Notebook: Chiefs’ Marcus Peters primed to build on past season

Jan. 16, 2016; Foxborough, MA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters (22) defends against New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) in the second half at Gillette Stadium. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Jan. 16, 2016; Foxborough, MA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters (22) defends against New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) in the second half at Gillette Stadium. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Marcus Peters made a tremendous splash during his rookie campaign of 2015.

The Chiefs’ first-round pick (18th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft started all 16 regular-season games and tied for the league lead with eight interceptions, adding 60 tackles (53 solo) and a team-record 26 passes defensed.

Peters’ stellar season was capped off by a Pro Bowl selection and his presence might force opposing offenses to rethink how they attack the Chiefs defense.

Either way, the confident Peters, a second-team All-Pro selection last season by The Associated Press, won’t shy away from anything potentially thrown his way.

“Just come at me and we’re going to see,” Peters said with a grin.

Opponents, however, could choose to steer clear of Peters and attack the other side of the field, as is often the case when facing a No. 1 cornerback.

And that scenario could cut down on opportunities for Peters to make plays.

“I’m going to be pissed off,” Peters said with a chuckle before putting the team first. “No, it gives the other guys on the other side (a chance) to make their name to be heard in this league. That’s the best part of this game.

“For me, if the balls don’t come my way, it gives another guy (a chance) to go out there and hopefully be the Defensive Rookie of the Year and we have a whole lot of rookies that we just added in. We have PG (Phillip Gaines) coming back, we have Steve Nelson coming back for next year. It’s going to be a huge year for us.”

The Chiefs, of course, are suddenly young at the cornerback position with the departure of Sean Smith, who signed a free-agent contract with the Oakland Raiders.

Gaines is 25, Nelson is 22 and the Chiefs used three draft picks in the recent draft on KeiVarae Russell, Eric Murray and D.J. White.

Someone has to fill the leadership void and the 23-year-old Peters stepped up to assume that role.

“I lead by example, I do the right things, I make sure I stay out of trouble off the field, I make sure I handle my business on the field,” Peters said. “And if they have any questions, I’m here to help them and continue to move on because everything that EB (safety Eric Berry) and Sean (Smith) gave to me, so I can just give it back to them.”

One area Peters can show his young cornerback teammates where to excel is performing on the field when considering his accomplishments in 2015.

And if teams elect to not test the other side of the field, they’ll find Peters is more than up to the challenge.

“Take it the same way I took it last year,” Peters said. “I have to go make some plays for the team so we can win games. No different from last year.”

MACLIN PRAISES HILL

Fifth-round pick Tyreek Hill has a long way to go before making the 53-man roster, but the rookie wide receiver has impressed veteran Jeremy Maclin through two days of organized team activities (OTAs).

“I think he’s done a good job,” Maclin said.

Maclin highlighted Hill’s speed, which he categorized as “track speed,” before pointing out there is plenty for the rookie to absorb in the coming months.

“He still has a lot to learn, we haven’t even scratched the surface as far as what we’re going to put into this playbook,” Maclin said. “He’ll continue to take all of that in and continue to get better on the football field.”

Hill has the coming months to learn, but he possesses an attribute that can’t be taught in a classroom environment – blazing speed.

And that area has Maclin optimistic for Hill’s potential.

“Some guys just have that knack with the ball in their hands and he definitely has that,” Maclin said. “I’m looking forward to seeing him progress as a receiver.”

INJURY UPDATES

Running back Jamaal Charles (knee), outside linebacker Justin Houston (knee) and wide receiver Mike Williams (hamstring) were not on the practice field Wednesday, marking the second straight missed day of OTAs.

Outside linebacker Tamba Hali (knee) was present without his helmet and did not participate in the full workouts. Hali, however, worked with linebackers Dee Ford and Derrick Johnson during hand drills.

Cornerback Phillip Gaines (knee) and linebacker Justin March (knee) participated in the stretching and individual position drills portion of OTAs for a second straight day.

Rookie cornerback Vernon Harris, an undrafted free agent out of Dartmouth, continues to be absent because his school falls under the NCAA quarters system. Dartmouth’s graduation is scheduled for June 12.

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Herbie Teope is the lead Chiefs beat writer for The Topeka Capital-Journal and ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @HerbieTeope.

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