Rookie report: CB Marcus Cooper

Cornerback Marcus Cooper

How acquired: Claimed off waivers from San Francisco 49ers shortly before the start of the regular season.

2013 season: The Chiefs took a chance on Cooper, who was a seventh-round draft pick of the 49ers. The Chiefs claimed him off waivers and almost immediately he became a contributor as a third cornerback. Cooper played better than the Chiefs had a right to expect before he faded late in the year. He scored a touchdown when he alertly beat an opposing player to a fumble in the end zone on a muffed Tennessee Titans punt return during an October game. He had an interception to help break open what had been a close game against the Oakland Raiders the next week and in December picked off a Peyton Manning pass in a game against the Denver Broncos. But he faded so badly late in the season that the Chiefs felt forced to replace him as the third cornerback.

Looking ahead: Which was the real Cooper, the one who repeatedly made plays over the season’s first nine games or the one beaten repeatedly down the stretch? It will be interesting to see what becomes of Cooper. At 6-2 and 192 pounds he has the size the Chiefs like in a cornerback. The Chiefs won’t give up on him any time soon, nor should they. After the Chiefs released veteran Dunta Robinson, Cooper for the time being at least has no competition for the third cornerback spot. It wouldn’t be a surprise longer range if Cooper winds up as a starter. But for that to happen, he has to play as he did early in the season and do that consistently.