During the entire off-season and right up until the trade deadline, there were rumors the Kansas City Chiefs were interested in trading for an elite cornerback. They never made a trade, opting to stick with their existing roster. The reason could be that they already have a standout CB on the team.
Charvarius Ward has been fantastic this season. I am not sure anybody outside of the Chiefs organization saw this coming. Certainly, Brett Veach saw something in Ward that made him trade away 4th round offensive lineman Parker Ehinger to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for Ward. But I think even Veach might be surprised by how well Ward has played this year.
I remember the first time I saw Ward come running out onto the field last year with the Chiefs with his red dreads sticking out the back of his helmet (he should totally bring this look back BTW). I thought he looked cool but wondered if he could play. He showed flashes of a player that would be physical with opposing receivers which was something the team desperately needed at the time. We saw too many receivers getting a free release off the line last season, followed by the dreaded defensive holding penalties as our DBs desperately tried to make up for getting beat. Ward seemed to bring a different mindset to the position. I quickly became a fan and thought he might be a great addition to the team.
That’s not to say that Ward didn’t have any struggles in his first season with the Chiefs. His first start against the Seattle Seahawks was abysmal. He committed three penalties and gave up some huge plays that helped the Seahawks win the game. His performance in that game could have destroyed his confidence. He proved the next week that he had learned much from the previous game and continued to improve his play into the playoffs. Unfortunately, the Chiefs came up just short of a Super Bowl appearance, largely based on the play of the defense.
Due to poor defensive performances last year, Kansas City made it a priority to revamp the team on that side of the ball in the off-season. A new defensive coordinator was hired. Big-name free agents were signed. But many experts believed the Chiefs failed to address a glaring need at the CB position. Many rumors swirled tying the Chiefs to blockbuster trades for Jalen Ramsey, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Patrick Peterson, to name a few. But none of these rumors turned into reality. That doesn’t mean the Chiefs didn’t try to acquire these players. Veach has shown us already that if he sets his sights on a player, he will do all he can to get that player. If Veach thought those players would help bring a championship to Kansas City, I have no doubt he would have at least tried to get them on the team. Most likely, the asking price was too high to warrant the trade for those players.
Could it have been that Veach and the coaching staff knew they already had something special on the roster? A player they have under contract through 2021. A player that has rapidly ascended from an undrafted free agent to a starting cornerback on a championship caliber defense. Yes, my friends, the Chiefs already have a shutdown corner on the team. His name is Charvarius Ward.
Let’s take a look at Ward’s stats this year compared to last. In 2018, he played in 13 regular season games, but only had 2 starts. Opposing quarterbacks had a completion percentage of 79% and a passer rating of 124 against Ward. He had 0 interceptions on the season. He certainly struggled in some games but must have shown the coaching staff enough to believe he could be a starter in this league.
This season, Ward’s first full year as a starter, his statistics improved dramatically. Ward only gave up 1 touchdown and had 2 interceptions. Opposing quarterbacks had a completion percentage of 48% and a passer rating of about 67. These stats put Ward on par with the top CBs in the league. And the best part is that this is only Ward’s second year in the league. He should continue to improve over the next couple of seasons.
The trade for Charvarius Ward makes Brett Veach look like a genius. First, he traded next to nothing to get a top-rated player at a position of need. Second, he didn’t have to trade away multiple draft picks to acquire an elite cornerback. He already has one. And to think, Veach traded a backup offensive lineman to get Ward. I’d say that is a pretty good return on investment!