Red Zone

New cornerback has a few things in common with Marcus Cooper

Updated: 2013-10-17T14:33:55Z


The Kansas City Star

Vernon Kearney looks around the Chiefs' locker room and sees a lot of tall, long-armed cornerbacks, just like him.

It's one of the reasons Kearney, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound rookie from Lane College who was signed to the practice squad on Tuesday, couldn't be more pumped to be in Kansas City.

“I like how they play press-man (coverage),” said Kearney, who will wear No. 30 with the Chiefs. “The height (of the corners), obviously that attracted me to them. I came here on a visit a couple weeks before the draft and I was also intrigued back then, so it's good to be back.”

Kearney, an undrafted free agent who has had short stints with Buffalo and Cleveland, switched from wide receiver to cornerback in college, just like fellow Chiefs rookie and Rutgers grad Marcus Cooper, who is also big for a corner at 6 feet 2 and 192 pounds. Cooper, of course, has emerged as one of the team's biggest surprises, as the former seventh-round pick and waiver-wire pickup has become an integral part of the secondary over the past several weeks.

Kearney said he draws inspiration from Cooper and Sean Smith, another physical corner who bullies receivers with his size (6 feet 3 and 218 pounds) and has been a perfect fit in defensive coordinator Bob Sutton's aggressive 3-4 scheme.

“I feel like competing with short corners, it kind of makes you step down to their level,” Kearney said. “But if everybody else is the same around you, now I can learn from these veterans and step my game up a little bit.”

But first, he has to make an impact on the scout team.

“Basically, (it's) get in where you fit in,” Kearney said. “I'm gonna get out here and do what I need to do and hopefully, later on down the road, I'll get activated.”

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to Follow him at

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