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Chiefs get to see what they could have had

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- From this relatively early vantage point, it doesn’t look like cornerback Brandon Flowers will play Sunday for the San Diego Chargers against his former team, the Kansas City Chiefs. Flowers has a groin injury.

Flowers, after having what for him was a substandard season for the Chiefs last season, is again playing like one of the NFL's top cornerbacks. Pro Football Focus has him as the best corner in the NFL this season among 103 cornerbacks.

While the Chiefs probably won’t get an up close look at what they missed in Flowers after releasing him in June, a cornerback they could have had will play against them. The Chiefs in this year’s draft passed on the chance to select TCU’s Jason Verrett in the first round, instead going for Auburn linebacker Dee Ford. The Chargers drafted Verrett two spots later.

Ford doesn’t play much, but it’s far too early to think they made a mistake in drafting him. Ford has significant pass-rush skills, though he needs more time to polish them.

Verrett has needed no time to acclimate himself to the NFL. PFF graded Verrett as the No. 3 cornerback. He had a late-game interception that sealed last week’s three-point victory over the Oakland Raiders.

Verrett might fit well in the Chiefs’ lineup now. One of their starting cornerbacks, Marcus Cooper, has been the weak link in their pass defense. PFF has him as the 102nd-rated cornerback, one spot from the bottom.

The Chiefs tried to address cornerback in the third round of the draft, selecting Phillip Gaines of Rice. But Gaines looked mostly lost during training camp and the preseason and has played mainly on special teams.

Like Ford, it’s too early to give up on Gaines, who may yet develop into a better player than Verrett. But the Chiefs will have a good view Sunday of just how much more advanced Verrett is, at least for now.