Chiefs' most intense roster competition should be at defensive back

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs will face some interesting decisions at a handful of positions this summer when it comes time to trim the roster from the current 90 players to the NFL regular-season limit of 53.

Nowhere will those decisions be as difficult as among the defensive backs.

The Chiefs have back from last season nine defensive backs who each played at least 130 snaps for them, plus backup safety Eric Murray, who was in for 65 plays as a rookie. The Chiefs also have added two players with NFL experience with other teams -- safety Marqueston Huff and cornerback De'Vante Bausby. They also drafted a defensive back, USC’s Leon McQuay III, in the sixth round.

Throw in cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste, a former second-round pick of the New Orleans Saints, and some developmental players, and the Chiefs have 18 defensive backs to sort through once they get to training camp in late July at Missouri Western State University.

The Chiefs will keep at least five at safety. Eric Berry and Ron Parker are the starters. The Chiefs re-signed Daniel Sorensen this year as the third safety. If the Chiefs had to pick now, Murray and Huff would be the others.

They also will keep at least five at cornerback. Marcus Peters is one starter and Steven Nelson will probably be the other. Terrance Mitchell, who played well late last season as the third cornerback, and Phillip Gaines have the best chance for other roster spots. D.J. White would be as of now the favorite as the fifth cornerback, but there would be a roster spot for McQuay, too.

The secondary brought many surprises when the Chiefs made their final cuts last season. They released two veterans in safeties Stevie Brown and Jamell Fleming and traded a cornerback, Marcus Cooper. In the biggest shock of all, regardless of position, the Chiefs released their third-round draft pick, cornerback KeiVarae Russell.

Similar surprises could be ahead this year in the defensive backfield.