Kansas City Chiefs: Immediate 53 Man Roster Cut Predictions Post Packers Game
This preseason was not a pretty one for the Kansas City Chiefs. The team suffered plenty of hits when it came to injuries and suspensions, in addition to a series of very poor performances on the field.
The Chiefs can't dwell on this. Instead, coach Andy Reid and the coaching staff must put together the 53-man roster by Saturday afternoon and put the month of August behind them.
Check out this slideshow for Kansas City's projected 53-man roster.
Alex Smith, Chase Daniel and Aaron Murray (rookie)
The Chiefs appear to be confident in Chase Daniel as the primary backup behind Alex Smith. As for Aaron Murray, he had some mistakes that are expected from a rookie. In the end, the Georgia product showed enough to earn him a roster spot.
Tyler Bray was well known for his rocket arm while playing in Tennessee. If an NFL team that is in need of a quarterback trades for Daniel, Bray might sneak his way onto the 53-man roster.
Running Back (4)
Jamaal Charles, Knile Davis, De’Anthony Thomas (rookie) and Cyrus Gray
The Chiefs are stacked at this position, as they have three scatbacks that defenses will have a hard time containing. We saw how big a weapon Jamaal Charles was as an all-purpose threat in 2013, his first under Andy Reid’s system.
What if the Chiefs use Knile Davis and rookie De’Anthony Thomas, both of whom have great speed, in a similar fashion?
Chiefs fans should feel encouraged with this position group going into the regular season. Depending on whether or not Reid limits the total number of wide receivers and offensive linemen, running back Cyrus Gray might land a spot on the team this year.
The Chiefs made the right move during the 2013 offseason when they traded cornerback Javier Arenas away for fullback Anthony Sherman. Sherman didn’t get enough credit for opening holes for Jamaal Charles.
Sherman was also useful in Kansas City’s passing game and should continue to be an asset as a checkdown option out of the backfield.
Wide Receiver (6)
Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery, Frankie Hammond, A.J. Jenkins, Junior Hemingway and Kyle Williams
With Dwayne Bowe suspended for the first game of the season, the Chiefs wide receivers will look different for one week. But going into Week 2, this should be the way the set looks.
However, it is not a group Chiefs fans are all that excited about. Frankie Hammond had a good preseason, but can he play against a legitimate starting NFL cornerback?
Bowe will need to perform at a high level, and Alex Smith will need additional help from a tight end to help carry the load in the passing game.
Tight End (2)
Travis Kelce and Anthony Fasano
We never saw Travis Kelce play last year because of his knee injury. However, he was fun to watch early this preseason and was one of the most discussed Chiefs players when he had the opportunities to show off his speed. It is safe to say Kelce will be more involved in the game plan after how he helped the offense in the preseason.
Smith has some reliable weapons to work with. The most important thing is to make sure he has an offensive line that will give him enough time to make the right throws.
Offensive Line (10)
Left Tackle: Eric Fisher and J’Marcus Webb
Left Guard: Jeff Allen and Jeffrey Linkenbach
Center: Rodney Hudson and Eric Kush
Right Guard: Zach Fulton (rookie) and Ricky Henry
Right Tackle: Ryan Harris and Donald Stephenson
The Chiefs offensive line allowed 16 sacks this preseason, which limited a first-team offense that failed to score a touchdown.
Donald Stephenson will miss the first four games due to suspension, but Ryan Harris, who has played in 78 games and started in half of them, will likely be the fill-in man at right tackle.
The Chiefs have plenty of young guys at the offensive line, but whether there's a viable NFL starter aside from center Rodney Hudson is a valid question. Eric Fisher, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, has struggled immensely. The Chiefs are even forced to put sixth-round rookie Zach Fulton as the starter at right guard.
On paper, this offensive line concerns a lot of people.
Whether the offense will succeed depends on the line. If it plays well, a lot will be expected from Smith. But if the line struggles, expect Smith to be sacked at least 50 times, if he’s lucky to stay healthy throughout the season with all the hits he may end up takings.
