Chiefs select cornerback Marcus Peters at No 18 in draft
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Kansas City Chiefs were willing to take a chance on Marcus Peters.
He intends to prove the gamble was worth it.
The Chiefs selected the former Washington cornerback with the No. 18 pick in the NFL draft Thursday night, fully confident that Peters has matured after repeated run-ins with new Huskies coach Chris Petersen that led to his dismissal midway through last season.
''I didn't handle the coaching change well and I took full responsibility for that,'' Peters said. ''I just owned up to it. I told them, `If you take me, I'm going to give you my all.'''
The 6-foot, 190-pound Peters was considered one of the top defensive backs in the draft, but his situation at Washington resulted in red flags going up all around the league.
With that in mind, his agent Doug Hendrickson encouraged Peters to visit any team that wanted to meet him. The result was a whirlwind tour of the league - and countless questions about his past - that included a stop in Kansas City with Reid and general manager John Dorsey.
As the draft approached, Dorsey dispatched on of his top lieutenants, Chris Ballard, to meet with Peters and his family at their home in Oakland. With any lingering character questions put to rest, the Chiefs decided to go forward with the pick when they were put on the clock.
''We all make mistakes at times in life. Marcus realizes that,'' Reid said. ''We feel comfortable he realizes that. It was an emotional situation and he didn't handle it the right way. I think he's learned from it, just from our experience with him.''
Off-the-field issues aside, Peters's ability is undeniable.
He started the last eight games of his freshman season, became the Huskies' regular cornerback by his sophomore year, and had three interceptions in his first eight games as a junior. All told, Peters made 129 tackles and picked off 11 passes in just 34 games.
Peters was the third cornerback taken in the first round, going two spots after the Houston Texans chose Kevin Johnson out of Wake Forest. He fills an immediate need for the Chiefs, who face losing Sean Smith to a suspension for a drunken-driving arrest and were planning to have unproven cornerbacks Phillip Gaines and Jamell Fleming competing for the other starting job.
''Not only is it an important position from a defensive standpoint, but we also don't have a lot of numbers there,'' Reid said. ''You take that also into consideration.''
Since arriving in Kansas City a few years ago, Reid and Dorsey have earned a reputation for their willingness to give players with checkered backgrounds a second chance.
Tight end Travis Kelce had been suspended at Cincinnati before the Chiefs chose him in the third round two years ago, while defensive back Sanders Commings had run into problems at Georgia before they picked him in the fifth round. Gaines was taken in the third round a year ago, despite an arrest for possession of marijuana that led to a suspension at Rice.
Reid said that each of those situations was unique, and the fact that none of them have gotten into trouble since arriving in Kansas City proves the Chiefs had done their due diligence.
''As much times as you can spend with these guys, that's what you want to do,'' Reid said. ''Then come out and let your instincts take over, how you feel about that player.''
Dorsey said that the Chiefs followed their mantra of taking ''the best player available,'' and that they received three calls from teams trying to move up and one to move down.
We feel we got a really quality player,'' said Dorsey, who estimates the Chiefs spoke with about 20 people about Peters. ''I think it's an example of us doing our extensive research in terms of what his person is all about. But as a player, there is no doubt in my mind.''
The Chiefs still have nine picks in this year's draft to address a host of other needs, among them wide receiver, the offensive line and inside linebacker. Three of those picks come Friday - a second-rounder and two third-round picks, one of them a compensatory selection.
Dorsey may have even dropped a hint about the Chiefs' plans going forward.
''Actually, we were just talking about that,'' he said with a grin. ''I was looking at the list of wide receivers and said, `Huh, there's some still there.'''
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