With kickoff less than two days away, the Chiefs 53-man roster has been set since Saturday, but tonight I’m giving my analysis on the players they kept and cut.
QB: Alex Smith, Patrick Mahomes, Tyler Bray
Another day, another dollar for Tyler Bray. From Chase Daniel to Aaron Murray, he’s lasted longer than them all. He’ll never see the field barring the Chiefs suddenly morphing into the Browns, but it is fun to note.
RB: Kareem Hunt, Charcandrick West, Anthony Sherman, CJ Spiller
With Ware out for the year, Hunt, just like he did in college (Toledo), inherits the starting role. He could be the next great Andy Reid running back. He shined in the preseason and will see a heavy dose of rushes and targets in Reid’s RB friendly offense, although OC Matt Nagy said both Spiller, who was cut and resigned, and West, who struggled last season, will play a role.
WR: Tyreek Hill, Albert Wilson, Chris Conley, Jehu Chesson, Demarcus Robinson, De’Anthony Thomas
Short on experience, but high on potential, the Chiefs are going to need someone not named Tyreek Hill to make plays from this group if they’re going to repeat as division champions. Robinson starred in the preseason finale, and Conley has been a hidden gem, so hopefully they show up in the “real” games sooner rather than later.
TE: Travis Kelce, Demetrius Harris, Ross Travis
Despite being signed to a one-year deal in the offseason, Gavin Escobar was the only (mildly) surprise cut of the preseason. Harris has a knack for showing up out of nowhere at times – especially in the redzone, but tempers expectations with drops. With so few proven receiving options, we may need him to more than before. Kelce, meanwhile, is the second best TE in the NFL (Chiefs face the best one on Thursday), and is the Chiefs top target in teh passing game and easily the one Alex Smith trusts the most.
OL: Eric Fisher, Mitchell Schwartz, Mitch Morse, Zach Fulton, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Bryan Witzmann, Cameron Erving, Parker Ehinger, Jordan Devey
Erving was acquired in a trade with Cleveland, but other than that there was no surprises here.
DL: Bennie Logan, Allen Bailey, Chris Jones, Rakeem Nunez-Rochez, Roy Miller, Jarvis Jenkins, Tanoh Kpassagon
No surprises here as well. Bailey returns after missing much of last year. Paired with Jones, the Chiefs could return to being a dominant unit against the run. KPassa will double as a pass rusher on the outside, as well.
LB: Justin Houston, Dee Ford, Ramik Wilson, Derrick Johnson, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Ukeme Eligwe, Reggie Ragland, Frank Zombo, Terrance Smith
Also acquired via trade (from Buffalo), Ragland, the 2016 second round drat pick, is a new face to a unit, that, when healthy, might be the best in football. The Chiefs need a DJ replacement, and Ragland might be it. Personally, I’m glad Justin March is finally gone. He always has been, and always will be, a liability (especially against the run), and Brett Veach must’ve noticed it, too. Tamba Hali was placed on the PUP list, meaning he will miss the first six weeks of the season, as the Chiefs hope to have him healthy for the stretch run and the postseason.
DB’s: Marcus Peters, Terrance Mitchell, Philip Gaines, Eric Berry, Ron Parker, Daniel Sorensen, Eric Murray, DJ White, Kenneth Acker, Steven Nelson
Nelson was placed on I.R. to make room for Spiller, meaning Acker/Gaines will see extended time with the starters, and depending on who you ask, that could be a good or bad thing. This year’s sixth round pick, Leon McQuay, was released. Corner Devante Bausby was somewhat of a surprising cut, and it’ll be interesting to see if he’s brought back, possibly via the practice squad. Nelson will return this season, as NFL rules allows two players to be designated to return once on IR. He is one of them.
And, as expected, K Cairo Santos, P Dustin Colquitt, LS James Winchester.
Look for a game preview tomorrow.
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