Defensive Line (6)
Left Defensive End: Allen Bailey and Jaye Howard
Nose Tackle: Dontari Poe and Vance Walker
Right Defensive End: Mike DeVito and Mike Catapano
Dontari Poe and Mike DeVito are returning defensive linemen with Allen Bailey filling in for the position Tyson Jackson held last year. The front seven, especially in the first half of 2013, did a great job pressuring opposing quarterbacks. As a whole, the defense collected 47 sacks.
The Chiefs were impressed with what they saw from Jaye Howard and Vance Walker. Although they are expected to be backups, the two should see significant playing time and may even have the opportunity to start at some point this season.
Outside Linebackers: Tamba Hali, Justin Houston, Dee Ford (rookie) and Frank Zombo
Inside Linebackers: Derrick Johnson, James-Michael Johnson, Nico Johnson, Josh Mauga and Joe Mays
This is the position where the Chiefs are stacked with talent.
Starting with the outside linebackers, the Chiefs return pass-rushers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. In addition, the Chiefs drafted Dee Ford to join their two Pro Bowlers to form an even fiercer pass rush.
Derrick Johnson blossomed under the tutelage of former defensive coordinator and head coach Romeo Crennel and he played at a Pro Bowl level last year, coordinator Bob Sutton's first with Kansas City. The inside linebacker spot beside Johnson is now wide open, since Joe Mays is expected to miss some time after undergoing wrist surgery.
James-Michael Johnson and Nico Johnson are the top candidates to replace Mays.
Sean Smith, Marcus Cooper, Chris Owens, (rookie) Phillip Gaines and DeMarcus Van Dyke
Despite having an average season in 2013, Pro Bowl corner Brandon Flowers—now with the San Diego Chargers—will be missed this season.
While Marcus Cooper made a strong impression early in 2013 as a rookie, he slipped during the team’s 2-5 finish to the regular season.
Chris Owens brings some experience to the team, but is he alone enough to fill in for Flowers?
Although this is a thin cast of cornerbacks, they do have a good group of pass-rushers working in front of them. When the front seven applies pressure, expect opposing passers to make a number of ill-advised throws, which will create opportunities for the secondary to come up with interceptions.
Free Safety: Husain Abdullah and Malcolm Bronson
Strong Safety: Eric Berry and Kelcie McCray
Husain Abdullah is an immediate upgrade over last year's starting free safety Kendrick Lewis, who signed with the Houston Texans this offseason. Abdullah made a positive impact for the Chiefs when he was given an opportunity to play last year.
Although a banged-up Eric Berry didn’t play this preseason, it was wise to keep him on the sidelines to avoid further injury.
Kelcie McCray was acquired earlier this preseason, and the Chiefs may keep him if the front office and defensive staff sees potential in him.
Like the cornerbacks, the safeties will have chances at getting turnovers if the Kansas City pass rush turns out to be as powerful as expected.
Special Teams (3)
Kicker: Ryan Succop
Punter: Dustin Colquitt
Long Snapper: Thomas Gafford
Andy Reid’s plan going into the preseason finale was to have Ryan Succop and Cairo Santos trade off on field goals. However, neither were called upon to attempt one.
For the preseason, Succop and Santos both made all three of their field-goal attempts. Succop made all four of his extra-point attempts, and Santos connected on all five of his.
Reid can pick Succop, who is a veteran and knows what is expected from him, or go with Santos if he thinks Santos is just as good as Succop. If Reid believes Santos and Succop are exactly equal, the team will want Santos since he is cheaper.
My guess, Reid goes with the veteran.
Kick Returner: Knile Davis, De’Anthony Thomas (rookie) and Frankie Hammond
Punt Returner: De’Anthony Thomas (rookie), Knile Davis and Frankie Hammond
No major surprises here. Knile Davis and De’Anthony Thomas will showcase their breakaway speed and are the best candidates as return specialists. Frankie Hammond looked good on special teams, but also made enough plays on offense to be a backup at the wide receiver position.