions, Parker [was rewarded this offseason with a long-term contract](@KCChiefs%20%20Mar%2016%20#Chiefs sign DB Ron Parker READ: http://chfs.me/1ClJij6), and he'll enter training camp as the Chiefs starter at safety.

"During the whole process, [Kansas City] never left my heart," he said this offseason after signing. "I was just dying and wanted to come back here and was hoping that the Chiefs organization and John Dorsey could get it done because my relationship with the coaches and everybody in the building is just unbelievable."

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