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What we know — and don’t know — about the Chiefs’ 90-man roster ahead of OTAs

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OTAs are underway, so how do the position battles shape up?

Kansas City Chiefs v Miami Dolphins Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

As OTAs get underway on Tuesday, let’s take a look at the full 90-man Kansas City Chiefs roster, and see how the position battles shake out at this point.

Center

  • Austin Reiter
  • Nick Allegretti
  • Jimmy Murray

What we know: Austin Reiter is the presumed starter.

What we don’t know: Where sixth-round pick Nick Allegretti fits in the picture. Based on statements the Chiefs have made, Allegretti could push Reiter for the starting job at center, but he could also be in the mix to become a starter at left guard and the backup center.

Guard

  • Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
  • Andrew Wylie
  • Cam Erving
  • Kahlil McKenzie
  • Zack Golditch

What we know: Duvernay-Tardif will clearly be the starter at right guard.

What we don’t know: Who will start at left guard? It is worth noting that Andrew Wylie was the starting left guard in Dwayne Bowe’s final play just last week after starting much of last year at right guard after Duvernay-Tardif’s injury. Erving was the starter for most of 2018, but was less than ideal in that role. The former first-round pick got a contract extension last season but could end up as a swing offensive lineman in 2019 after facing competition from Allegretti and McKenzie. Golditch is a wild card. The undrafted rookie has a great story and could impress the coaches.

Tackle

  • Eric Fisher
  • Mitchell Schwartz
  • Pace Murphy
  • Justin Senior
  • Ryan Hunter
  • Dino Boyd

What we know: Fisher and Schwartz will start in 2019.

What we don’t know: Just about everything else. The rest of these players are relatively unknown.

Tight End

  • Travis Kelce
  • Blake Bell
  • John Phillips
  • John Lovett
  • Deon Yelder
  • David Wells
  • Joe Fortson

What we know: Travis Kelce is the obvious starter.

What we don’t know: How long it will take Kelce to be 100% after offseason ankle surgery, and how many tight ends the Chiefs will keep. The team kept two at the beginning of 2018, but with Kelce’s unknown status, it could conceivably keep three in 2019. So six players are competing for one (or two) roster spots. Bell and Phillips have the NFL experience, but the Chiefs are clearly intrigued by the idea of converting Princeton quarterback John Lovett to tight end.

Running Back

  • Damien Williams
  • Anthony Sherman
  • Carlos Hyde
  • Darrel Williams
  • Darwin Thompson
  • Marcus Marshall
  • James Williams

What we know: Damien Williams performed well as the starting running back after Kareem Hunt’s release last season. He would be at least the presumed starter for 2019. Sherman faces no real competition as the fullback; his value on special teams and as a backup tight end will assure him a roster spot.

What we don’t know: Exactly how the Chiefs want to address the remaining running back positions. Do they want a solid, experienced backup like Hyde on the team, or will they want to focus on developing younger players with more upside? The answer to that question will determine Hyde’s fate.

Wide receiver

  • Tyreek Hill
  • Sammy Watkins
  • Demarcus Robinson
  • Gehrig Dieter
  • Marcus Kemp
  • Mecole Hardman
  • Byron Pringle
  • Felton Davis
  • Cody Thompson
  • Rashard Davis
  • Jamal Custis
  • Davon Grayson

What we know: Hill and Watkins will be the starters.

What we don’t know: How long of a suspension (if any) Hill will serve during the season. That will impact how many receivers the Chiefs carry on the roster to start the season. Also unknown: How will Hardman will be used as a receiver in his rookie season. Will he (as some suspect) be used primarily as a kick returner as a rookie? That could affect his position on the wideout depth chart; he could be behind Robinson, or behind Dieter, Kemp or Pringle — or in front of all four.

Quarterback

  • Patrick Mahomes
  • Chad Henne
  • Chase Litton
  • T.J. Linta
  • Kyle Shurmur

What we know: Mahomes will be the starter. Duh. Henne will be the backup. Duh.

What we don’t know: Who will take the third spot? Litton clearly has the inside track.

Defensive tackle

  • Chris Jones
  • Derrick Nnadi
  • Xavier Williams
  • Khalen Saunders
  • Justin Hamilton
  • Joey Ivie
  • Cavon Walker

What we know: Jones will clearly be one starter. Nnadi played well enough in 2018 to have the inside track to play beside Jones.

