The Kansas Metropolis Chiefs have had a fairly busy week: they traded for cornerback Mike Hughes, signed all of their draft picks and finalized the undrafted free agent class. Now they host their rookie minicamp this weekend.
With the Chiefs formally at 90 gamers, it appears like time to foretell the 53-man roster. For followers of Arrowhead Delight’s Out of Construction podcast, you heard me listing a roster earlier this week. However I’ve already modified my thoughts on some issues — and after overreacting to one thing mentioned or achieved at rookie camp, I’ll doubtless do it once more.
I did, nonetheless, put a number of analysis and thought into this prediction. As I see it immediately, right here’s the Chiefs’ 53-man roster:
Quarterbacks (2): Patrick Mahomes, Chad Henne
Not a lot to say right here. Henne has confirmed himself as the proper man to again up Mahomes.
Working backs (3): Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darrel Williams, Jerick McKinnon
Simply as they did at the beginning of the 2020 season, I consider the Chiefs solely must hold three working backs on the lively roster. Edwards-Helaire ought to see a bigger share of the offense’s snaps — particularly on third down. Mixed with Williams’ capacity to hold the load when wanted, I see the group needing just one extra participant.
I’ve McKinnon beating out Darwin Thompson for that spot. Earlier than a torn ACL price him each 2018 and 2019, McKinnon was spectacular sufficient to earn a four-year, $30 million deal from the San Francisco 49ers. After coming back from harm in 2020, he performed in all 16 video games, totaling 572 yards and a career-high six touchdowns.
As for Thompson, he hasn’t risen to the event when he has had his possibilities; the fumble within the third quarter in opposition to the Baltimore Ravens final yr involves thoughts. The teaching employees has all the time talked him up — however most of that was from former working backs coach Deland McCullough, who left this offseason.
In 2020, Thompson had the group’s Sixteenth-highest share of particular groups snaps. McKinnon — who has related particular groups expertise — will be capable to fill Thompson’s position in that section.
Fullbacks (1): Michael Burton
Even with all of the discuss of rookie tight finish Noah Grey being utilized as a fullback, I nonetheless consider that in the meanwhile, the Chiefs will need a extra conventional fullback with NFL expertise.
Vast receivers (7): Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, Byron Pringle, Cornell Powell, Antonio Callaway, Marcus Kemp
The primary 5 are absolute locks for the Week 1 roster.
For the sixth spot, I consider Callaway will emerge from a good competitors. Among the many fringe gamers, he has probably the most NFL expertise as a respectable receiving risk — and in his pre-draft press convention, Chiefs basic supervisor Brett Veach singled him out as somebody they’re “enthusiastic about.” He could possibly be a situational deep risk who might overwhelm a protection already attempting to comprise Hill and Hardman.
However in his profession, Callaway has not been a particular groups contributor — and on the Chiefs, that’s practically a requirement for the sixth receiver. So I believe the Chiefs will hold Kemp as an unprecedented seventh receiver. I don’t see one other offensive place that should have an additional participant — and it’s well-known how a lot affect particular groups coordinator Dave Toub can have on these fringe roster selections.
Tight ends (3): Travis Kelce, Blake Bell, Noah Grey
Behind Kelce, there ought to be little question that Grey makes the group in his first yr. He ought to instantly be an all-around special-teams contributor.
There’ll, nonetheless, be a battle for the in-line blocking position within the Chiefs’ conventional two-tight finish formations. Keizer owned that position final yr, however it felt like a step down from how Bell carried out in 2019. I consider we’ll see Bell re-claim the spot.
Offensive linemen (9): LT Orlando Brown Jr., LG Joe Thuney, C Creed Humphrey, RG Kyle Lengthy, RT Mike Remmers, T Lucas Niang, C Austin Blythe, G Trey Smith, T Martinas Rankin
For my part, the primary eight gamers listed are all in competitors for beginning positions. Brown and Thuney are the one ones who’re locked in as starters.
To start with, you most likely observed one identify lacking: I consider Laurent Duvernay-Tardif will lose his beginning job to Kyle Lengthy — and I don’t suppose he’s returning as a reserve participant. If he does lose the battle at proper guard, I might see him working with the group to waive his no-trade clause and get him to a group that would use a veteran starter.
