Predicting the Kansas City Chiefs' 53-Man Roster
The Turk is lurking. It's not an easy job, but someone has to do it. The Turk is the person tasked with escorting players and their playbooks into the office, where they will be released. It's usually some low-level scouting assistant or position coach. Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli has been a Turk (via ESPN.com)
Pioli and Romeo Crennel have their 53-man roster and eight-man practice squad filled out in pencil, and Friday will be an awkward day for the 53 players that make the team and a sad day for 22 others.
Emotions will run high, but the rules are the rules, and 22 must go and 53 must stay, but who?
Out: Alex Tanney
The question hasn't been which three quarterbacks will make the roster, but which of Quinn and Stanzi will win the No. 2 quarterback job.
At some point, the Chiefs are going to have to go out and find their franchise quarterback. Cassel isn't as bad as people make him out to be, but he's an average starter that needs the running game and defense to help him.
For now, the Chiefs have their uninspiring trio, and they will have to make that work in 2012.
Running Backs (4)
In: Jamaal Charles, Peyton Hillis, Shaun Draughn, Nate Eachus
Out: Cyrus Gray, Patrick DiMarco
Eachus will make the roster as a fourth running back, particularly because the Chiefs will not deploy a full-time fullback. I actually like Gray more than Draughn, but the Chiefs seem to like Draughn more and have even given him snaps with the No. 1 offense.
With Dexter McCluster now a full-time receiver, the Chiefs need a speed back like Gray. It's possible Gray could land on the practice squad, but the Chiefs will put him at serious risk of getting picked up by a needy team.
Wide Receivers (6)
In: Dwayne Bowe, Jon Baldwin, Dexter McCluster, Steve Breaston, Terrance Copper, Devon Wylie
Out: Jamar Newsome, Junior Hemingway, Josh Bellamy
McCluster could flip back to running back if Charles, Hillis and Draughn were to go down. Since he's progressing at wide receiver, the Chiefs would prefer to keep him at the slot where he may be pushing Breaston for snaps.
Would be really surprising if the Chiefs released their fourth-round draft pick, Wylie, so he sticks as the sixth man. A case could be made to leave Copper off this list, but he's made it the last three years.
Tight End (3)
In: Kevin Boss, Tony Moeaki, Steve Maneri
Out: Jake O'Connell
The ex-offensive lineman Maneri makes more sense as the team's third tight end because the team needs a big blocking tight end if it is going to be a team without a fullback.
O'Connell is a little more versatile in the passing game than Maneri, but the Chiefs will probably rely heavily on Moeaki and Boss.
Offensive Linemen (9)
In: Rodney Hudson (C), Jon Asamoah (G), Ryan Lilja (G), Jeff Allen (G), Darryl Harris (G), Brandon Albert (T), Eric Winston (T), Donald Stephenson (T), David Mims (T)
Out: Luke Patterson (C), Rob Bruggeman (C), Rich Ranglin (G)
If a team is considering keeping just eight offensive linemen, it needs to be versatile. Allen is a guard and Stephenson is a tackle, and the Chiefs probably don't want to throw too much at the rookies initially.
Harris makes it over Ranglin for the other guard spot, and Mims makes it as the last guy. Chiefs could troll the waiver wire for a quality option that can play both the guard and tackle spots.
Defensive Ends (4)
In: Tyson Jackson, Glenn Dorsey, Allen Bailey, Ropati Pitoitua
Out: Jerome Long, Brandon Bair, Amon Gordon
Unless the Chiefs are willing to admit defeat on Bailey just a year after drafting him, it will cost Gordon a job. The Chiefs could potentially use Dontari Poe at defensive end in pass-rushing situations to get him in one-on-one situations with an offensive lineman.
Pitoitua is a good rotational player, and the Chiefs should test Bailey to see what they have in the second-year player.
Nose Tackle (3)
In: Anthony Toribio, Dontari Poe, Jerrell Powe
It seems uncharacteristic to keep three nose tackles, but the Chiefs need to keep the three players they have at this key position.
Indications are that Poe can't handle the starting duties, and that leaves the Chiefs without a real backup nose tackle. Poe will be used in certain pass-rushing situations, but can't be counted on to fill two gaps or beat a double team.
Plenty of teams would be happy to add Powe as a reserve, and the Chiefs should be happy they have a third guy that they can rotate in Poe in case Toribio gets banged up this season.
In: Brandon Flowers, Stanford Routt, Jalil Brown, Javier Arenas, DeQuan Menzie, Jacques Reeves
Out: Chandler Fenner, Neiko Thorpe, Mikail Baker
Brandon Flowers' injury is a concern, and no one is quite sure of the severity. It sounds like the Chiefs could be without Flowers for a while and will need to keep an extra cornerback on the roster to compensate.
Reeves is a veteran who has started games in the NFL and gives him a nice chance to stick as a reserve. Menzie was drafted in the fifth round, and the Chiefs would risk losing him if they subject him to waivers.
In: Kendrick Lewis, Eric Berry, Abram Elam, Travis Daniels
Out: Donald Washington, Terrance Parks, Tysyn Hartman
Lewis is nursing a sore shoulder, which means Elam is stepping in as the starter. Daniels is also versatile enough to play cornerback in a pinch and was given some practice time there after Flowers was hurt.
It's a veteran group with a lot of ability, and they may be tested if Flowers misses more than a few regular season games.
Outside Linebackers (4)
In: Justin Houston, Andy Studebaker, Cameron Sheffield, Gabe Miller
Out: Edgar Jones
Suspended: Tamba Hali
Hali will be suspended for the first game and will not count against the 53-man roster. That means a player that is destined for the practice squad might stick on the 53-man roster for a week. That player is Miller in this projection.
The Chiefs could go without a fourth linebacker for a week and keep depth elsewhere, but they don't have much to gain in doing so.
Would be wise to keep a player like Miller on the active roster for a week and send him the the practice squad after Week 1.
Inside Linebacker (4)
In: Derrick Johnson, Javon Belcher, Brandon Siler, Corey Greenwood
Out: Leon Williams
Nothing too surprising at inside linebacker. Greenwood might be at risk if there were more quality options on the roster.
Johnson is the star of the group, and Belcher is holding off Siler at the other starting spot.
Kicker: Ryan Succop
Punter: Dustin Colquitt
Long Snapper: Thomas Gafford
Nothing like a sexy specialist unit to get the football juices flowing. These players might be boring, but they can be the difference between a win and a loss.