ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Good things seem to come in twos for the Kansas City Chiefs when it comes to the draft and defensive backs. That’s a positive omen for their two rookie cornerbacks, Marcus Peters and Steven Nelson.
The Chiefs have traditionally had a lot of success when they’ve picked a couple of defensive backs in the same draft. Their last drafted defensive back to reach the Pro Bowl was Eric Berry. The Chiefs also in that 2010 draft selected another safety, Kendrick Lewis, who would go on to become a starter.
Then there was 2008, when the Chiefs drafted eventual Pro Bowler Brandon Flowers and another solid starting cornerback, Brandon Carr. Going back to 1996, the Chiefs drafted Jerome Woods, an eventual Pro Bowler, and Reggie Tongue, an eventual starter.
The process of recreating history has started for the Chiefs, who are in the midst of a three-day rookie camp. The Chiefs -- with veterans Sean Smith, Phillip Gaines, Jamell Fleming and Marcus Cooper -- have some depth at cornerback, but Peters and Nelson will get their opportunities to play.
Smith has been suspended for the season’s first three games for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, creating an opening for a starter. The Chiefs will take a long look at Peters in that role in training camp, which begins Saturday.
The Chiefs have no obvious veteran candidate to be their nickelback, so Nelson could wind up winning that job.
Longer term, the Chiefs expect Peters to become their No. 1 cornerback and perhaps reach one or more Pro Bowls.
The eventual success of one player isn’t tied to that of the other, as it seems with the Chiefs and their dual rookie defensive backs. Peters could eventually succeed even if Nelson fails or Nelson could be this year’s eventual Pro Bowler even if Peters is a bust.
The plan is for both to be significant contributors for years. The Chiefs put them together in an area hotel for offseason practice after they were drafted, and the two shared a bond when they had to skip much of the offseason work in Kansas City because their respective college academic terms had not finished.
“We’ve been roommates ever since we reported to Kansas City," Peters said. “We’ve been in the playbook together every night just communicating back and forth if we need each other’s help."