On the final play of the last game of the Kansas City Chiefs 2011 season, cornerback Brandon Carr intercepted Tim Tebow, sealing the deal on a 7-3 victory over the Denver Broncos inside Mile High Stadium. It would be the last time he’d wear a Chiefs uniform.
Following the season, Carr and the Kansas City organization would be unable to agree on terms of a new contract, and he ultimately signed with the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas owner Jerry Jones opened his wallet and lured the Pro Bowler away with a five-year $50.1 million offer.
Chiefs fans were left to wonder who was going to fill No 39′s shoes, and the question remained following a disastrous two-win 2012 campaign. Kansas City had drafted Javier Arenas in the second round the prior year, and would pick up Jalil Brown in fourth after Carr’s departure. Neither defensive back is currently on their roster. Arenas was traded to the Arizona Cardinals for fullback Anthony Sherman; Brown was cut and has been unproductive so far in Indianapolis.
The offseason acquisition of veteran CB Sean Smith is working out well this season, but the long-term answer may have been discovered in the final round of this year’s draft.
Rookie Marcus Cooper leads the Chiefs defense in passes defended (14) this season, ranking him fourth in the league, and he’s not a starter. Cooper also has eighteen tackles, two interceptions and a touchdown. Opposing quarterbacks have been unsuccessfully picking on him.
In comparison, Carr had six passes defended, two INTs and no TDs in his entire rookie year. Cooper still has five regular-season games in which to pad his stats and he’s zeroing in on Carr’s franchise record (set in 2010) of 25 passes defended.
A pick-six in a win over Peyton Manning and the Broncos on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium would leave the Kansas City faithful happily pondering another question…
Is No. 31 the new No. 39?
Troy Alan is a Kansas City Chiefs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TRantMedia.