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Roger Goodell will be calling out the name of at least one free safety for the Kansas City Chiefs at Radio City Music Hall later this week—it's simply a question of when that will occur.
This offseason, K.C. predictably elected to let 2013 starter Kendrick Lewis walk in free agency.
He appeared to be moving in slow motion the entire year, proving utterly inept as the lone deep man in Bob Sutton's single-high coverage.
When Lewis finally signed elsewhere in late March, it was less surprising than Anthony Weiner failing to win the 2013 NYC mayoral election.
What was mildly shocking, however, was that Dorsey didn't acquire any outside free-agent to replace Lewis. Other than retaining the services of Hussain Abdullah, who's again likely destined for a part-time role, Dorsey did little to improve the situation at the one defensive position that is most in need of attention.
As things stand now, Abdullah and Sanders Commings, a rookie who was limited by injury to two games in 2013, are set to duke it out for starting snaps at free safety.
Kansas Citians have been bubbling about Commings' potential; he's a large, athletic ball hawk, expected to cover sideline to sideline significantly better than the departed Lewis. But, at the end of the day, he's still an unproven fifth-round draft pick, who has essentially zero in-game experience at the position.
He may well end up being the answer, but putting all their eggs in the Commings' basket would be unwise for the Chiefs.
The K.C. front office has been thought to be considering selecting a FS with the 23rd overall pick. If so, it'll likely be one of three players: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Calvin Pryor or Jimmie Ward.
Clinton-Dix and Pryor are the consensus top two at the position—each would have to slightly slip in order to be available when the Chiefs are on the clock. Of the two, the bigger, laterally quicker Clinton-Dix would provide the better fit for Sutton's defensive scheme.
Pryor is among the draft's hardest hitters and excels against the run, but his discipline has occasionally been called into question. As for Ward, he's a fairly distant third, but may warrant a reach if Dorsey's intent on adding help at the position.
If Kansas City chooses to pass on a safety in the first, there's still a chance that it could add starting-caliber talent with its third-round selection.
Names that could compete to be Week 1 starters include Terrence Brooks and Antone Exum.
Brooks has steadily climbed up analysts' draft boards for the past couple of months; the former Florida State Seminole was recently listed among NFL.com's top-10 draft sleepers to watch for 2014. At February's combine, he logged the fastest 40-yard dash for a safety by a significant margin, and he tied for tops in the vertical jump.
Though still adjusting from his natural spot at cornerback, he'd be a great value pick with loads of potential upside.
Exum, a large-framed FS out of Virginia Tech, is another viable option, given that he remains available until this juncture of the draft. He's not quite as fast or athletic as Brooks, but makes up for it with his size and strength.
Behind a decent showing in training camp and/or preseason games, any of these four prospects could wind up filling the vacancy left by Lewis.