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Kansas City Chiefs roster bubble: Any surprises at quarterback?

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Who are the KC Chiefs locks and bubble players at quarterback? Nick Jacobs (@Jacobs71) gives his take as we await the start of training camp.

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I had the luxury of watching all offseason practices. Below is my assessment of the quarterbacks based on what I saw this spring and summer. This is just my opinion and not reflective of the Chiefs real depth chart.

Previously: RB

Lock to make the roster

Alex Smith: In 2013, Smith proved his worth in Andy Reid's system. He showed an ability to remain calm despite the pocket collapsing around him but also had the wheels to get out of the pocket and take off when receivers couldn't get separation. He also began to trust his receivers in tight coverage as the season went on.

During OTAs and minicamp, Smith picked up where he left off at the end of the season. He looked decisive and sharp and trusted his receivers to make the catch. Dwayne Bowe and Alex Smith developed a promising chemistry during the spring practices. Smith was spot on with his back shoulder throws and Bowe waited until the right moment to make the catch. Cornerbacks rarely had a chance with Smith and Bowe on the same page.

Alex Smith is leaps and bounds ahead of the other three quarterbacks on the roster. He is an obvious roster lock.

Aaron Murray: When Murray stepped on the field at rookie minicamp in May you could tell he was learning to trust his surgically repaired knee again. His tape pre-knee injury didn't match up with was on the field early this offseason. His weight distribution and his plant foot and rotation didn't look the same. It altered his accuracy for the early part of OTAs.

But as the spring and summer practices wore on, you began to see improvement.

It looked like he was starting to trust his knee again. It helps that his head didn't look like it was swimming as much as that first rookie minicamp. Murray made some accurate throws during camp, which showed he could translate his game to the NFL level.  The impression I got from the practices was that Murray is the happy medium between Smith and Bray.

Murray's biggest challenges are getting comfortable with his knee, digesting the playbook and improving his accuracy. He won't make it to the practice squad.

Tyler Bray: The reason Bray is a lock is because he has the size and deep ball. The Chiefs need to give him meaningful snaps this season to give him the full three years of a maturation process before they go in a different direction.

Bray is the most gifted deep ball passer on the Chiefs roster. But he needs to improve his other throws. He doesn't consistently take what the defense is giving him. If the defense is giving you the 5-yard cross or the 10-yard out, don't force the fly route in double coverage. What I see is a quarterback trying to break his previous bad habits. Bray is learning how to read a defense but is still growing in that process. He will occasionally force the pass over the into an unfavorable situation. He still has room to grow.

On the bubble

Chase Daniel: In year one, Daniel gave the Chiefs a veteran quarterback who was athletic and capable of moving the chains on intermediate passes. With a new regime last year, the coaching staff didn't have time for unreliable quarterbacks in their system. They needed players who could hit the ground running. Daniel gave them that in 2013.

Daniel can effectively complete passes inside the numbers and within 10 to 15 yards. Like Smith, he isn't going to force the issue. On occasion he will give you a solid deep ball throw but he needs to feel comfortable with the receivers positioning to take that chance.

Chase Daniel is going to have some real competition in training camp this year with the Chiefs younger quarterbacks. Critics will point to his cap number, which is high compared to some other No. 2 quarterbacks.


The Chiefs are in a good position with this crop of quarterbacks (see the past decade if you don't believe me).

Aaron Murray and Tyler Bray will push Chase Daniel, which could lead to an interesting scenario. Could the Chiefs go with two young players (Bray and Murray) that have promise but no snaps in an NFL game? Or let one of your young talents go for the veteran backup?

It should be noted that the Chiefs quarterback decision will be made for them if an injury comes up during training camp. But I expect the preseason games to decide the battle on the Chiefs quarterback depth chart.