The Chiefs have initially saved 9 offensive linemen every of the final 4 years. I believe with this group, there’s much more purpose to maintain lower than 10. The starters might be a robust group, whereas the backups possess the flexibility to cowl many alternative spots. Rankin’s expertise as a beginning guard on this system — whereas working towards and enjoying as a sort out final yr — will get him on the group over Andrew Wylie and Nick Allegretti.
Defensive tackles (4): Chris Jones, Derrick Nnadi, Jarran Reed, Tershawn Wharton
The Chiefs have saved 4 inside defensive linemen in each seasons since defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo joined the employees. Due to this fact, the addition of Jarran Reed will doubtless push one participant off the roster.
Third-year lineman Khalen Saunders would be the sufferer. Since being chosen within the third spherical, Saunders has did not make a lot of an impression outdoors of a brief stretch of video games throughout his rookie yr. In 2020, he was always a wholesome scratch on sport days — and was considerably outperformed by the undrafted Wharton.
Saunders must have an unimaginable coaching camp to power the Chiefs to maintain 5 at this place; I don’t see any method he pushes any of the others off the roster.
Defensive ends (5): Frank Clark, Taco Charlton, Michael Danna, Joshua Kaindoh, Tim Ward
The one participant of this group that may not make it to Week 1 is Ward — however I consider he’ll impress sufficient this offseason to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.
Ward spent the final half of the 2020 season on the lively roster however normally grew to become a game-day inactive. He lastly performed in Week 17 — and made probably the most of his first sport, incomes a sack, a sort out for loss, three quarterback pressures and three run stops.
Particularly along with his 6-foot-6 body, the defensive teaching employees will search for any purpose to maintain him on the group.
Linebackers (6): Anthony Hitchens, Willie Homosexual Jr., Ben Niemann, Nick Bolton, Dorian O’Daniel, Kamalei Correa
There are 4 clear gamers right here that might be making the roster — however how the Chiefs fill out the remainder of the group might be attention-grabbing.
O’Daniel has but to make a lot contribution throughout his three seasons as a Chiefs defender. We’ve been in a position to see the athleticism that Kansas Metropolis has wanted on the second stage, however it has but to lead to vital defensive reps for him. He’ll make the roster due to his special-teams contributions — and being a reserve participant who not less than has familiarity with the system.
Correa has proven the power to be an off-ball linebacker and an edge defender — that means the group might take into account him a defensive finish reasonably than a linebacker. That might line up with their historical past of maintaining 10 defensive linemen reasonably than 9. Both method, I believe he’s stable depth this season.
Cornerbacks (5): L’Jarius Sneed, Charvarius Ward, Mike Hughes, Rashad Fenton, DeAndre Baker
The addition of Hughes strengthens this cornerback room — and practically solidifies it. So long as Baker is wholesome, there’s a stable, skilled group of 5 gamers who make the group.
BoPete Keyes wants to present the employees a purpose to decide on him over a possible UDFA that shines — like former Nebraska cornerback DiCaprio Bootle or former Marshall cornerback Jaylon McClain-Sapp. He’s additionally deprived by the Chiefs usually not maintaining greater than 5 at this place. He’ll be a precedence apply squad candidate.
Safeties (5): Tyrann Mathieu, Juan Thornhill, Daniel Sorensen, Will Parks, Armani Watts
After an apparent group of three who all have big roles within the protection, Parks is sensible to be the fourth man; he has a number of years of expertise at totally different positions within the secondary. He performs his greatest when he slides down into the slot or is a field security.
I initially thought this is perhaps it for Watts, however the Chiefs have traditionally saved 5 safeties — and it might be fairly silly to chop the 2020 particular groups snaps chief after they don’t need to. So they might let him end out the final yr of his rookie contract persevering with to be a frontrunner on particular groups.
Placekicker Harrison Butker, punter Tommy Townsend and lengthy snapper James Winchester
The same old suspects at kicker and lengthy snapper — whereas Townsend enters his second season hoping to enhance on some inconsistent punting down the stretch of his rookie yr.