The Kansas City Chiefs were diligent in adding to their cornerback room this offseason.
After losing Charvarius Ward to free agency, Kansas City drafted first-round pick Trent McDuffie, fourth-round pick Joshua Williams, and seventh-round picks Jaylen Watson and Nazeeh Johnson. They also traded for Houston Texans’ Lonnie Johnson Jr.
While the additions were tied to Ward’s departure and an overall lack of depth at the position, general manager Brett Veach revealed an injury in the cornerback room that might also be tied to all the additions.
“[Rashad] Fenton is a guy that we’re obviously very high on and very confident in,” Veach said during his press conference on May 3. “He’s going through a little bit of a rehab now, so hopefully we get him for the start of training camp.”
What is Fenton’s rehab for, you ask? Veach explained later in the press conference that it was for a shoulder procedure.
“I think it’s a shoulder,” Veach said. “I’m sure Rick [Burkholder] will talk about that either after OTAs or before. It’s something that — I think he’ll be ready for training camp, but we certainly want to get some guys out here and be ready to roll. [We want to] be in position to kind of know what we have [at cornerback].”
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Fenton Excelled During 2021 Season in Reserve Role
Although he was not a “starter” for Kansas City, Fenton, 25, was exceptional during the 2021 season. He earned a 79.1 defensive grade from PFF for the season, which ranked No. 6 among all graded cornerbacks in the NFL. However, among the top-10 graded corners, Fenton played the fewest amount of defensive snaps (581).
Before the draft, Fenton was the presumed player that would earn an increased role and potentially be a starter next season for the Chiefs. However, now that Kansas City drafted McDuffie with an early draft pick, Fenton may see an increased role, but his chances of being a starter have gone down.
If Fenton’s injury rehab takes longer than expected and forces him to miss time during training camp, that could also impact the chances of him having an increased role, specifically early in the season.
Veach Recaps Successful Offseason for Chiefs
Heading into an offseason with concerns on both sides of the football, Kansas City’s front office has done a good job of silencing those concerns. They signed players like safety Justin Reid and receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling after losing Tyrann Mathieu to free agency and trading away Tyreek Hill. They also added high-level talent via the draft in McDuffie, first-round pick and defensive end George Karlaftis, second-round pick and receiver Skyy Moore, and third-round pick and linebacker Leo Chenal.
Veach detailed how he felt the Chiefs’ front office has performed this offseason thus far.
“I feel pretty good about the work we did in the offseason,” Veach said. “We had a lot of things we had to accomplish. I feel good about our approach. I feel good about the plan we had. It was tricky, especially when the receiver market went crazy,” he said.
“I feel good not just about the talent we added but the quantity. I think we added a lot of good talent.”
With the draft now in the rearview mirror, next up for the Chiefs is rookie minicamp, which takes from May 7 to May 9.