On the Wednesday edition of the AP Laboratory, we broke down our projections for the entire 53-man roster. Along the way, we stopped to profile certain positions with clusters of players fighting for one or two roster spots.
Here are some key bubbles to monitor on Saturday:
Wide receiver No. 6
We anticipate the Chiefs will keep six receivers, and it’s likely that Gehrig Dieter, Marcus Kemp and Jody Fortson are competing for that final spot. Five receivers — Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Demarcus Robinson, Mecole Hardman and Byron Pringle — are locks or near locks for the roster.
That potential sixth receiver is up for grabs. Dieter has the most experience in the offense, Kemp is a favorite of special teams coach Dave Toub and Fortson has had a strong showing a camp by all indications. It’s going to be interesting to see what player ultimately prevails. Keep an eye on return specialist Justice Shelton-Mosely as a dark horse candidate.
Tight end No. 3
Andy Reid has historically kept three tight ends on his roster. With tight numbers at other positions, there could be an exception made. Reid had played stretches of a season with only three tight ends. Perhaps the Chiefs could take a seventh wide receiver if they only keep two tight ends — Travis Kelce and Nick Keizer.
Ricky Seals-Jones and Deon Yelder are the candidates for the third spot. Yelder has missed most of camp due to injury and Seals-Jones hasn’t shown much on special teams to this point — a likely important factor in his roster fate as a third tight end.
EDGE No. 5 and (possibly) No. 6
We have the Chiefs keeping six EDGE players at one of their deepest positions on the roster. We see Frank Clark, Tanoh Kpassagnon, Alex Okafor and Mike Danna as locks for Week 1.
That leaves Breeland Speaks, Taco Charlton, Demone Harris and Tim Ward left for one or two spots. The benefit of keeping Speaks or Harris is club control beyond 2020. Harris has also played meaningful snaps in Steve Spagnuolo’s defense. Speaks came into camp in the best shape of his young career in a key season for his development and longevity in the NFL. Charlton has the highest upside of all of these players. It’s likely the Chiefs will be able to protect Ward on the practice squad this season without any preseason snaps for teams to base a decision on. Ward has benefitted significantly from an NFL weight program and looks the part of a Spagnuolo defensive end.
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