What we don’t know: How many roster spots will remain, and who will fill them. Williams is solid and has experience. Third-round pick Saunders should make the team. But that could be all the roster room that’s left for the interior of the defensive line.

Defensive end

  • Frank Clark
  • Emmanuel Ogbah
  • Alex Okafor
  • Breeland Speaks
  • Tanoh Kpassagnon

What we know: Clark is an obvious starter.

What we don’t know: It’s hard to know whether Okafor, Ogbah or Speaks will become a starter at the other end position — but whoever it is, it’s likely the others will back him up. That leaves Kpassagnon. He will be under pressure to perform up to the Chiefs’ expectations, and it seems likely there’s a question about whether he’ll make the final roster.

Linebacker

  • Damien Wilson
  • Jeremiah Attaochu
  • Anthony Hitchens
  • Reggie Ragland
  • Dorian O’Daniel
  • Darron Lee
  • Ben Niemann
  • Darius Harris
  • Gary Johnson
  • Raymond Davison
  • Robert McCray

What we know: Hitchens will make the roster and start.

What we don’t know: Just about anything else. We can be sure Hitchens will start because of his salary and 4-3 experience, but we can’t be sure how Spagnuolo will use him. No one else in the linebacker corps (with the possible exception of Wilson) has enough NFL experience in a 4-3 system for anyone to definitively say that he will start in a particular spot. Wilson, Hitchens and O’Daniel seem like they’d be the logical choices as Sam, Mike and Will linebackers, but with the Lee’s recent addition, we can’t be sure. Is Lee meant to compete (or even start) at Will, or is Spagnuolo planning to use him as a hybrid linebacker/safety in coverage?

Cornerback

  • Kendall Fuller
  • Bashaud Breeland
  • Charvarius Ward
  • Keith Reaser
  • Rashad Fenton
  • Tremon Smith
  • Mark Fields
  • Jalin Burrell
  • Herb Miller
  • D’Montre Wade
  • Dakari Monroe

What we know: Fuller will start. Breeland will likely start.

What we don’t know: Who will take the last three cornerback spots? Eight players will be competing for those. Ward showed well in limited snaps last season. Reaser is well-liked by the front office and was an AAF star. Fenton is the new sixth-round pick. Smith saw little play at his listed position while serving as a kick returner in 2018. The rest are all question marks.

Safety

  • Tyrann Mathieu
  • Juan Thornhill
  • Jordan Lucas
  • Daniel Sorensen
  • Armani Watts
  • Harold Jones-Quartey
  • Andrew Soroh

What we know: Mathieu will start.

What we don’t know: Lucas showed pretty well at safety in 2018, but will have to work hard to stay ahead of second-round pick Thornhill. Sorensen — like Sherman — could end up taking a roster spot on the basis of his special-teams value. Although I pegged Watts as the probable starter alongside Mathieu in my first read of the likely 53-man roster, I now believe he’s on the bubble. Jones-Quartey and Soroh are unknown quantities.

Specialists

  • Harrison Butker
  • James Winchester
  • Dustin Colquitt
  • Jack Fox

What we know: Butker and Winchester are locks; the Chiefs have brought in no competition.

What we don’t know: Whether Colquitt can beat out a rookie punter. Put your money on Colquitt — but don’t use the rent money.

