NFL teams must submit their final rosters by 3 p.m. Arrowhead Time on Saturday, and the last few spots on the 53-man roster are still up for grabs as the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Green Bay Packers in the final preseason game on Thursday night.
On this week’s game preview edition of the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory, we talked about three players on both sides of the football that need to have good performances Thursday night to earn one of the final spots.
Thompson has shown plenty of promise as a receiver, but to this point hasn’t shown enough on special teams. Taking a receiver spot at the bottom of the Chiefs depth chart requires trust on special teams—De’Anthony Thomas is back largely because of his ability in “the hidden third” of football. Thompson needs to make a play or two on special teams to help his cause. It may be a challenge to get Thompson through waivers, so the Chiefs will need to be able to trust him enough on special teams to use a roster spot for him.
Rookie Darwin Thompson has climbed the depth chart and appears to have set himself up for some playing time — while Hyde has plummeted. Hyde has historically shown capable hands, ability in pass protection and a physical running style — but he hasn’t shown much this preseason. He looks a little less explosive than he has in the past — and perhaps a little out of shape. This is his chance to prove himself worthy of keeping the job.
The Chiefs basically played last season with a 51-man roster. Safety Eric Berry was on the roster but only wound up playing in two regular-season games. The other roster spot was occupied by McKenzie — a defensive line convert who stayed inactive for the entire season. McKenzie shows flashes at times, but he’s still a work in progress. If he doesn’t show enough growth to keep developing, he may not make this football team.
O’Daniel was a top-100 selection in the NFL Draft last year. Rarely do you see a team move on so quickly from such an early pick, but it could happen to the Clemson product this Saturday. O’Daniel has been relegated to the second half of preseason games — a time usually reserved for undrafted free agents unlikely to make the team. He’s still played some on special teams, but he’s in jeopardy of being released.
Matt Lane has been impressed with Attaochu as a pass rusher in the preseason and sees him as an asset valuable enough to keep. Attaochu has been under the radar to Chiefs fans for most of the offseason, but he isn’t far removed from being a top-50 selection whose career was derailed by injuries in San Diego—his healthiest season in which he produced six sacks. There’s some ability there — and he’s still just 26 years old. Another productive week could make decision day a little more difficult for the Chiefs.
Hamilton has had stints on the active roster in parts of two seasons in the NFL. He is a big man that moves well for his size. Hamilton has put together a good camp and is pushing for an opportunity. If the Chiefs keep nine defensive linemen, he could earn a spot — depending on what the team does with Breeland Speaks. If the Chiefs believe Speaks could return late in the year, he will have to be on the initial 53-man roster before being placed on injured reserve; he can’t be returned from IR if he isn’t on the opening roster. But if they elect to end Speaks’ season by putting him on injured reserve before Saturday, Hamilton could grab a spot with a strong showing against the Packers.
Arrowhead Pride Laboratory
We went into further detail on these storylines — and listed players we’re looking forward to watching — on the game preview edition of the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory.