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Analyzing a Chiefs need: Defensive back

With the initial frenzy of free agency over, we’ll start a look here at how the Kansas City Chiefs might line up at the various position groups if they had a game today and analyze whether the Chiefs have more work to do.

Defensive back

Likely starters: Jamell Fleming and Sean Smith (cornerback), Husain Abdullah and Ron Parker (safety).

Backups: Marcus Cooper and Phillip Gaines (cornerback), Tyvon Branch, Sanders Commings and Kelcie McCray (safety).

Others under contract or protected with a tender offer: Aaron Hester, Deji Olatoye and Shaquille Richardson (cornerback), Eric Berry and Daniel Sorensen (safety).

Analyzing the need: A lot to talk about here, first at safety. We’re leaving Berry off the active roster until we know more about how his recovery is going and what a realistic timetable is for his return. That’s why the Chiefs signed Branch from the Oakland Raiders to a one-year contract and made such a strong push ($6 million per year) to re-sign Parker. Including Berry, the only one of the Chiefs’ top four safeties under contract beyond 2015 is Parker. So another safety makes sense for the Chiefs. Another corner makes even more sense. Smith, their top corner, is headed into the final season of his contract. Fleming and Gaines played well last year, but the Chiefs have no one else they can count on at corner. After playing well to start the 2013 season, Cooper regressed later that year and continued his slide in 2014. So the selection of a cornerback in an early round, perhaps even the first, would be a smart move.