Here’s our first stab at a Chiefs 53-man roster projection.
QUARTERBACKS (3): Alex Smith, Patrick Mahomes, (NOT ON ROSTER)
There is no question up to this point that this is still Smith’s team. Smith is looking good this year and more aggressive, as taking shots downfield is a mjor focal point of the offense. I think Smith knows his time is limited here, and will perform pretty well to try and find a nice contract somewhere else in a year (or two). While Mahomes is looking good, he still has work to do and it would be in this best interest to sit behind Smith for at least a year before throwing him in the fire. He has the ability to make a lot of plays most QB would be afraid to attempt. OUTRAGEOUS CEILING. The third QB could possibly be Tyler Bray but, we think more likely they outsource for this and move past him for a veteran with playing experience that can be the primary backup for Smith, at least early on.
Practice Squad candidate: Joel Stave
RUNNING BACK/FULL BACK (5): Kareem Hunt, Spencer Ware, # C.J. Spiller, Charcandrick West, FB Anthony Sherman
Hunt and Ware should be pretty much locks for the 53. Charcandrick West looked like a nice find in 2015 but, last season seemed to take a step back, averaging just 3.3 yards per carry. There was hope he would bounce back, but so far through training camp, he hasn’t shown much, thanks mostly to injury. With Spiller turning back the clock, at this point he is looking like a better option, who would bring pass catching and return ability that West does not. However, we think they decide to keep four RB, as they have one other time in Reid’s tenure. Sherman doesn’t see a lot of action on offense, and rarely gets touches, but he is also a great special teamer. Always a possibility of a shocking cut or trade but, I wouldn’t anticipate it with the Sausage.
Practice Squad candidate: Devine Redding
WIDE RECEIVER (6): Tyreek Hill, Chris Conley, Demarcus Robinson, DeAnthony Thomas, Jehu Chesson, Seantavious Jones
Ty Hill had phenomenal rookie season and with the surprising cut of Jeremy Maclin, he is the de facto No. 1 wideout. His vertical threat presence is legit, as his run after the catch. Conley should be a lock as the No. 2 WR with the most knowledge of the offense at the position other than Albert Wilson, and he made some tough catches last season, when Smith would look his way. Also, a forgotten speed guy, he could approach 60-65 catches this season. DAT will be the primary kick return man with Hill taking on more offensive duty. DAT also became quite the special team’s gunner last season, and Toub calls him the “toughest” dude on the team. He won’t get a lot of looks at receiver. Chesson, Robinson and Jones are young, talented and motivated to get the ball in their hands on game day. We have Chiefs keeping 6 WR however, Albert Wilson and Marcus Kemp are still going to be battling their ass off for a spot on the 53.
Practice Squad candidate(s): Marcus Kemp, Gehrig Dieter
TIGHT END (3): Travis Kelce, Gavin Escobar, Ross Travis
Surprisingly, the Chiefs kept four TE in all but one year of Reid’s tenure, and they have the guys to do so again this season, but with a numbers crunch, we don’t see it at this time. Kelce, the All-Pro, is coming off a career year and is the only clear lock. He’s also the real No. 1 target on this team, despite’s Hill’s status at the No. 1 WR. Beyond Kelce, we have Escobar who is another receiving threat and an upgrade as a blocker over Demetrius Harris, who like Travis Ross, is a converted basketball player. He is raw, but he has shown flashes of being an endzone target.
Practice Squad candidate: Orson Charles
OFFENSIVE LINE (7): Eric Fisher, Mitch Morse, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Mitchell Schwartz, Parker Ehinger, Zach Fulton and Bryan Witzmann
With contracts signed in the last year or two, as well as rookie drafts, the front 5 is as about as solid as it’s been since the Will Shields days. Since Reid has taken over Chiefs have stayed pretty steady at 7 OL. Keeping Witzmann and Fulton around give us a couple of Swiss Army Knives across the Offensive Line. Their versatility is what Reid likes with his reserve OL. Jah Reid and Andrew Tiller will make a push for the 53.
Practice Squad candidate(s): Isaiah Battle, Jordan Devey, Damien Mama
DEFENSIVE LINE (6): Chris Jones, Bennie Logan, Allen Bailey, Rakeem Nunez, Tanoh Kpassagnon, Roy Miller III
Jones, Logan, Bailey, Nunez and K-passa all should be safe barring something unexpected. Miller has been a great run stopper in his career and has a pretty good shot to make it as well, all though Jarvis Jenkins, Cam Thomas and David King aren’t just going to hand it to him.
Practice Squad candidate(s): David King
LINEBACKERS 10): Derrick Johnson, Ramik Wilson, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Ukeme Eligwe, Josh Mauga, Justin Houston, Tamba Hali, Dee Ford, Dadi Nicolas, Frank Zombo
In the middle, Johnson obviously is a shoo-in for the 53. Recently traded for Pierre-Louis has looked good on defense as well as special teams and has the ability to contribute on multiple levels. Eligwe is very talented and wouldn’t. Ramik Wilson has looked very good throughout the end of last season, and so far in the preseason. The final spot we give the edge to the vet, Mauga who didn’t get his contract originally renewed but, when new GM Brett Veach was hired that was his first move was to bring him back to KC. Justin March-Lillard is still in the fight but, he has work to do if he wants to break the 53. Not too much to worry about on the outside. Houston, Hali and Ford are the guys. Nicolas looks to have some nice upside and is only in his second. The final spot we are giving to the vet Zombo, who is a special ace for special team’s coach Doug Toub. Marcus Rush and Earl Okine aren’t to be counted out, though, as both are having good camps.
Practice Squad candidate(s): Justin March-Lillard, Terrance Smith, Marcus Rush, Earl Okine
CORNERBACKS (5): Marcus Peters, Terrance Mitchell, Steven Nelson, D.J. White, Phillip Gaines
Peters is an obvious lock. Nelson has steadily gotten better since being drafted and is looking to make a larger impact this season. Mitchell after shuffling through multiple teams before finally getting a chance to start with the Chiefs because of injuries towards the end of the 2016 season. In the few weeks Mitchell had he made the most of it. The final two spots seem like they would go to White and Gaines. However, don’t count out Devantae Bausby and Kenneth Acker going down without a fight. White and Gaines could also be pushed out for other players that aren’t on the roster.
Practice Squad candidate(s): Ashton Lampkin, Devantae Bausby, Trevon Hartfield, Jacoby Glenn
SAFETIES (5): Eric Berry, Ron Parker, Daniel Sorenson, Eric Murray, Leon McQuay
Other than the recent addition of sixth round pick Leon McQuay, don’t expect any changes in the Safety position. It’s locked down with Berry, Parker, Sorenson and Murray.
SPECIAL TEAM (3): K Cairo Santos, P Dustin Colquitt, LS James Winchester
Unless some kind of serious injury these three aren’t going anywhere.
Let us know what you think of the prediction. So, until next time fans Stay Loud, Stay Proud for this is CHIEFS KINGDOM!!!!
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