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Predicting the Kansas City Chiefs 53-man roster (still way too early edition)

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

From the FanPosts ... AP reader Dandridge wrote this in the FanPosts earlier this week but I was a little late in seeing it so I'm re-posting it here. It was broken up into two separate posts (offense and defense) but I compiled it all into one post here. -Joel

Below, I've tried to write something about all 90 guys on the Kansas City Chiefs roster and how I see them going into training camp. I've tried to put them in ranked order by position group, but I've had to take some liberties with "position group" to have that make sense. There will be a line break between the guys I see making the 53 and those who won't. It's way too early for anyone to be doing this, much less just an average Joe fan, but that's what makes it fun.


Alex Smith: The Volvo of quarterbacks. Solid, reliable, mistake free, and boring as plain yogurt.

Chase Daniel: Has performed well in every real football game he's been part of. Won't lose his spot due to performance questions. Capable, career backup sort of guy.

Aaron Murray: Has to play like Alex Smith chooses to, looks like Chase Daniel. I don't see massive upside to him, but another player who can be a capable, career backup.


Tyler Bray: Has every physical attribute you could ask for in a drop back passer except health at this point. Won't get enough live fire reps to seriously compete for the 3rd QB spot. Low cost of ownership suggests another year on IR to continue the developmental project. By 2016, he'll need to be ready to compete for number 2 QB or be looking for another opportunity elsewhere.

Running Back

Jamaal Charles: Has at least another two good years in the tank. One of the very elite RBs in the game today.

Knile Davis: Size, speed, lacks a little on instincts. Not patient, but explosive. Fumbles are frustrating. May not be the heir apparent to Jamaal, but a solid No. 2 running back who still has upside.

Cyrus Gray: Excels on special teams and is reliable enough at running back to hang onto the no. 3 spot.


Charcandrick West: Shows more power but a little less wiggle than his competition for the one practice squad spot the Chiefs will likely use on a RB. I give him a slight edge.

Spencer Ware: More elusive than Charcandrick. Will be a close call as to which one makes the practice squad.


De'Anthony Thomas: Had to dig out an old term to classify Thomas. He's not big enough to carry the ball 20 times a game, so the idea of him becoming the man if Charles goes down makes no sense. If Charles and Davis were to both go down, it would be Gray, not Thomas who was asked to shoulder the load. De'Anthony Thomas is a widget, somebody Andy Reid can plug into a lot of places to create a mismatch or exploit a tendency in a defense. He can do some slot work, sweeps, screens, passes to the flat, downfield target out of the RB position ... lots of fun things. Just don't send him between the tackles on third and short.


Anthony Sherman: One of the best in the business, only 26. Only downside here is the Chiefs use a lot more two TE, single back sets than pro sets. This keeps Anthony off the field a lot.


Keyshawn Hill: "Hello, undrafted rookie. You'll be competing with Anthony Sherman to be our starting fullback. Oh, and we don't keep backups at this spot and rarely put a FB on the practice squad." I hope he didn't buy a house.

Wide Receiver

Jeremy Maclin: New No. 1  in town. Definite upgrade over Bowe. Have to see how his skills mesh with Alex's low risk approach to the passing game.

Da'Rick Rogers: Every fan is required to take one absurdly crazy shot from the hip when looking at players this time of year. Da'Rick is my absurdly ranked guy. That admitted, I see someone with size, strength, sure hands, large catch radius, who runs good routes and has multiple gears. He does lack that elite sprinter speed you'd like to see, but physically, this guy should be a number one receiver. All his problems have been off the field. He's only 23, so he's got a lot of future ahead of him if he can just behave himself away from the team.

Albert Wilson: I know, I know, I know. We're supposed to be really high on this guy. He's really strong for 5'9. He can muscle back against big CBs. He's got great speed and good hands. He can be a very good number 2 receiver for the Chiefs. He's also still only 5'9 with average length arms. He's not going to win those jump balls down the sideline or be an easy target for comeback or curl routes. Sorry, he looks like a slot receiver, and he should turn into a very good one for the Chiefs this year. He's not the answer at No. 2.

