Kansas City Chiefs: 8 Players Firmly on the Roster Bubble
With training camp 32 days away, roster battles begin while coaches evaluate all of the players and trim the roster.
This year, Kansas City’s depth chart features a lot of talented players who are vying for a spot on the team as others are on the brink of being cut. Some notable players and fan favorites could be on the edge and may have a challenging time making the team.
In this slideshow, I will discuss the players who are on the roster bubble and what they can do to try and maintain a spot on the team.
As always, feel free to chime in with your thoughts after viewing this slideshow.
QB Ricky Stanzi
Ricky Stanzi has been with the Kansas City Chiefs since the 2011 season, yet all he’s done is stand on the sidelines and watch everything unfold on the field right in front of him. Despite a solid career with Iowa, it only translated into being drafted in the fifth round and earning no playing time.
It is obvious that the Chiefs have Alex Smith set as the starting quarterback while Chase Daniel will be the backup quarterback after signing a three-year deal worth $10 million. That leaves the No. 3 quarterback spot, which Stanzi currently claims and has owned the past two years. But is this the year where Stanzi receives the pink slip?
Undrafted out of Tennessee, Tyler Bray could be the one who challenges Stanzi for the final spot and sends him packing.
In past preseason games, Stanzi has not been able to play well against opposing defenses. His past preseason performances haven’t been awe-inspiring, which explains why he has spent all of his time during the regular season on the sidelines.
Stanzi must simply try and do what he’s done the past two years to win a spot on the roster. But would that alone be enough to impress a new coaching staff?
A lot can happen in training camp and preseason games, but don’t be surprised if Bray is chosen over Stanzi to be part of the team.
RB Shaun Draughn
Under Andy Reid’s offense, running backs Jamaal Charles, Cyrus Gray and rookie Knile Davis got a lot of repetitions during organized team activities and minicamp. As for Shaun Draughn, he missed some of the offseason practices this past spring.
This allowed the running backs behind Charles, Gray and Davis to get more familiar and take in more knowledge with Reid’s unique offense.
During the Chiefs' 2012 season, Draughn had little impact on Kansas City’s offense and special teams as a returner. He failed to excel in either of those positions.
This year, the Chiefs have qualified candidates for both positions, making it more challenging for Draughn to obtain a spot on the team. But if Draughn comes through in either, or both, of those positions, he will guarantee himself another year in Kansas City.
FB Toben Opurum
Toben Opurum isn’t on this list for negative reasons about him. Despite playing for Kansas, a team which won three games the past two years, Opurum stood out as an individual and was named a team captain his senior year while playing on defense.
Now, Opurum is going back to playing offense, which is what he played his freshman year of college.
As an undrafted free agent, Opurum will be competing against rookie draftee Braden Wilson and three-year veteran Anthony Sherman.
The chances of Reid carrying three fullbacks on the active roster and practice squad is unlikely, so Opurum knows he has to perform better than Wilson and Sherman to have a chance to stay with the team.
WR Jon Baldwin
There are two possibilities surrounding Jon Baldwin’s future. He rallies under a new coaching staff and redeems himself, allowing him to stay on the team, or he continues to face limitations on the field and the new regime lets him go.
Baldwin, a former first-round draft pick, has the potential, but it is yet to be showcased.
With Dwayne Bowe lining up on the other side of the offense, it was hoped that the Chiefs could have a pair of giant threats. But Bowe remains as the lone key wide receiver on the team.
Even with Kansas City’s poor passing game, there were four Chiefs players outside of Bowe who had more receptions than Baldwin in 2012.
This training camp is a crucial one for Baldwin, whose future is not only in jeopardy with the team, but his career could face drastic deterioration.
WR Dexter McCluster
Capable of playing running back, wide receiver and special teams returner, Dexter McCluster is the most versatile athlete on the team. But as a player, he is having trouble in the NFL.
Coming out of Ole Miss, his career started off with a bang when he took the eventual game-winning punt returner touchdown on opening week against San Diego in 2010. Since then, McCluster’s only notable game was against Chicago in 2011.
But fans, who have supported McCluster heavily, have a reason to feel optimistic about him this year. With Reid as the head coach, McCluster fits an offense that is very well suited for him.
The big part is having McCluster come together and play well. If he can improve on catching the ball and his security, he could be a key player for the team this year and end up being the team’s most improved player.
TE Tony Moeaki
In just three years, Tony Moeaki has featured flashes during an injury-plagued career. Going into his fourth year with the team, the injury bug has already carried over with kickoff a little over two months away.
Moeaki missed OTAs due to a knee injury as Reid said earlier in the offseason that Moeaki’s first practice would likely come during training camp, according to Lance Veeser of NBC News Kansas City.
While missing out on practices and gaining a better understanding of the offense, the Chiefs signed Anthony Fasano and drafted Travis Kelce.
Moeaki’s odds are stacked against him. If his health continues to be an issue, there may not be a spot for him on the team.
Assuming Reid keeps three tight ends, Moeaki could stay with Fasano and Kelce. It will just be a matter of whether or not Moeaki can stay healthy and get more action than the other two.
DE Allen Bailey
With Glenn Dorsey’s departure, the right defensive end spot was wide-open until the Chiefs signed former New York Jets defensive end Mike DeVito. DeVito is currently penciled in as the unofficial starter.
For Allen Bailey, he is another player who must keep down his errors in training camp in front of a new coaching staff.
As a third-round pick in 2011, Bailey made the highlight reel once his rookie season during a stunning win over the Green Bay Packers when he sacked Aaron Rodgers in the fourth quarter to help Kansas City keeps its narrow lead.
But in his second year, he showed up in just 10 games and recorded five tackles, which is very few for a third-round pick with one season under his belt.
If a backup defensive end outplays Bailey in preseason games, that could be the biggest difference between him staying or leaving Kansas City.
CB Jalil Brown
After Kansas City signed Dunta Robinson and Sean Smith and drafted Sanders Commings, the front office decided to part ways with Javier Arenas in a trade and received a fullback in return.
With Arenas struggling and the team releasing Stanford Routt, Jalil Brown saw starts in a couple of games last year with Brandon Flowers starting on the other side of the defense.
Brown has a lot of competition to deal with, but he can sneak into the 53-man roster. Brown was impressive on Kansas City’s special teams defense last year. If he continues to contribute on special teams, he will remain on the team, and perhaps, see a little bit of action on defense.