Chiefs address cornerback with first-round selection of Marcus Peters

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs could have gone a variety of directions with the 18th overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Inside linebacker, cornerback, offensive line or wide receiver made sense if the team went with either position.

Washington's Marcus Peters walks on the field against Stanford in an NCAA football game Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Washington’s Marcus Peters walks on the field against Stanford in an NCAA football game Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

But the Chiefs eventually chose to take a chance on former Washington cornerback Marcus Peters.

“I think he has probably got the best ball skills of any defensive back in this draft,” general manager John Dorsey said during his post-selection media session. “I think he is very physical in run support. I think he’s got an incredible feel for the game of football. As one very famous defensive coordinator told me, ‘He’s the best defensive back in the last four years.’ He just sent me that text.”

The 6-0, 197-pound Peters appeared in 34 career games, totaling 129 tackles (95 solo), a sack, 11 interceptions, 35 passes defensed, a forced fumble and three fumble recoveries.

Still, Peters arrives with character concerns.

The native of Oakland, Calif., was kicked off the football team in November following a series of disciplinary actions. And Peters said during a conference call with Chiefs beat writers his dismissal was a “misunderstanding” following a coaching change from Steve Sarkisian to Chris Petersen following the 2013 season.

However, he wouldn’t divulge details.

“I went through it,” Peters said. “I went through this process, I’ve been enjoying it and I’m going to continue enjoying it because now I get to go into the NFL, and I’m blessed to be a part of the Kansas City Chiefs and start a new chapter in my life. And I’m going to leave it at that because I’m not going to keep talking about something because U-Dub was good to me, and I’m blessed to be a part of that.”

The Chiefs first met with Peters at the NFL Scouting Combine, and Peters met with position coaches and had a sidebar meeting with Dorsey.

The Chiefs then went through a vigorous screening process with Peters, including bringing him in for a pre-draft visit.

“I met with them at the Combine then I came up for my visit,” Peters said. “I just had one of those great feelings, man. It felt like home walking into that building.”

The background checks went all the way to the final minutes of the pre-draft process.

Dorsey, who believed Peters projected as a top-10 pick without the team dismissal, said director of player personnel Chris Ballard flew to Oakland and spent Monday and Tuesday with Peters and his parents.

“We did a very extensive research in regards to this person and we talked to his coaches, his former coaches,” Dorsey said. “The kid is competitive; he’s a very competitive kid. He’s not a malicious kid, whatsoever.”

The selection of Peters provides immediate depth and fills a need at cornerback. He is the first cornerback selected by the Chiefs in the first round since Dale Carter in 1992.

Peters’ experience as a press corner at Washington is also appealing to the Chiefs’ press-man defensive scheme.

“I played a lot of it,” Peters said. “And for me, that is where I excel at. But I can do it all and that’s when I get into the league and with get with coach Reid and the Chiefs organization, it’s going to show.”

Peters joins cornerbacks Sean Smith, Phillip Gaines, Jamell Fleming, Marcus Cooper, Aaron Hester and Deji Olatoye on the roster.

Smith and Fleming, however, enter the final year of their respective contracts.

“We’re excited about adding him to an already explosive defense at a very important position, that cornerback position,” coach Andy Reid said during a post-selection media session. “Not only is it an important position from a defensive standpoint, but we also don’t have a lot of numbers there.”

Ultimately, the Chiefs got a player they coveted.

Dorsey said Peters was one of 10 to 12 impact players in the draft, and Reid said Peters was among of group of players they were considering at No. 18 as the pick drew closer.

With Peters available and the Chiefs on the clock, the selection was easy.

“We came out saying that we would take him if the board told us, by rank, that he was the best player.” Reid said. “We got to that point, we felt like he was the best player on the board at that time and that’s what we did.”

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Herbie Teope is the lead beat writer and reporter for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter:

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