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Which Chiefs will make the final 53-man roster?

With training camp now behind us, it’s time to make our best guess.

Kansas City Chiefs v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

I’ve put this list together using roster size information compiled by Gary McKenzie, and with additional input from the whole AP staff.

Offense (25 players)


  • Locks: Patrick Mahomes, Chad Henne
  • On the bubble: Matt McGloin, Chase Litton
  • Reid’s average: 3

Prediction (3): Mahomes, Henne, Litton

It’s Lit’. Chase has been making NFL throws like this one throughout the preseason.

Running Back:

  • Locks: Kareem Hunt, Spencer Ware, Damien Williams
  • On the bubble: Charcandrick West, Kerwynn Williams, Darrel Williams, Ray Lawry
  • Reid’s average: 4.4 — including fullback

Prediction (4): Hunt, Ware, Damien Williams, Darrel Williams

Any of us that were holding off on putting Darrel on the 53 were basically sold by the end of this play against Atlanta:


  • Locks: Anthony Sherman
  • On the bubble: Algernon Brown

Prediction (1): Sherman

The Sausage returns for leadership and special teams.

Tight End:

  • Locks: Travis Kelce, Demetrius Harris
  • On the bubble: Alex Ellis, Tim Wright, Jace Amaro
  • Reid’s average: 3.2

Prediction (3): Kelce, Harris (Amaro), Ellis

Ellis has impressed us in each camp practice and each preseason game with catches like this one. Consistency might be what gets him on the 53. Harris will serve a suspension in Week 1. Expect Amaro to take his place until Week 2.

Wide receiver:

  • Locks: Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Chris Conley, Demarcus Robinson
  • On the bubble: Jehu Chesson, De’Anthony Thomas, Marcus Kemp, Gehrig Dieter, Daniel Braverman, Byron Pringle, Elijah Marks, Jordan Smallwood, Davon Grayson, Blake Mack, Josh Crockett
  • Reid’s average: 6

Prediction (6): Hill, Watkins, Conley, Robinson, Thomas, Dieter

I think it’ll come down to special teams for the last spot, so it’s Kemp, Dieter or Chesson. Gehrig Dieter is the one to watch in the final two preseason games. He had this touchdown against Atlanta, but it’s the fact that he’s working as the personal protector on punts — and getting downfield in coverage — that is the best sign he might make the squad.

Offensive line:

  • Locks: Eric Fisher, Cameron Erving, Mitch Morse, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Mitchell Schwartz,
  • On the bubble: Parker Ehinger, Bryan Witzmann, , Kahlil McKenzie, Andrew Wylie, Jordan Devey, Ryan Hunter, Jimmy Murray, Bentley Spain, Ethan Cooper
  • Reid’s average: 8.4

Prediction (8): Fisher, Erving, Morse, Duvernay-Tardif, Schwartz, Wylie, Witzmann, McKenzie

Ehinger is a tough cut, but I still think he could make it — and they carry nine offensive linemen — but the roster numbers are tight. With the rise of Andrew Wylie — and the constant shuffling of the depth chart — someone is going to be the odd man out.

Defense (25 players)

Defensive line:

  • Locks: Chris Jones, Xavier Williams, Allen Bailey, Jarvis Jenkins, Derrick Nnadi
  • On the bubble: Justin Hamilton, Dee Liner, T.Y. McGill, Mike Purcell, Stefan Charles
  • Reid’s average: 6.4

Prediction (5): Jones, Williams, Nnadi, Bailey, Jenkins

We went light on the defensive line, given that Speaks and Tanoh can slide inside at times. Jarvis Jenkins really stood out against Atlanta, reminding us why he’s the fifth lineman.

Outside linebacker:

  • Locks: Justin Houston, Breeland Speaks, Tanoh Kpassagnon, Dee Ford
  • On the bubble: Frank Zombo, Tyrone Holmes, Robert McCray
  • Reid’s average: 4.8

Prediction (5): Houston, Speaks, Tanoh, Ford, Zombo

Fans really want to cut Zombo, but neither Holmes or McCray has done enough to justify it. Yet.

Inside linebacker:

  • Locks: Reggie Ragland, Anthony Hitchens, Dorian O’Daniel
  • On the bubble: Ukeme Eligwe, Terrance Smith, Raymond Davison, Ben Niemann, Otha Peters
  • Reid’s average: 4.2

Prediction (5): Ragland, Hitchens, O’Daniel, Eligwe, Niemann

I’m finally a believer on Niemann, but not because of the pick six, or the move up on the depth chart. It’s because he got playing time with the ones this week, and showed the ability to fight through blocks, the instincts to read and react quickly, and the overall aggression you want to see from a linebacker wearing #56.


  • Locks: Kendall Fuller, Steven Nelson, David Amerson, Tremon Smith, Orlando Scandrick
  • On the bubble: Will Redmond, Keith Reaser, Arrion Springs, D’Montre Wade, Dorleant Makinton, Step Durham
  • Reid’s average: 5

Prediction (6): Fuller, Nelson, Amerson, Smith, Springs, Scandrick

Arrion Springs and Tremon Smith have been really impressive — enough so that it’s a little surprising to see the Chiefs go out and get Scandrick. It will be interesting to see how this group shakes out.


  • Locks: Eric Berry, Armani Watts, Daniel Sorensen, Eric Murray
  • On the bubble: Leon McQuay, Jordan Sterns
  • Reid’s average: 4.6

Prediction (4): Berry, Watts, Murray, Sorensen [McQuay]

Sorensen is injured and is expected to return a few weeks into the season. Until then, expect McQuay to be on the roster in his place. This might be a place where the team still really needs to add a player. Reid’s comments after the Atlanta game helped confirm the team likes the potential in Leon McQuay: “He’s a gifted player, and that was very valuable time for him. He just needs to play.” But it’s possible McQuay won’t stay on the active roster for long.

Special teams (3 players)


Prediction (1): Harrison Butker

Long Snapper:

Prediction (1): James Winchester


Prediction (1): Dustin Colquitt

Dave Toub’s comments confirmed that we already know the final depth chart for the kickers: “We’re so confident in the guys we have we want them to get as many reps,” Toub said. “And at the end of the day, is anybody going to come in here and beat Dustin Colquitt? Is anybody going to beat Harrison Butker?”

Outside the 53

Practice Squad:

Makinton Dorleant, Step Durham, Robert McCray, Byron Pringle, Raymond Davison, Dee Liner, Ryan Hunter, Blake Mack

Last Five ON:

These guys make the initial roster, but they shouldn’t get too comfortable, as roster moves might still push them off.

De’Anthony Thomas, Gehrig Dieter, Jace Amaro, Alex Ellis, Ben Niemann

Last Five OFF:

These guys just miss the cut, but that could easily change.

Parker Ehinger, Justin Hamilton, Marcus Kemp, Charcandrick West, Kerwynn Williams

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