We don't have a lot of time left to stew over potential practice squad players, so I thought I'd take an opportunity to chew on several players on this team that have little shot of making the actual roster, but the Chiefs might consider holding onto.
The practice squad, once again, is reserved for younger players (usually rookies) who can stay on the team to practice but not to play. They are free agents that can be acquired by any team willing to pluck one off and put him on their 53-man roster, so usually it's for a bunch of no-names. The only limitation is that a player cannot be on the practice squad for longer than three seasons (which all but eliminates Michael Allan and Will Svitek, both of whom I think are right up against that limitation).
Now, the practice squad can only have eight players (plus one international addition, which for us would be the British LB Aden Durde). Most of those eight will probably come from other teams, but here are some from this team that could make the transition.
1. DE Brian Johnston -- I think it's obvious that Johnston has the tools, but that he is going to seriously struggle this year given the incredible leap in competition he's made to the NFL. Johnston simply needs a year or two to get his feet under him before the Chiefs make any serious calls. At this point I'd wager the Chiefs are happy with Turk and Tamba at starting DE, and will rotate Boone in regularly at both DE and DT. Combine that with the off-chance the Chiefs find somebody they like on the market, and there may be no room for Johnston on the 53-man.
2. OT/OG Edwin Harrison -- Edwin Harrison has received far more snaps this preseason than most people had suspected from him, thanks to the injury of Branden Albert. As a result, Harrison has slotted up from 3rd string LT to 2nd string LT, and he hasn't looked overwhelmed against 2nd team defenses. He's held his own, and he boasts some upside as a large body that could perhaps transition to the right side or even inside. There is no room for a 5th tackle on this team (Albert, Taylor, McIntosh, and Richardson being the four), but there's room for one on the practice squad.
3. WR Kevin McMahan -- The Chiefs have seen a number of wide receivers play well this preseason. Three are automatic locks: Bowe, Darling, and Franklin. Webb is also probably a lock, because he can contribute as a reserve guy. At the fifth spot, Price has elevated himself amongst his WR brethren and is looking like a sure thing for a roster spot, and could even shoot up the depth chart if he continues to play well. Sippio would be highly unlikely to make the practice squad, as the Chiefs are looking to go way young. The options at that point would be rookie Jabari Arthur or 2nd-year McMahan. Both are a possibility, but McMahan has played consistently well so far in the preseason. He has speed that Arthur does not, and that's something the Chiefs sorely need.
4. DE Jason Parker -- If the Chiefs pick up, by some freak accident, a solid DE off waivers from some other team, I'm willing to bet Brian Johnston occupies the practice squad. Either way, there's a possibility that Parker still keeps a spot either way. I look at Parker and I see a Cover 2 defensive end: he's high motor and he's very swift, able to chase down QBs from behind. I think Parker has some upside and he's reportedly made a lot of noise at River Falls.
5. TE Mike Merritt -- Even if Merritt somehow avoided the IR kiss of death (irreversible "injured reserved" status that automatically takes a player out for the season), he'll still probably be PUP'd ("physically unable to play" basically translates to a week-to-week "out" status and can apply to a player up until the 8th week of the season). After returning, he'll find himself at a crowded position with Cottam, Allan, and of course Tony G. There will essentially be no room for Merritt until (maybe) next season. So if we see Merritt at all on this team, it's destined to be on the practice squad.
6. OLB Steve Octavien -- There hasn't been a lot to be happy about with the LB corps this year. It does seem that the starting lineup has been solidified with OLBs Derrick Johnson and Demorrio Williams and MLB Pat Thomas. At this point, the backups are unclear. When Donnie Edwards returns, he'll play solid. Hoyte has been trumpeted by Gunther himself for his play. Napoleon Harris' future with the team is a question mark. So it's hard to make any sense out of this, except that Octavien, out of all the backups we have, most looks like an NFL player. He's lacking a bit in speed and athleticism, but he makes up for it in size and playmaking. He's been the only backup LB not to embarrass himself too much, and that may pay off eventually.
7. RB Jackie Battle -- I don't know if the Chiefs will even try to retain Battle at this point, because some RB-hungry team has probably enjoyed watching this kid run. But Battle has a lot of promise as a thicker, stronger RB. I don't know if the Chiefs are interested in taking up a practice squad spot with a RB (with already four RBs projected to make it to the final roster, including Savage as a returner), so this is unlikely.
8. CB Tyron Brackenridge -- The Chiefs are solidified at the top of their depth chart at CB (Surtain, Flowers, Carr), but from there it's murkier and murkier. Patterson's defense (and solid special teams play) have earned himself a roster spot by my calculations, and Maurice Leggett has shown some promise. But I don't know if it will be enough for either of them when players start hitting the waiver wire here in a few days. Brackenridge has not played well in the two preseason games we've had so far, and he seems to have stalled in the progress he was making following a streetfight in the offseason. The Chiefs may decide he needs more time to develop, and may sneak him onto the practice squad if possible.