The Kansas City Chiefs selected defensive back Rashad Fenton with the No. 201 overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft on Saturday afternoon, making the South Carolina product Kansas City’s first pick of the day.
Fenton tallied a team-leading three interceptions in 2018 to go along with 34 tackles, six pass breakups and 2.5 tackles-for-loss.
It was a strong finish to an impressive career for Fenton, who appeared in 48 games (30 starts) over the course of his four-year career in Columbia, recording 122 tackles, 24 passes defensed, five picks and a forced fumble.
Rashad Fenton needs work at cornerback. Expecting year-one contributions out of him is expecting too much. From the way that he’s been talked about inside of Arrowhead, they know it as well.
He needs more strength to play with bigger NFL wide receivers. He needs a better feel for the route with his back to the ball. He needs to be able to shed blockers better to contribute in the run game the way that Steve Spagnuolo likes his cornerbacks to contribute.
However, he comes built in with the requisite technique, ball skills and feel for distribution from zone coverage that Spagnuolo will like. His versatility with Quarters, 2-read, Match 3, and man coverages is a major plus with the mixing and matching Spagnuolo will do in the secondary.
When watching the drills at the combine, Fenton was one of three players I felt performed well in every one of the cornerback drills — alongside Byron Murphy and Chiefs undrafted free agent Mark Fields. Their technique and fluidity from both sides and through multiple techniques jumped out compared to a mostly clunky group in the drills.
The Kansas City Chiefs tradition is to allow area scouts to speak on the players selected during Day 3 of the 2019 NFL draft. You get to hear from the guys who really put in the ground work that helped the team make the decision on these players.
Area Scout David Hinson spoke on South Carolina CB Rashad Fenton after Day 3 and the driving factors behind the selection. They like his athletic ability, toughness and ball skills. However, the most important factor in the Chiefs decision with Fenton was his coverage versatility.
“What’s great about Fenton is if you watch South Carolina, they play a few different styles,” Hinson explained. “They do a little more shuffle and bail technique, but you will see him in the off man and zone type stuff where (Steve Spagnuolo) likes to do a little bit of everything. And that’s what (Steve Spagnuolo) is great for, he mixes things up, so you don’t really know what you are getting, and Fenton is a smart football player that has played all the different techniques.”
This was about grabbing a type of player that could do all the different things asked of a corner in a Steve Spagnuolo. It’s not all press man heavy technique in Bob Sutton’s rigid scheme anymore. The Chiefs need defensive backs who can function in a variety of different coverage’s.
“Sometimes in college, you get guys who played just strictly man, strictly playing press the majority of the time,” Hinson said. “But when you see a team in college that plays a versatile of quarters and cover 2 and cover 3 and works on some different things, usually those corners are a little bit more prepared for the next level and you can work with them to do some zone stuff. Because that is really the tougher things for them at the next level. Everybody is playing some version of man, but how many coverages of zone did you play and then your awareness and your instincts, those are the things coaches are looking for.”
Of course with all Day 3 selections, special teams also factored heavily into the equation for this pick.