NFL

Reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Marcus Peters will struggle in 2016

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters had a phenomenal rookie season this past year. Peters made an impact in his first defensive play of the season against the Houston Texans when he came away with an interception to start the year.

Peters went on to co-lead the league in interceptions with eight and collected one more in the postseason while also leading the NFL in passes deflected with 34. That led him to earn Defensive Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowl honors.

However, Peters’ statistics come off misleading and don’t accurately represent how he did during his rookie campaign.

According to Pro Football Focus, Peters allowed seven touchdowns prior to Kansas City’s 10-game winning streak to cap off the regular season. As Kansas City’s schedule got easier, Peters had the upper hand in most matchups while facing offenses with unreliably quarterbacks. The seven touchdowns Peters allowed occurred during the team’s 1-5 start.

During Kansas City’s second half surge, it only played two teams who finished with a record above .500, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Denver Broncos. The Steelers were without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger against the Chiefs, and Peyton Manning was more of a liability to his team, despite an eventual Super Bowl victory.

Kansas City’s opponents during the 10-game winning streak combined for a 56-72 record. Peters and the rest of the Chiefs took advantage of this, and rightfully so.

But don’t expect Peters to have similar success in his second year with the Chiefs as the team will face tougher opponents with better quarterbacks. Peters picked off six different quarterbacks in 2015 as they combined for a passer rating of 81.5.

Through 14 completed games last year, Pro Football Focus tweeted that Peters was leading the league in interceptions. At the same time, he was targeted the most, and allowed the second most touchdowns, yards and receptions by a defensive back.

With cornerback Sean Smith signing with the Oakland Raiders, Peters will be the primary cornerback for the Chiefs and will go up against 13 different wideouts who finished with more than 1,000 receiving yards last year.

Peters will face a much higher level of competition in 2016 as he takes duties as the No. 1 cornerback for the Chiefs with Smith leaving. Expect opposing quarterbacks and wide receivers to work together to exploit his weaknesses and target him often through the air.

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