From the FanPosts. -Chris
Updated Depth Chart
After updating the Stock Reports, I have to tell you that I have newfound respect for what coaches go through as they try to whittle down the roster to get to 53 players. Is it the "Right 53"? Well, it is still way too early to accurately predict who will line up as a Chief next season. Training camp is still lurking, and that is where the team will truly be built. The really interesting part to me was how this highlighted the best positional battles. The picture is starting to get a little clearer. Here is my best guess as to who makes the Roster.
|R. Price||D. Morgan|
|M. Brown||J. McGraw|
|J. Page||B. Pollard|
|Free Safety||Strong Safety|
|A. Studebaker||C. Smith||P. Walters|
|T. McBride||C. Mays||J. Belcher||M. Beisel|
|T. Hali||D. Williams||W. Dacus||M. Vrabel|
|OLB||D. Johnson||Z. Thomas||OLB|
|J. Bates||D. Gales||L. Fryar|
|R. Colclough||B. Greenwood||D. Lokey||W. Gilberry||D. Washington|
|T. Daniels||A. Magee||R. Edwards||A. Boone||M. Leggett|
|B. Carr||G. Dorsey||TANK Tyler||T. Jackson||B. Flowers|
|Cornerback||Def. End||Nose Tackle||Def. End||Cornerback|
|Wide Receiver||Tackle||Guard||Center||Guard||Tackle||Tight End||Wide Receiver|
|D. Darling||B. Albert||B. Waters||R. Niswanger||M. Goff||D. McIntosh||B. Cottam||D. Bowe|
|M. Bradley||H. Taylor||W. Smith||E. Ghiaciuc||E. Harrison||B. Richardson||T. Curtis||T. Copper|
|T. Johnson||C. Goldberg||B. De La Puente||W. Smith||T. Washington||C. Brown||J. O'Connell||J. Webb|
|D. Harris||S. Ryan|
|Slot Receiver||T. Crabtree|
|Q. Lawrence||Fullback||M. Cassel||Tailback|
|R. Wright||M. Cox||T. Thigpen||L. Johnson|
|J. Collins||B. Croyle||J. Charles|
|J. O'Connell||I. Martin||J. Williams||KR/PR||Punter|
|Long Snapper||Kicker||K. Smith||Q. Lawrence||D. Colquitt|
|T. Purdum||R. Succop||J. Battle||R. Wright|
|C. Barth||D. Savage|
* NOTE: Players outside the mandatory roster maximum of 53 are shown in yellow. *
A couple of hopefuls already received their pink slips this week, and I was only surprised by one name, Darrell Robertson. I thought D-Rob had an outside shot at the roster due to his time in the system, albeit brief. Gafford was an emergency fill-in at long snapper last season after Darche went down, but he still had more game experience than Tanner Purdum (Trust Pioli, Trust Pioli...). T.J. and C.J. won't be missed.
I want to stress that just because a player is listed in "yellow" does not mean that I think they will not make the roster. Only that they have their work cut out for them. Some of these battles could go either way, and it seems that a tie almost always goes to the veteran. I have to believe that Pioli is trying to change the roster to his guys, so that elevates a draft pick's stock somewhat. Of course, most of the fringe players will have to prove themselves on Special Teams. So that could also affect the final 53 if a back-up corner is a better special teamer than a back up linebacker, etc. Let's take a look at some of the better positional battles as I see it:
- Right Outside Linebacker:One of my favorites battles. We theoretically have two converted 4-3 DEs that may or may not be able to adjust to playing upright as a Linebacker. I am assuming that Vrabel is playing the LOLB, so if Hali has a starter's spot, it has to be at ROLB, and we all remember his struggles adjusting to the right side last year. If Turk is having the same kind of troubles, I am sure they might look at Beisel, Walters, or Studebaker as possibly being a starter here. To me, this one is wide open.
- Right Defensive End: This position has a great big ole spotlight on Mr. Glenn Dorsey. Excuse me, Defensive End Glenn Dorsey. I am still getting used to that. Rookie Alex MaGee will probably get a lot of playing time here, or win the position outright. The thing that sticks out to me about our D Line is that they seem to be interchangeable parts. Most all of them could play all 3 line positions in a pinch, and that is a really good thing. I actually think there will be a good competition between Greenwood, Gales, Gilberry, and Lokey for the last spot on the D line. We have to have some depth here, so I went with Greenwood.
