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Rookie CBs make positive impression at Chiefs' minicamp

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Cornerbacks KeiVarae Russell, Eric Murray and D.J. White make for exactly one-third of the Kansas City Chiefs' draft class. But the team’s interest in seeing how they fared at the three-day rookie camp that concluded Monday was disproportionate.

The three players will have the best chance among the rookies for immediate playing time. The Chiefs have an opening for help at corner, where only Marcus Peters has established himself as an NFL player.

The Chiefs liked what they saw in Russell, a third-round pick from Notre Dame, Murray, a fourth-round choice from Minnesota, and White, a sixth-rounder from Georgia Tech. Russell and White were the starting cornerbacks while Murray played some at corner and a lot at safety.

“We got them all corner reps, and actually they looked pretty good," coach Andy Reid said. “You can always move them into the back end, to the safety position, if you’ve got to.

“They’ve all got corner ability. That was what we wanted to come out (of the rookie camp). We wanted to give them an opportunity in that area."

Moving to safety is an option for any or all of the three rookies, but that’s unlikely if they show an aptitude at cornerback. The Chiefs might not know a lot more about that until they put on the pads for the first time at training camp.

Rookie camp was conducted without pads. The Chiefs will continue to work in that mode when full-squad offseason practice begins May 24.

“As far as the physical part of it, you can’t do anything," Reid said. “You can’t bump and run. You can’t tackle. All of those things we’ve got to get later."

Whether any of the rookies earn playing time, the Chiefs will have a young group of cornerbacks, perhaps the least experienced in the league. Peters, who started all 16 regular-season games plus two in the playoffs last year, has the most experience. But he’s still heading into just his second NFL season.

The other top two veteran cornerbacks are Phillip Gaines, who is heading into his third NFL season but missed most of last year with a torn ACL, and Steven Nelson, who played little as a rookie last year.

Reid said he wasn’t concerned about that.

“I grew up with that whole Bill Walsh thing, when he went with the four rookies in the secondary and won the Super Bowl," he said, referring to the coach of the 1981 San Francisco 49ers. “I’ve seen it done (that) way, so I’m not quite as worried. As long as they can play, I’m OK."