The Kansas City Chiefs selected Rice cornerback Phillip Gaines with the 87th-overall pick in the third round of Friday night’s NFL Draft, adding some much-needed depth, height, and length to their secondary.
Gaines, 6-1, 193 lbs, is said to have elite ball skills in the secondary, but needs to put on weight to handle the bigger receivers in the NFL. In Kansas City, Gaines will be playing against big, strong receivers such as Demaryius Thomas of the Denver Broncos, Malcom Floyd of the San Diego Chargers, or any or the Oakland Raiders receivers who all measure 6-feet tall and above.
Gaines was a two-time All-Conference USA selection and owns the Rice school record for career passes broken up (38). He started all 13 games at right cornerback in 2012, tallying 33 tackles, 18 pass breakups and two tackles for loss. He ranked second nationally with his 18 pass breakups. He returned a fumble 12 yards for a touchdown against Memphis.
In 2013, he started 13 times at right cornerback and recorded 36 tackles. Opposing quarterbacks targeted throws at Gaines 40 times, but the talented corner allowed just 13 receptions with nine pass breakups and four INTs with four tackles for loss.
Gaines ran track at Rice and used those skills to run a blazing sub-4.4 time at the Combine in the 40-yard dash, second among all cornerbacks. Part of his strengths which will make him a popular player with Chiefs fans is that he is a tough and competitive player and is a hard worker that is respected by coaches and teammates.
Kansas City did not have a pick in the second round this year after sending it to San Francisco last off-season in the Alex Smith trade. Rubbing salt in the wound of not having a second-rounder, the 49ers traded the pick to the Broncos, who used it to select Cody Latimer, a 6-2, 215-lb wide receiver out of Indiana who would have looked very nice in a Chiefs jersey in 2014. Instead, Latimer will play against the Chiefs twice a year for the near future.
Kansas City will have four picks in rounds 4, 5, and 6 when the draft continues Saturday in New York.
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