The Kansas City Chiefs made an addition to their secondary on Saturday, trading up to select former Virginia Tech defensive back Chamarri Conner.
Here are five things to know about the newest member of the defense.
1. He's a versatile defender who logged a ton of experience at Virginia Tech.
Conner appeared in 61 games (48 starts) for the Hokies from 2018-22, earning a starting role as a sophomore that he never relinquished. He started 13 games that year, racking up 68 tackles, 10 tackles-for-loss, a team-most 5.5 sacks and nine passes defensed. He then logged a team-leading 81 tackles, six passes defensed and 3.5 sacks in 2020 (11 starts) before recording 85 tackles, six passes defensed and 5.5 tackles-for-loss in 2021 (13 starts). Conner started 11 games in 2022, notching 67 tackles, two passes defensed and two sacks.
In total, Conner left campus with 314 tackles (the 10th-most in school history), 23 passes defensed, 21 tackles-for-loss, 7.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and four interceptions. He built a reputation as a big-hitter and playmaker during his time in school, which was evident in Virginia Tech's highlight video that they posted prior to the draft.
Versatility is also a major part of Conner's game. He recorded significant snaps as a slot corner, a deep safety and a box safety during his career at Virginia Tech, demonstrating an ability to play anywhere in the secondary. Specifically, Conner logged 279 snaps in the slot, 253 snaps as a deep safety and 121 snaps in the box this past season.
When asked about his ability to play a variety of roles on Saturday, Conner explained that it's simply always been a part of who he is as a player.
"I've always been able to play multiple positions. In high school, I'd play every position on the backend, from corner to safety to nickel," Conner said. "I was always able to move around, and that translated to my college career. I've always been a guy who can step up and do any job."
2. Conner is a durable player who didn't miss a single game over the last four years.
That versatility – and the hard-hitting nature with which Conner plays – meant a lot of tough, physical snaps, but it's worth pointing out that Conner was as durable as they come during his time in school.
A four-year starter (and five-year contributor) at Virginia Tech, Conner started 48 consecutive games to wrap up his college career.
3. He was a big-time contributor on special teams during his career with the Hokies.
In addition to his contributions on defense, Conner was a standout on special teams throughout his time in Blacksburg. Here's more on that topic from The Athletic's Dane Brugler:
"Conner was a special teams ace in college, logging 802 snaps. His special teams background should stand out from Day 1 of training camp."
Conner's abilities on special teams also caught the eye of Jim Nagy, the Executive Director of the Senior Bowl, who tweeted the following about Conner's "want to" on special teams.
Here's more from Conner, who was asked about his special teams' experience on Saturday.
"I take so much pride in special teams. It's how I [made] my name [for myself] at Virginia Tech. My freshman year, I came in and was [a four-phase player] on special teams. I didn't redshirt," Conner said. "I was always that guy to get those special teams honors. I take it very seriously. Even outside of my freshman year, that was always a part of my career – flying down and making those big plays on special teams. I'll definitely carry that with me."
4. Conner showed off his strength and explosiveness at the NFL Scouting Combine.
The six-foot-tall, 202-pound Conner is an excellent athlete who demonstrated his explosiveness at the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this offseason with a 40.5-inch vertical jump (which ranked third among all safeties). He also recorded 20 reps on the bench press, ranking fifth among safeties.
Here's a quick look at Conner's "relative athletic score," which recognized his physical skillset as one of the best at his position in recent memory.
5. He's a native of Jacksonville, Florida.
Conner attended Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, leading the school to consecutive state titles before fielding a handful of offers from various FBS programs. He eventually landed at Virginia Tech, and now just six years later, Conner is headed to the defending Super Bowl champions.
The Kansas City Chiefs selected Virginia Tech DB Chamarri Conner in the 4th Round (Pick 119) of the third day of 2023 NFL Draft.