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Final Chiefs’ 53-man roster projection

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One more shot at the 53-man roster before the Chiefs announce the official roster Saturday

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Atlanta Falcons Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the final preseason game has ended, there’s nothing left but the cruelest weekend in the NFL season: the cutdown to the initial 53-man roster.

Some will make the roster unexpectedly, some cuts will happen that we should have seen coming and some guys will make the initial 53 only to get cut when the Chiefs sign or trade for another team’s unwanted players. That’s why it’s the initial 53 and not the final 53.

But, it is the final prediction from the staff here at Arrowhead Pride. As with the first edition, I’ve put this list together using roster size information compiled by Gary McKenzie and with additional input from the whole AP staff.


Offense (26 players)


Quarterback:

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

Prediction (3): Mahomes, Henne, Litton

It’s still Lit’. Everyone outside of 1 Arrowhead Drive has basically agreed that Chase Litton has earned the No. 3 quarterback job. Will the Chiefs’ brass agree?

Running Back:

  • Locks: Kareem Hunt, Spencer Ware, Damien Williams
  • On the bubble: Kerwynn Williams, Darrel Williams, Ray Lawry
  • Reid’s average: 3.4

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

Darrel looks like a lock at this point, and it would be very surprising if he isn’t on the roster or practice squad. The only question is, “How many Williams(es) do they keep?”

Fullback:

  • Locks: Anthony Sherman
  • On the bubble: Algernon Brown
  • Reid’s average: 1

Prediction (1): Sherman

The Sausage returns for leadership and special teams reasons.

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

Harris will serve a suspension in Week 1. Expect Amaro to take his place until Week 2, Ellis looks like the No. 3.

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 (7): Hill, Watkins, Conley, Robinson, Thomas, Dieter, Kemp

I think it’ll come down to special teams for the last couple of spots, so it’s DAT, Kemp and Dieter. Pringle certainly made his best case for a job against Green Bay, but will it be enough?

Offensive line:

  • Locks: Eric Fisher, Cameron Erving, Mitch Morse, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Mitchell Schwartz,
  • On the bubble: 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

The big story is still the left guard position and the depth here. Erving has been the starting LG all preseason, but don’t count out Andrew Wylie, who could not only make the roster, but could also quietly challenge for playing time. Prior to Thursday’s game, the news broke of Parker Ehinger being traded to Dallas for cornerback Charvarius Ward. We had Ehinger as the odd man out in our prior prediction post, and it’s clear he wasn’t going to make the roster, so Brett Veach traded him for another young defender.


Defense (24 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 and Justin Hamilton have been very good, along with T.Y.McGill—could one of them push Allen Bailey and his substantial contract off the roster?

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 (4): Houston, Speaks, Tanoh, Ford

Fans want to cut Zombo, and we doubt Toub does, but there’s a new four-man rotation at OLB, and Zombo doesn’t really fit.

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

Niemann has done everything possible to win a roster spot, and we predict that he is rewarded after a tremendous offseason. Smith is the odd man out.

Cornerback:

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

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

After a frustrating preseason, David Amerson might just find himself on the roster bubble. He’s struggled each week, and the Chiefs have added two corners in the last 11 days, clearly showing they aren’t content with the position. We’ll predict they go with upside over experience and keep three rookie corners.

Safety:

  • 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 an area in which the team still really needs to add a player.


Special teams (3 players)


Placekicker:

Prediction (1): Harrison Butker

Long Snapper:

Prediction (1): James Winchester

Punter:

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, Robert McCray, Byron Pringle, Raymond Davison, Dee Liner, Ryan Hunter, Blake Mack, T.Y. McGill, D’Montre Wade, Jordan Sterns

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, Arrion Springs

Last Five OFF:

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

Jordan Devey, Justin Hamilton, Jehu Chesson, T.Y. McGill, Frank Zombo