After being selected near the end of the 2020 NFL Draft, Thakarius "BoPete" Keyes will have to climb the depth chart in order to see the field for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2021. It won't be an easy path, but an opportunity could certainly open up for the second-year cornerback.
Keyes was one of those guys who general manager Brett Veach decided to throw a dart at late in the 2020 NFL Draft. Veach traded a 2021 sixth-round pick to jump back into the seventh round and select the overlooked cornerback out of Tulane.
Keyes started 23 games in his final two collegiate seasons, racking up a personal-best 47 tackles in his senior season. He has good size, standing at 6-foot-1 and weighing 202 pounds. Keyes possessed the tools that gave him an opportunity to put himself in a position to make the roster and contribute on special teams and as a depth piece in his rookie season.
Keyes didn't flash much in his first year, playing mostly on special teams, finding the field for 13% of KC's special teams snaps. He was able to start in the season finale against the Los Angeles Chargers as the starters were being rested for the playoffs.
Keyes will likely have a similar role heading into the 2021 season. In order for him to make a big second-year jump, he will need to work his tail off throughout the summer and make big strides to overtake playing time from guys ahead of him on the depth chart. It will likely take injuries for him to see significant playing time at the cornerback position.
However, without Bashaud Breeland in the mix, the Chiefs do have more unknowns at the cornerback position. While Charvarius Ward, L'Jarius Sneed and Rashad Fenton are all likely safely ahead of Keyes, there's a chance that Deandre Baker, Mike Hughes and the rest of the corners are in a similar boat in terms of finding consistent playing time in Steve Spagnuolo's defense.