Jason Avant: I believe he's our fourth best receiver going into training camp. At 32, he's also not exactly on the upside of his career. If I've underestimated any of the guys ranked below him, Avant might not make the Chiefs' roster this season.

Chris Conley: I've seen a lot of Conley in college. He's just an incredible athlete, but one who would give into the temptation of letting his athleticism cover for some sloppy route running and lack of attention to detail. Right now, I think he's still more athlete than receiver and needs a year in the system before can start to shine. If I'm wrong and he's more refined and a faster learner than I suspect, Avant's job could be in immediate jeopardy.


Armon Binns: I really like this pickup from Miami. He's got good speed, good height, good hands, and a nice catch radius. He's not fluid in his stride or quick into or out of breaks, but I'm not sure how much is coachable and how much is just a physical inability. He could shine for the Chiefs in training camp. If he does, again, not real good news for Avant.

Kenny Cook: A small school physical specimen. I think he's a little raw, but these guys have a history of surprising me in the NFL. He could show up and stand out and make it impossible to cut him. Odds are, however, he's the best receiver on our practice squad this year.

Junior Hemingway: Did not live up to his reputation as a sure handed receiver last season when he was given the opportunity to step up. If had been able to take advantage of the opportunity, the Chiefs wouldn't have signed Avant last year. I don't think he has the confidence of the coaches, and I don't see him earning it back.

Frankie Hammond: Frankie is one of those guys who always looks better the fewer pads he's wearing. OTA superstar and training camp practice hero. He's shown a lot less in preseason games and did nothing with his time on the field in real games last year.

Donatella Luckett: A physical specimen with all the skills you look for, but just incredibly raw. He hasn't run legitimate route trees. He hasn't been shown the right ways to get off the jam, make a cut, change gears ... if he's quick learning, though, he could easily be a nice addition to the practice squad.

Da'Ron Brown: I hated this draft pick. Hated it, hated it, hated it. We brought in two UDFA's at this position I think are better players than Da'Ron Brown. He'd have to prove me 100 percent wrong just to be a practice squad guy.

Fred Williams: He hasn't been able to make the cut with lesser receiver groups than the Chiefs have in 2015. I see no reason to expect him to make it this year.

Tight End

Travis Kelce: He has the keys. He's officially the man at Alex Smith's favorite position. The time has come to let Zeus loose.

Demetrius Harris: Harris has shown improvement almost on a weekly basis since he was signed. I don't know where his peak is, but it's definitely pretty high. I think he makes a great 1-2 punch with Kelce. This foot injury is really concerning to me. The Chiefs need this guy to get healthy and stay healthy.

James O'Shaughnessy: He's built more like an H-Back than a tight end, which always makes me worry about someone's ability to block in-line. Decent speed. Good hands. Good feel for a zone. Plenty of upside. Can't see the Chiefs exposing him to waivers in hopes of stowing him on the practice squad. At the same time, I'm not entirely sure how ready he'll be to contribute this season.


Richard Gordon: The Chiefs would be cutting someone with superior talent and upside if they kept four tight ends. If Gordon clears waivers, the Chiefs will want him to keep his phone near at hand in case of an injury to Kelce or Harris. O'Shaughnessy will make me very happy if he's ready to actually play in a three tight end set this season. I definitely don't see him ready to be the number two guy.

Ryan Taylor: He's shown flashes with the Packers, but has mostly bounced around recently. I think he might be competing with Gordon to be the guy the Chiefs call if disaster strikes.

Adam Shiltz: Playing to impress someone well enough to make a practice squad. I see no room for him on the Chiefs' 53.


Eric Fisher: Second year as LT. I know a lot of people are already using the "bust" word for him, but whether that's your opinion or not, he's the best LT available to the Chiefs this season. I think he's serviceable as is, and could be excellent if he can get the mental part and the detail work up to the level of his natural talent.

Donald Stephenson: I don't see anyone supplanting him who's currently on the roster. Cap casualties could change this story, but Chiefs don't have a lot of cap space to play with. He's shown flashes in the past and has the talent to start in the league.

