How Phillip Gaines Fits with the Kansas City Chiefs

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How Phillip Gaines Fits with the Kansas City Chiefs
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

With yet another plot twist, John Dorsey and the Kansas City Chiefs selected cornerback Phillip Gaines with the club's third-round pick.

No, it's not a wide receiver. Put down the pitchfork and have patience, young grasshopper. 

At 6'0", 193 pounds, Gaines boasts prototypical build for a press corner. The same holds true for his length, as the corner totes 31.88" arms and 9.63" hands. 

NFL.com's draft guru, Mike Mayock, claims, "He's a long corner who had a tremendous combine workout. I felt like he's a developmental guy, but he has starter skills."

Given his size, his 4.38 40-yard dash time via NFL.com, which tied for second among cornerbacks at the 2014 combine, is atypical.

Reviewing his body of work, WalterFootball.com wrote:

The senior recorded 36 tackles with four interceptions and nine passes broken up in 2013. In 2012, he had 33 tackles with 18 passes defended.

Gaines clearly has a nice combination of size and speed. It isn't surprising that his stock has climbed in the lead up to the 2014 NFL Draft. Gaines may go earlier than most projections; the second round isn't out of the realm of possibility.

The first thing that stands out about Gaines is his ball skills. He doesn't flash great hands—don't expect him to snatch heaps of interceptions—but he has a knack for batting passes away at the last second.

Gaines showcases relatively solid fundamentals and a smooth backpedal, but in Bob Sutton's system, he'll need to improve his efficiency in jamming at the line. The foundation is there, though. 

Last season, he raised eyebrows by holding opposing quarterbacks to a meager 32.5 completion percentage, allowing just 13 receptions throughout 40 targets. 

Unfortunately—and this has developed into a running theme for Kansas City's picks over the past two seasons—he has suffered two serious injuries (broken foot and wrist) in the past. Also, he needs to be more effective in run support, which is arguably his most glaring weakness. 

In 2014, the Chiefs will experiment with him, but he'll likely battle Marcus Cooper for snaps as a nickelback. In a few years, as Mayock earlier alluded to, he can progress into a starting role on the outside.

Throughout his rookie season, though, a share of his snaps will also likely see him roaming the middle in zone, much like Husain Abdullah did throughout 2013. 

 

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