NFL 2021: Kansas City Chiefs’ 53-player roster projection 2.0
the Kansas City Chiefs have a day off from training camp in St-Joseph on Wednesday before a padded practice on Thursday, a day off on Friday and their first preseason game on Saturday. Their first cup – with 85 players – will take place on Tuesday. Another cup (at 80) takes place on August 24 and the final cup (at 53) takes place on August 31.
As always, my projections are based on things I’ve seen, heard, and assumed (Go back and read 1.0 here). Here we are!
Quarterbacks (2): Patrick Mahomes, Chad Henne
There’s no change here, with the Chiefs keeping two quarterbacks – the best player in the game and his replacement from last season. The other two quarterbacks on the list – Shane Buechele and Anthony Gordon – continue their battle for a single practice squad position, and there hasn’t been a real split yet. The preseason strip will be important.
Running backs (3): Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darrel Williams, Jerrick McKinnon
No change here – and it it looks like the back of third grade Darwin Thompson is feeling the heat a bit. After starting camp on the Reserve / COVID roster, Thompson is back in training – but seven-year veteran Jerrick McKinnon continues to have reps ahead of him.
I made the bold prediction that Chiefs head coach Andy Reid finally chooses to say goodbye to the back so he can make room for talent in other positions. I don’t feel good about it, but it wasn’t easy to make room elsewhere. If Reid insists on his full-back, it’s probably an offensive lineman coming off the board.
Wide receivers (6): Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, Byron Pringle, Marcus Kemp, Cornell Powell
In the projection of the 1.0 roster, I noted that the role of the top five wide receivers was a bigger question than which of the players is on the roster. Watching training camp practice shed some light on that front. Mecole Hardman was clearly the second best wide receiver in the camp – and a nice surprise to Chiefs fans, I find Marcus Kemp pushing Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle offensively. But there’s also a nasty surprise: fifth-round pick Cornell Powell looked outdated.
Second-year receiver Maurice Ffrench (not drafted in 2020) is a sure candidate for the practice squad. Antonio Callaway, who missed the last practice with a bone contusion, did not do as I expected.
Tight Ends (4): Travis Kelce, Blake Bell, Jody Fortson, Noah Gray
The early-camp buzz around Noah Gray gave way to the buzz around Jody Fortson – and yes, I to know We have been here before. But maybe this time it’s different. Fortson gained 20 pounds of muscle and he really look around the room. Let’s see how this translates into preseason games. I still love that Blake Bell makes the team the tight end they need at No.2 as Gray develops.
Offensive linemen (10): LT Orlando Brown Jr., LG Joe Thuney, C Creed Humphrey, RG Trey Smith, RT Lucas Niang, Mike Remmers, Austin Blythe, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Nick Allegretti, Andrew Wylie
First off, as a reminder, I think Kyle Long will start the season on the reserve / PUP roster, knocking him out for the first six weeks. With Mike Remmers out of practice with a back problem, Lucas Niang has been moved to the starting right tackle position – when Remmers is healthy I don’t think he recovers the spot. It should also be noted here that the right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has a broken hand.
A note on the NFL injury rules: Long does not count towards the 53-player roster since he’s part of the PUP. However, Remmers and Duvernay-Tardif are to be on the initial list of 53 players to be placed in the injured reserve with a designation to return in three weeks. To me, that is why their illnesses did not eliminate them from the initial list.
I made a change, replacing Andrew Wylie for Prince Tega Wanogho. Wylie has accumulated work as a second team right tackle, and I think the value he brings as a veteran who knows the system and can play in any position except center strengthens his position in the roster. . Once the Chiefs make a deal with one of their injured linemen, Tega Wanogho will be back.
Defensive tackles (4): Jarran Reed, Derrick Nnadi, Tershawn Wharton, Khalen Saunders
Where’s Chris Jones? It’s official, see below.
There are still four defensive tackles listed here, as I chose to keep Khalen Saunders after watching him in training camp. Saunders looks rejuvenated; he begins to have more representatives with the first team. When asked who he would like to see work the most in Saturday night’s preseason game, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo specifically pointed out Saunders.
“(Defensive line coach) Brendan Daly mentioned the other day in our staff meeting that he’s racked up several days together where he’s been really good,” said Spagnuolo.
Jarran Reed, Derrick Nnadi and “Turk” Wharton all looked solid.
Defensive wings (6): Chris Jones, Frank Clark, Alex Okafor, Mike Danna, Taco Charlton, Joshua Kaindoh
With the publication of the first unofficial depth chart of chefs, we decided to move Chris Jones to the defensive end section – and here’s some not-so-surprising news: In his debut in position, he’s the best defensive end on the roster.
Okafor is out of work due to a hamstring issue – and until we see him in the mix again, I wonder the same thing I asked myself about offensive linemen: Could we see Okafor make the 53-player roster and then quickly switch to IR with a designation to return? If that were to happen, Tim Ward would get the practice squad’s quick call.
Throughout training camp, Mike Danna seemed like a better option for the Chiefs than Taco Charlton, although I think Charlton is safe.
Linebackers (5): Anthony Hitchens, Willie Gay, Nick Bolton, Ben Niemann, Dorian O ‘Daniel
In my mind, the top four linebackers here are locks in making the squad – and that includes fourth-year linebacker Ben Niemann, who Spagnuolo trusts with his plan. Dorian O’Daniel vs. Darius Harris is a point to watch, and it may depend on whether Harris can impress Dave Toub enough in the special teams. Harris had snaps about every special teams unit last year, but O’Daniel is a perennial Toub dude.
As mentioned in projection 1.0, chefs may feel like they are need O’Daniel, who finished seventh on special teams in just 11 games played. The three players above him – Antonio Hamilton (Buccaneers), Anthony Sherman (retired) and Nick Keizer (retired) – are no longer part of the squad.
Cornerbacks (6): Charvarius Ward, L’Jarius Sneed, Mike Hughes, Rashad Fenton, Deandre Baker, BoPete Keyes
No change in this room since our first screening. Charvarius Ward and L’Jarius Sneed are the exterior cornerbacks in the base, with the interior sliding Sneed in nickel. There is a battle for the outside cornerback in the nickel between Mike Hughes, Rashad Fenton and Deandre Baker. I think the Chiefs like Hughes there right now, but Fenton – who can also support Sneed in the slot – is pushing him.
BoPete Keyes took a visible step forward in camp with a few turnovers, but it wasn’t enough to drive for some real shots – unless there was an injury.
Safeties (4): Tyrann Mathieu, Daniel Sorensen, Juan Thornhill, Devon Key
Tyrann Mathieu and Daniel Sorensen were the team’s two best goalies, while Juan Thornhill mainly came in for three safety looks. I think undrafted rookie Devon Key makes this team, upsetting Armani Watts. It’s not common for Steve Spagnuolo to give first-team rookies time, and we’ve seen him do it with Key in the sou. The key barring the special teams box for Toub will seal Watts’ fate.
Placekicker Harrison Butker, punter Tommy Townsend and James Winchester long snapper
After a few days on the COVID list, James Winchester returned. These three face no competition.
Under contract, not counted on active list (2)
Reserve / PUP: OL Kyle Long
Reserve / Injured (off season): DE Malik Hareng
The chefs place the quantities during the cut of 53 men since 2013
Here’s a look at the number of chef positions over the years since Andy Reid took over the chefs in 2013:
Quantity of offensive positions since 2013
Amount of defensive positions since 2013
|2016||6||9||6||4 *||25 *|
* Eric Berry had a list exemption when the list was reduced to 53 men in 2016 and has been included in most discount listings.
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