Jeff Allen: The coaches say he's a more natural tackle than guard. I'd have to trust them on it because I haven't seen it. Either way, I don't see him beating Stephenson. Also, he would be limited to right tackle. He's definitely not capable of kicking over to the left tackle spot. He could be the starter at right guard this season, but I personally don't like having the first backup at a position being the starter at another spot. You just create two players in new starting roles instead of one if somebody goes down. Along a group that has to act as a single cohesive unit, this is especially troublesome. That's also one of the reasons I prefer Stephenson as a swing tackle than starting right tackle. If Fish goes down, that's two guys in new roles at both tackle spots.

Derek Sherrod: High draft choice for the Packers but only started two games with them. Got manhandled by the Seahawks in one of them. I can get comfortable with him as a fourth tackle. As the swing tackle, I'm nervous. As a starter, I'm sweating bullets.


Garrett Frye: Training camp prospect as a long term project. Has the height and arm length, but needs to build his strength.


Ben Grubbs: He immediately became the best offensive lineman on the team the moment the trade was done. His only real downside is he doesn't have a lot of shelf life left in him at age 31.

Zach Fulton: I think he's the second best guard on the team not competing at a different position. Even though he's only in his second year, he may not have a whole lot more upside ahead of him. He was very technically sound even as a rookie, which is why he started 16 games. His physical abilities are not top tier. High floor/Low ceiling guy, which is why he lasted to the 6th round.

Paul Fanaika: Blue collar guy. Will not wow anyone with his athletic skills, but works hard to perfect his craft and not make mistakes. Will back up both guard spots.

Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff: Fan favorite trying to make the move to the interior. NFL was clearly too fast for him last season. He has good athleticism for a guard, but likely drops out of the final 53 if the Chiefs keep less than 10 offensive linemen.


Jarrod Pughsley: The Chiefs seem to like offensive linemen who are 6'5" and weigh between 310-325 pounds, so he fits their mold. Practice squad prospect.


Eric Kush: Some people seem to be reading a lot into his lack of playing time last year even after the injuries. I don't. He was a raw, small school prospect with athletic ability the Chiefs were teaching how to play center in this league. He didn't have enough NFL level experience at guard to kick out there last season, and Rodney Hudson stayed healthy. He has some occasional issues with his snaps, but he's got good feet, good leverage, can reach the second level, and seems to be a quick study (important for the guy who makes the line calls). I think he's our guy this year.

Mitch Morse: Yeah, I know. "You don't draft someone in the second round to sit on the bench." Well, I think the Chiefs drafted someone in the first round who'll spend a fair amount of time on the bench this year, so why not round 2? Morse hasn't played center since 2012. He's a rookie with a lot to learn. He needs additional playing strength. Hard worker. Great guy. Tons of upside. Not a starter in 2015. I could, however, easily see the Chiefs grooming him to replace Grubbs in 2016 or 2017 while having him backup Kush this season.


Daniel Munyer: I haven't been able to learn a lot about the three new interior linemen. My presumption is they're competing to nab one practice squad spot. Camp can prove me wrong.

Melvin Meggs: See above

Kevin Palmer: See above

Defensive End

Allen Bailey: Suddenly blossomed into a very good defensive end for the Chiefs just when they needed him most. How much more upside is left to Bailey? He's 26, but has been a slow developer. There might be bigger and better in store for 2015.

Mike DeVito: If fully healthy, his return gives the Chiefs one of the best 3-4 lines in the league. Lunch pail guy who can play anywhere on the line, even NT in a pinch.

Mike Catapano: Suffered from the mystery virus just when it seemed he was ready to shine. Instead, it was Bailey who grabbed the spotlight. Still, if Catapano is healthy, that's a very nice weapon to have in the rotation.

Jaye Howard: Another surprise player from last season who's just been a slow developer. He has both inside and outside ability and has shown he can play and start in the NFL He gives the Chiefs a true four man rotation at DE without a huge drop in ability regardless of who's in the game.


Vaughn Martin: Vaughn can play in the NFL. He's shown that. It just probably won't be with the Chiefs this season if Catapano is back and ready to take that big step.

Charles Tuaau: Has excellent natural ability, loves the game, tireless motor. Can see a lot of Hali in how he plays. If the Chiefs can slip him through waivers and onto the practice squad, he's a true diamond in the rough.

David Irving: Problem child in college who derailed his own career. He has great length and fantastic natural ability. Will need to bulk up in order to become a 3-4 defensive end. 6-4, 275 is prototypical size for a 4-3 guy, but at least 20 pounds too light for a 3-4 guy. As is, he would be a situational pass rusher on a 3-4 oriented defense.

Jerel Worthy: High draft choice. Hasn't done anything to justify his draft position. Has been largely all reputation, no production even going back to college. A Green Bay reclamation project (yes, by way of New England) I have a hard time seeing succeed.

Nick Williams: Tough road ahead for him to climb off the practice squad and onto the 53. Might be really hard for him to hang on to that practice squad spot, too.

Nose Tackle

Dontari Poe: No reason not to expect him to continue to dominate in the center of the line. Would be nice to get some additional snaps off to rest him, though.

Rakeem Nunez-Roches: Has that Dontari Poe sort of first step that changes a nose tackle from a space eater to a disruptive force. Is a little light for an NFL NT. Is a lot raw for an NFL NT. Still, he has a fantastic motor and remarkable range for a man his size. Never gives up on a play.

Inside Linebacker

Derrick Johnson: He looks to be back fully healthy. If he's lost a step, it didn't show up in OTA's. The middle of the defense and the ability to stop the run both just got a whole lot better for the Chiefs.

Josh Mauga: He's a better fit as the strong side linebacker. A weak side linebacker really needs to be a top tier athlete, not just a heady player. He could come into his own back at the strong side and really solidify the middle of the defense here.

Ramik Wilson: I try not to concern myself too much with draft positions. If you can find a guy who can do as good a job for less money, you take the less expensive option, anyway. But the Chiefs' inside linebacker corps was pretty bad last season after DJ went down, so it's hard not to project the rookie into the number three slot. The knock on him has been an inability to shed blocks and a lack of big plays. He's outstanding as a linebacker in pass coverage, however, and that's likely where he'll see his playing time this season - on passing downs.

D.J. Alexander: As above, I have a hard time seeing any of the veterans below him being ranked above him come week 1. He's arguably a reach in the 5th round, but he has flashed both ability and instinct to go with his measurable speed. I am concerned his frame is too narrow to support the sort of bulk you expect from an NFL linebacker. He might not be able to get much bigger than he is right now, unlike Wilson.


James-Michael Johnson: He's an above average player on special teams, but will need to be all that and more to make the team. He hasn't shown a lot playing as a true linebacker, and he has a tough road ahead of him to be the Chiefs' 9th linebacker.

Justin March: Lacks length but was very productive in the MAC. Playing to be more than a camp body and hopefully make a practice squad somewhere.

Outside Linebacker

Justin Houston: Best outside linebacker in the NFL. The end.

Tamba Hali: I think he's still the 8th best outside linebacker in the NFL. Questions?

Dee Ford: Has shown progress and earned some meaningful playing time the last half of last season. Time for him to take another step forward and let Tamba's aging legs enjoy a few more snaps off during the games.

Frank Zombo: Special teams standout whose play there secures his spot on the team and his number four ranking here. Hopefully, he won't have to see much playing time as a linebacker this season.

Josh Martin: His ability to play any linebacker position probably secures him the 9th linebacker spot. He still has upside and has flashed the ability actually play and succeed in the NFL.


Sage Harold: Has the length, size, and athletic ability you covet in an outside linebacker. If he progresses quickly from his small school experience to competing with NFL caliber talent, he'll be a nice addition to the practice squad. I'd like to find a spot for him on the 53, but I just can't seem to make that work. Zombo is more valuable to special teams than a 5th outside linebacker would be to the defense.

Desman Moses: Good on special teams, not so good as a linebacker. Will need to find a lesser tier linebacker group to continue his NFL career.


Sean Smith: Still the best corner on the team and would love to see him locked up for a longer stay if the money can be worked out. That said, cornerback has become a mercenary position in this league (Revis Island). You can buy one and plug him straight into your team. There's not as much "needs to be in this type of system" concerns that shrinks the market for other positions. Current salary cap considerations makes it really tough for the Chiefs to win a bidding war for him.

Phillip Gaines: Improved very rapidly over the course of 2014 considering how raw he was when he showed up for OTA's. Has the size, speed, hips, flexibility, and selective memory you look for in a cornerback. He can blossom into a very good one this year.

Marcus Peters: Because he's a rookie and because he has a lot to learn about grabbing receivers downfield, I see him starting the season as the nickel cornerback. Certainly, the team wants to seem him rapidly progress to challenge Phillip Gaines as the number two corner, a development that would greatly ease the impending loss of Sean Smith in 2016.

Jamell Fleming: He will start the season as a dime corner and then have to defend that role against the guy right below him on this list. Jamell, when healthy, has flashed very good cover skills and, as a dime cornerback, you have to be comfortable when you look at our corners in total.

Steven Nelson: He will be our sixth cornerback to start the season and be expected to challenge Jamell all season long for the dime role. What a luxury to have a guy with his talent as the sixth corner when you look at where the Chiefs were in 2013 at this position. Well done front office, well done.


DeVante Bausby: He has the speed, length, hips, and instincts to be a solid NFL cornerback. He needs to bulk up, however, as 180 pound corners are going to get shoved around by big NFL receivers. It'd be lovely to stash this guy on the practice squad. Odds of that? Less than even.

Marcus Cooper: Went from day one starter to forgotten man last year. Completely lost the confidence of his coaches. Needs a fresh start somewhere else, and might have a better career bulking up to play safety.

Deji Alatoye: First Ravens, then Chiefs practice squads. He's obviously not afraid of tough competition to make a team. Needs a less stacked (much less stacked) team to find a home.

Aaron Hester: Right height. Good body skills. Lacks anything like situational awareness. Tough position group for him to be with right now.


Husain Abdullah: Steady, smart, sufficiently athletic to play either safety in any scheme.

Ron Parker: Found a home at safety. Really needs to develop a safety's attitude toward hitting opposing players.

Sanders Commings: Fantastic athlete if he ever gets healthy. Can fly all over the field, good body control, will stick someone. Can he avoid injury this year? Could be over for him if he gets snake bit again this season.

Tyvon Branch: Another athlete playing safety who has a bad history with injuries. Is older than Commings, so has less upside, hence why he's at number four.


Kelcie McCray: If Commings or Branch gets hurt, McCray becomes the fourth safety. He's a good player and won't clear waivers.

Daniel Sorenson: If both Commings and Branch continue their injury habits, he's the fourth safety. The Chiefs would like to stash him back on the practice squad, but his chances of clearing waivers aren't great. Solid young player someone will want to continue to coach up.

Justin Cox: Has amazing speed, but lacks bulk, instincts, and production. Really should have shown a lot more in college than he did. Iffy candidate for the Chiefs' practice squad. Good candidate for someone else's.

Eric Berry: I'd love to believe Eric Berry will be able to rebound from intensive chemo treatments for Hodgkin's Lymphoma and be the disruptive, Pro Bowl performer he was before the diagnosis. This Chiefs defense with a fully healthy Eric Berry playing at a Pro Bowl level would be one for the ages. Realistically, though, chemo is about pumping poisons into your body on a regular basis. It saps you of strength, energy ... everything. If Eric Berry can go through that and show up for training camp looking like the Eric Berry we all remember, the NFL should officially permit him to forego a jersey number and just play with a big S on his chest. My heart wishes otherwise, but my head says he's on the NFI list this year.

Long Snapper

Andrew East: I know absolutely nothing about long snappers, and I challenge you to find film on one. So flip a coin here.

James Winchester: see above.


Dustin Colquitt: How long can the great one keep going before the big left leg starts to show some age? Hopefully it won't be in 2015.

Place Kicker

Cairo Santos: Young, inexpensive, steady enough, cool enough under duress, but not really a pro bowl caliber kicker. Of course, in this day and age, is buying a pro bowl kicker really where a team should spend its cap dollars? C is for Cairo, and he's good enough for me.

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