With the departure of Charvarius Ward this offseason and the addition of first-round pick Trent McDuffie, the Kansas City Chiefs cornerback room is one to watch over the course of training camp and the preseason games to see who rises to the top of the depth chart and who won’t make the cut.
Along with McDuffie, Kansas City drafted Jaylen Watson and Joshua Williams. They also traded for former Houston Texans corner Lonnie Johnson Jr. Add those players into a room that already has L’Jarius Sneed, Rashad Fenton (active/PUP), and Deandre Baker, and it’s tough to determine which corners will make the 53-man roster.
However, one Chiefs analyst believes one of the team’s rookie corners could be on the chopping block when the preseason ends and roster cuts take place.
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Chiefs Could Cut ‘Raw’ CB Jaylen Watson
Jacob Milham of Arrowhead Addict named Jaylen Watson as one of the rookie draft picks he believes could potentially be cut and end up back on Kansas City’s practice squad as a developmental project, similar to 2021 fifth-round draft pick Cornell Powell.
“Watson is going to be exciting and frustrating to watch at times,” Milham wrote on Aug. 5. “His training camp will be crucial in setting the team’s foundation for him and his journey in Kansas City. It is very possible that his journey starts on the Chiefs practice squad. It would allow Watson to learn and train with little pressure on contributing to Kansas City.”
Watson played his college ball at Washington State and recorded 31 tackles, four fumble recoveries, and 2 interceptions in 12 games played during the 2021 season, according to the school’s website. He was drafted by the Chiefs in the seventh round — 243rd overall — this year.
Sneed, McDuffie, and Fenton are players that can be assumed as locks to make the 53-man roster. A strong case can be made that Chris Lammons, who is listed as a corner but is a core special teamer, is also a lock. That leaves at most two spots available to fill at corner for the Chiefs’ regular season roster. Johnson, Baker, Watson, Williams, and Brandin Dandridge are the players competing for those last two roster spots.
But Watson appears to be on track to win one of those spots.
Watson Gets Praise from Chiefs Insider
Pete Sweeney of Arrowhead Pride spoke highly of Watson and his fellow rookie draft pick following Kansas City’s third day of padded practices.
“I think the Chiefs really like their draft picks at CB beyond Trent McDuffie (1): Joshua Williams (4) and Jaylen Watson (7),” Sweeney wrote on Twitter on Aug. 3. “That is going to make it a tough call on veterans Deandre Baker and Lonnie Johnson, among others.”
One of the bigger takeaways from the first week of padded practices was that Watson was running with the first-team defense as the corner opposite of McDuffie with Sneed in the slot during nickel packages. However, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo explained that Watson running with the first-team defense is nothing to read into.
“At any position, when you’re playing with the third group and all of those guys are young, it doesn’t go off quite as smooth,” Spags told the media on Aug. 5. “So sometimes, you put [him] with the first group to see how he functions, when everybody is functioning fast… that’s a reason why we put Jaylen up there a little bit.
“I thought he’s had two really good practices… He has come along. He was kind of a slow-mover early, but he’s figuring out that doesn’t really work at this level. We have to practice everything fast.”