- 4th and 5th Cornerback: OK, raise your hand if you are pulling for Maurice Leggett. OK, now raise you hand if you are pulling for Daniels, Colclough, or Washington. We know that Flowers and Carr are in, so I see these 4 guys vying for 3 positions. Should be a good one.
- 4th and 5th Wide Receiver: Hayley loves Wide Receivers, so could he keep 6? I doubt it. But we should see plenty of 3 WR sets, so 5 seems about right. I thought the Chiefs were fairly aggressive trying to find some new blood at this spot. Not sure if they hit the jackpot, but mark my words, this will be one of the best camp battles on the team. At this point, it is really difficult to know who will separate themselves from the pack. Not sure why, buy I have a feeling that Copper will beat out Webb. Engram plays the slot, and Lawrence makes the team at returner to give us our "Pseudo Sixth" Receiver.
- Back-up Interior Lineman: This problem area has really stuck in my craw for a couple of years now. The only new guy we are looking at inside is a guy who looks about equal to Niswanger on paper. And with Waters and Goff our Elder Statesman on the O line, we really need some guys to show well. I think Wade Smith makes the team because of his versatility, so that leaves Ghiaciuc, Harrison, De La Puente, and Washington fighting for the last spot.
- Right Tackle: This position battle really got me thinking, that if Colin Brown does well at Right Tackle, why not at least try the big-bodied Richardson at Left Tackle? I know what you all are thinking. What about Herb? Well Herb has good enough feet to play the left bookend, but he was less than spectacular when he got a chance at RT and RG last season. To make this roster, you need to be able to play more than one line position, and why not keep the 4 biggest and baddest (no pun intended) Tackles you have? Either way, there is no way they keep more than 4 Tackles, so this will be the end of the road for either Taylor, Richardson, Brown, or even McIntosh.
- Tight End: This position was described as a wide open one the other day, and with Tony G gone, why wouldn't it be? 6'7" Brad Cottam apparently is showing that when it comes right down to it, he really doesn't have much actual playing experience. This deficiency has opened the door for others such as Tony Curtis and Sean Ryan to step forward. 7th Round Draft Pick Jake O'Connell is wearing #45. Could this mean he is being looked at to play Fullback/H Back/Tight End? For now, this perceived versatility gets him the nod.
- Quarterback: I almost didn't put this down as a camp battle. But Hayley said that everyone will get a chance, so Thigpen gets his. I do think that Cassel will win this job, but it makes me feel a heck of a lot better that we have a guy like Thigpen at the #2 spot. The real battle could be whether or not Brodie comes back strong and healthy. Otherwise, we could be "Ingled" again. It could happen.
- 3rd Running Back: I have no idea if the new regime holds any loyalty to Kolby Smith, or thinks that Jackie Battle has loads of potential. So I think their shiny new pick, Javarris Williams, makes the roster in a little bit of an upset. I have some thoughts that the team may want to keep O'Connell as an H Back and possibly use Williams in a back up role at TB and FB. This strategy may open another roster spot for a young LB or WR.
- Kick Returner: Lawrence, Wright, and Savage seem to have the best chance at being our returner this season. This has been in need of a serious upgrade ever since the day Dante Hall was traded to St. Louis, but honestly the Chiefs didn't go out of their way to upgrade this position. Wright could surprise and snag this spot because of his experience as a returner.
- Kicker: Succop's name kind of makes me laugh. But I guess I better get used to it, because I think his stronger leg, and Mr Irrelevant Status will elevate him over last year's incumbent Connor Barth.
I want to wish all of our potential Chiefs good luck in winning a spot! Trust me when I tell you that I am not obsessed with the depth chart! I am only obsessed with all things Chiefs! And obviously there are lots of good positional battles for us to watch and see who will be a Chief in 2009. The decisions behind the making of this depth chart were really tough ones, and now I know what Scott Pioli was saying when he talked about finding the "Right 53". It is much harder than it looks.