On Wednesday’s mailbag edition of Arrowhead Pride’s Out of Structure podcast, Matt Stagner and I examined the Kansas City Chiefs’ first team-released, unofficial depth chart.
We prefaced the discussion by acknowledging how unofficial it is — but it led to good conversations about the current makeup of the roster.
I highlighted four of our takeaways from the episode.
1. The depth at defensive end
With Chris Jones listed as a defensive end, the position group suddenly looks like it is stacked — on paper, at least — with quality depth. Jones and Frank Clark are the starters; behind them, it’s Alex Okafor, Mike Danna, Taco Charlton and Joshua Kaindoh. Week 17 standout Tim Ward is the seventh player, which means he may not make the team.
Not having room for a young player — especially one who fits the defense like Ward does — is a hard pill to swallow. But it shows there are a lot of players available at a position that needs as many as possible.
2. Lucas Niang starting at right tackle
In Mike Remmers’ injury-induced absence, (still) rookie Lucas Niang has been running with the first-team offense — along with veteran Andrew Wylie. Instead of keeping Remmers at the starter on the depth chart, they have listed Niang there — with Remmers as the backup left tackle.
Remmers was taking a vast majority of the first-team repetitions when he was healthy — so even as he continues to recover, it’s easy to slot him there on the depth chart. That said, Remmers is unlikely to play in the first preseason game — so this five-man unit just might be the one that will first take the field on Saturday.
3. Marcus Kemp over Cornell Powell
On the chart, Powell appears to be listed before Kemp — which wouldn’t have surprised anyone before training camp started. At camp, however, Kemp has clearly been the better, more consistent playmaker.
Kemp has been running with the first and second-team offenses, making toe-tapping catches, contested grabs and long scoring receptions in various situations. Powell has received hardly any playing time with the first-team offense — and hasn’t truly stood out with the reserve units, either.
We’ll see how they play in the preseason — but it appears that when the Chiefs need that fifth wide receiver, Kemp will be in the game over Powell.
4. The defensive backs
It was odd to see Deandre Baker in the third cornerback column — mainly because he has rotated with Mike Hughes at the starting cornerback spot in the nickel subpackage of the first-team defense. Players like Chris Lammons and BoPete Keyes — neither of whom has had substantive time with the first-team defense — are in the second column.
Also, it’s significant — and unsurprising — that undrafted rookie Devon Key is listed as a second-column safety over veterans Armani Watts and Will Parks. Throughout camp, Key has been firmly on the second-team defense — and has also rotated into the first-team unit. If the team wants to keep five safeties — as they have in the past — only one of Watts and Parks appears to have a chance to make the team. If the Chiefs only keep four, it will be Key taking the last spot.
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