The Chiefs lost one of their best defenders a few days ago. Charvarius Ward recently signed with the San Francisco 49ers on a three-year, $42 million deal with $26.7 million guaranteed. This leaves a huge hole for the Chiefs to fill this offseason, whether from free agency or the draft. Furthermore, it has thinned out its cornerback core, whose main contributors are Rashad Fenton and L’Jarius Sneed.
There are a decent amount of options the Chiefs can choose from to fill in the hole Ward has left. Here are three plausible replacements for Charvarius Ward:
With many of the main cornerback free agents signed, one of the younger and cheaper options the Chiefs can chase is Donte Jackson from the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers aren’t expected to re-sign him this offseason, making him a prime target for the Chiefs to sign. In 12 games in 2021, Jackson posted 61 total tackles, ten passes defended, two interceptions, and a forced fumble.
Additionally, in coverage, Jackson was targetted 67 times with 42 completions (62.7% completion percentage) for 478 yards and three touchdowns, allowing fewer yards than Ward with one game less than him. Jackson has shown that he can play well in both man and zone coverage while providing solid run support.
The Chiefs are in the business or younger and cheaper with their recent signing of Justin Reid. With Jackson turning 27 this season, he’s still in his prime years. Furthermore, Jackson can still improve over time. I don’t expect him to be worth ten million dollars annually, but I feel the Chiefs can strike a deal with him if they’re in the market for a little cheaper.
Kaiir Elam, Florida
With the 30th pick in the draft, one of the best cornerback prospects they can snag with that respective pick is Kaiir Elam from Florida. Elam is someone who can be an immediate starter for this Chiefs’ defense. He’s more prominent in zone coverage, where his length and ball skills genuinely shine. He can keep leverage well no matter where he’s lined up. He has shown to play well in press man coverage, which allows him to take receivers off their route; he sometimes gets too physical and has given up deep completions from when stacked vertically.
Elam has very good football IQ, which allowed him to be a starter in his freshman year. He has also shown great strides as a run defender and a more consistent tackler as the years have gone along. Additionally, he has great ball skills, allowing him to track and locate the ball in the air easily. Elam would be a great add-on to this team and could be the next breakout corner for this Chiefs’ defense.
Kyler Gordon, Washington
If the Chiefs can’t snag Elam, one of the better outside cornerback prospects the Chiefs could grab with the 30th pick is Kyle Gordon from Washington. Gordon can do well in both man and zone in terms of coverage ability. Gordon has shown great athleticism in man coverage that allows him to stay close to receivers when they’re within his zone. And in man coverage, he has demonstrated good quickness to stay with his man and can close separation if the ball is late or off-target.
Gordon has also shown to be an exceptional tackler, much like Ward is. He also possesses good ball skills, with good functional athleticism and football IQ. Furthermore, he is versatile, being able to play both as a nickelback and outside corner; Andy Reid has always liked versatile players. Gordon is a great option if Elam is off the board.
Who do you think is the Chiefs’ best bet to replace Charvarius Ward? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion.
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