Chiefs 90-Man Roster May 21

Name Pos Hgt Wgt Exp School
Nick Allegretti C 6-4 310 0 Illinois
Jeremiah Attaochu LB 6-3 252 6 Georgia Tech
Blake Bell TE 6-6 252 5 Oklahoma
Dino Boyd T 6-4 300 0 Cincinnati
Bashaud Breeland CB 5-11 195 6 Clemson
Jalin Burrell CB 6-0 195 0 New Mexico
Harrison Butker K 6-3 205 3 Georgia Tech
Frank Clark DE 6-3 265 5 Michigan
Dustin Colquitt P 6-3 210 15 Tennessee
Jamal Custis WR 6-5 213 0 Syracuse
Rashard Davis WR 5-9 175 2 James Madison
Felton Davis WR 6-3 211 0 Michigan State
Raymond Davison LB 6-2 235 1 California
Gehrig Dieter WR 6-2 208 2 Alabama
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif G 6-5 321 6 McGill (Canada)
Cam Erving G 6-5 313 5 Florida State
Rashad Fenton CB 5-11 193 0 South Carolina
Mark Fields CB 5-10 192 0 Clemson
Eric Fisher T 6-7 315 7 Central Michigan
Joe Fortson TE 6-4 226 0 Valdosta State
Jack Fox P 6-2 224 0 Rice
Kendall Fuller CB 5-11 198 4 Virginia Tech
Zack Golditch G 6-0 295 0 Colorado State
Davon Grayson WR 6-2 187 0 East Carolina
Justin Hamilton DT 6-2 315 4 Louisiana-Lafayette
Mecole Hardman WR 5-10 187 0 Georgia
Darius Harris LB 6-2 238 0 Middle Tennessee
Chad Henne QB 6-3 222 12 Michigan
Tyreek Hill WR 5-10 185 4 West Alabama
Anthony Hitchens LB 6-0 235 6 Iowa
Ryan Hunter T 6-5 322 1 Bowling Green
Carlos Hyde RB 6-0 229 6 Ohio State
Joey Ivie DT 6-3 295 1 Florida
Gary Johnson LB 6-0 226 0 Texas
Chris Jones DT 6-6 310 4 Mississippi State
Harold Jones-Quartey S 5-11 210 3 Findlay
Travis Kelce TE 6-5 260 7 Cincinnati
Marcus Kemp WR 6-4 210 2 Hawaii
Tanoh Kpassagnon DE 6-7 289 3 Villanova
Darron Lee LB 6-1 232 3 Ohio State
T.J. Linta QB 6-4 240 0 Wagner
Chase Litton QB 6-5 233 1 Marshall
John Lovett TE 6-3 225 0 Princeton
Jordan Lucas S 6-0 190 4 Penn State
Patrick Mahomes QB 6-3 230 3 Texas Tech
Marcus Marshall RB 5-10 200 0 James Madison
Tyrann Mathieu S 5-9 185 7 LSU
Robert McCray LB 6-2 280 1 Indiana
Kahlil McKenzie G 6-3 320 2 Tennessee
Herb Miller CB 6-2 190 0 Florida Atlantic
Dakari Monroe CB 5-11 191 0 San Jose State
Pace Murphy T 6-6 308 2 Northwestern State-Louisiana
Jimmy Murray C 6-5 304 2 Holy Cross
Ben Niemann LB 6-3 233 2 Iowa
Derrick Nnadi DT 6-1 317 2 Florida State
Dorian O'Daniel LB 6-1 223 2 Clemson
Emmanuel Ogbah DE 6-4 275 4 Oklahoma State
Alex Okafor DE 6-4 261 7 Texas
John Phillips TE 6-5 251 9 Virginia
Byron Pringle WR 6-2 205 2 Kansas State
Reggie Ragland LB 6-2 252 4 Alabama
Keith Reaser CB 6-0 190 3 Florida Atlantic
Austin Reiter C 6-3 300 4 South Florida
Demarcus Robinson WR 6-1 203 4 Florida
Khalen Saunders DT 6-0 324 0 Western Illinois
Mitchell Schwartz T 6-5 320 8 California
Justin Senior T 6-5 329 2 Mississippi State
Anthony Sherman FB 5-10 242 9 Connecticut
Kyle Shurmur QB 6-4 225 0 Vanderbilt
Tremon Smith CB 6-0 190 2 Central Arkansas
Daniel Sorensen S 6-2 208 6 Brigham Young
Andrew Soroh S 6-2 210 0 Florida Atlantic
Breeland Speaks DE 6-3 285 2 Mississippi
Darwin Thompson RB 5-8 200 0 Utah State
Cody Thompson WR 6-2 205 0 Toledo
Juan Thornhill S 6-0 205 0 Virginia
D'Montre Wade CB 6-0 200 1 Murray State
Cavon Walker DT 6-2 278 1 Maryland
Charvarius Ward CB 6-1 200 2 Middle Tennessee State
Sammy Watkins WR 6-1 211 6 Clemson
Armani Watts S 5-11 205 2 Texas A&M
David Wells TE 6-6 260 1 San Diego State
Xavier Williams DT 6-2 309 5 Northern Iowa
James Williams RB 6-0 205 0 Washington State
Darrel Williams RB 6-1 229 2 LSU
Damien Williams RB 5-11 224 6 Oklahoma
Damien Wilson LB 6-0 245 5 Minnesota
James Winchester LS 6-3 240 5 Oklahoma
Andrew Wylie G 6-6 309 2 Eastern Michigan
Deon Yelder TE 6-4 255 2 Western Kentucky