Do the Chiefs Need to Add at Cornerback After Trading L'Jarius Sneed?

After trading cornerback L'Jarius Sneed, do the Kansas City Chiefs need to address cornerback in the 2024 NFL Draft, or will Trent McDuffie, Joshua Williams and Jaylen Watson be enough?
Feb 11, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Jaylen Watson (35) celebrates with cornerback Trent McDuffie (22).
Feb 11, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Jaylen Watson (35) celebrates with cornerback Trent McDuffie (22). / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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When the Kansas City Chiefs traded cornerback L'Jarius Sneed to the Tennessee Titans for a 2025 third-round pick and a 2024 seventh-round pick-swap, the Chiefs lost one of the best cornerbacks in football. They also may not have lost the best corner on their own team.

That was one of many complicating factors in the Sneed trade saga, and now KC has to prepare for the 2024 season with a top-three rotation of 2023 All-Pro slot cornerback Trent McDuffie, Joshua Williams and Jaylen Watson — first-, fourth- and seventh-round draft picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, respectively. Do the Chiefs need to add a premium draft pick to that group to keep the talent level high, or can the class of '22 keep the Chiefs' defense playing at an elite level? Let's discuss that with Jordan Foote of Arrowhead Report on

Joshua Brisco: I'll save you the drama: I don't think the Chiefs will draft a cornerback within the first two rounds, and I don't think they should. McDuffie is a blue-chip player entering his age-24 season, and he will continue to play almost every snap for this defense, even if his role doesn't change at all. McDuffie's All-Pro "slot cornerback" designation is a bit of a misnomer. He played just 14 fewer snaps than Sneed in 2023, but since McDuffie kicked inside to cover slot receivers when the Chiefs played with three cornerbacks, he has to shake the part-time implication of being a "slot corner." McDuffie isn't that; he's an every-down corner. McDuffie is versatile, not limited. He's CB1. Watson out-snapped Williams in 2022 and 2023, but both players got plenty of high-leverage work across both seasons, and I believe that trio could be a stable (but perhaps not elite) group throughout a season if necessary.

Jordan Foote: I completely agree that a cornerback in the top 60-or-so picks doesn't make a ton of sense for the Chiefs. If there's one position they've shown they can "get by" at with minimal investment, it's corner. The combination of coaching experience, a friendly environment for development and a track record of finding nice contributors elsewhere in the draft is hard to argue against. If Kansas City does want to avoid the draft or is simply seeking proven depth for 2024, there are some respectable options out there with Stephon Gilmore, old friend Steven Nelson, Adoree' Jackson and even Ahkello Witherspoon making sense. Simply put, the Chiefs will be relatively fine here even in the post-Sneed era both now and likely later.

Brisco: If the Chiefs have any doubts about Watson and Williams, one of those veteran names would be fascinating as a shorter-term floor-raising move, but I think the obvious on-brand choice is to grab another toolsy, developmental defensive back somewhere outside of the top 100, which is where they found Chamarri Conner (119 overall), Williams (135) and Sneed (138). You mentioned the coaching staff; retaining defensive backs coach Dave Merritt for at least one more year was one of the most important under-the-radar moves of KC's offseason. Merritt and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo have been so excellent at developing DB talent that it's evolved beyond being a fluke. Even players like 2022 seventh-round pick Nazeeh Johnson was getting real training camp work last summer before tearing his ACL. 2023 seventh-rounder Nic Jones and UDFA Ekow Boye-Doe could win roster spots with a combination of special teams play and defensive upside. Even without the pedigree that most of the NFL treasures at corner, the Chiefs have made the absolute most of their personnel.

Read More: Chiefs Top 30 Pre-Draft Visit Tracker: Who is KC Targeting?

Joshua Brisco