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Meet the Chiefs’ initial practice squad for the 2021 season

Kansas City is bringing back some preseason favorites — and introducing a few new players.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs have filled their practice squad, signing 16 players ahead of Sunday’s Week 1 matchup with the Cleveland Browns.

On July 23, the NFL confirmed that 2020 practice squad rules created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic would roll over into the 2021 season. Under these rules, teams can sign up to 16 players to their practice squads. In any week, they may also protect up to four players from being signed to another team during that week — though the Chiefs used this power only sparingly in 2020. Teams can elevate two practice-squad players to their roster for a single game prior to 3 p.m. Arrowhead Time the day before the game — and if needed as a replacement due to COVID-19, as late as 90 minutes prior to the game.

Let’s meet the 16 players who are practicing with the team this week in preparation for the season opener.

Zayne Anderson • DB • 6-2 • 206 pounds

Anderson signed with the Chiefs out of BYU following the 2021 NFL Draft. Anderson played in all three Chiefs preseason games, totaling four solo tackles after playing 76 total defensive snaps and 18 snaps on special teams.

Dicaprio Bootle • DB • 5-10 • 180 pounds

Bootle joined the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent from Nebraska. The former Cornhusker played 96 defensive snaps in the preseason, recording a 10-yard sack of Arizona Cardinals quarterback Chris Streveler. Bootle was also in on 21 special-teams snaps during the preseason.

Cortez Broughton • DT • 6-2 • 293 pounds

Broughton was a 2019 seventh-round pick for the Los Angeles Chargers. Over the past two seasons, the former Cincinnati Bearcat appeared in 11 games for Los Angeles, totaling nine combined tackles and a pass defensed. Broughton appeared in two preseason games for the Chargers, seeing action on a combined 69 defensive snaps.

Shakur Brown • DB • 5-10 • 190 pounds

After two years at Michigan State, Brown signed as an undrafted free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers this spring. Including the Hall of Fame game, Brown appeared in four preseason games with the Steelers. He had 54 defensive snaps and 33 special-teams snaps before being waived in the final round of roster cuts.

Shane Buechele • QB • 6-0 • 210 pounds

The Chiefs reportedly guaranteed over $160,000 to Buechele when they signed him in undrafted free agency, implying an interest in keeping him in the system even if he wasn’t on the active roster. During the preseason, the former SMU Mustang (and Texas Longhorn) completed 37 of 55 passes for 422 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Omari Cobb • LB • 6-4 • 223 pounds

Cobb signed with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent out of Marshall in 2020, spending the season on the Kansas City practice squad. Cobb was elevated for Week 15, recording a solo tackle on 10 defensive snaps against the Atlanta Falcons. He finished the preseason with 43 defensive and 17 special-teams snaps — including a sack of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance.

Gehrig Dieter • WR • 6-3 • 207 pounds

Dieter — who played at Bowling Green and Alabama — has been a mainstay on the Chiefs practice squad since 2017. Dieter played 34 snaps on offense and 15 on special teams this preseason, catching a pass for 18 yards and returning two punts for 23 yards. In ten career regular-season games, Dieter has caught two passes for 32 yards — plus another 11-yard catch in a 2019 playoff game.

Austin Edwards • DE • 6-5 • 280 pounds

The Chiefs signed Edwards — who spent 2020 in the Atlanta Falcons system — to their practice squad following the regular season. The second-year Ferris State product played extensively in the preseason, totaling over 100 snaps on defense and making a tackle for loss against the Minnesota Vikings.

Maurice Ffrench • WR • 5-11 • 200 pounds

Ffrench signed with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent from Pittsburgh in 2020. Ffrench played 27 offensive and 11 special teams snaps this preseason, catching three passes for 13 yards and returning a kickoff for 26 yards.

Derrick Gore • RB • 5-10 • 210 pounds

Formerly of Alabama and Louisiana-Monroe, Gore finished the preseason with 18 rushing attempts for 86 yards. He also caught six passes for 82 yards — including a 56-yard touchdown against the Vikings.

Demone Harris • DE • 6-4 • 272 pounds

Harris — undrafted out of the University of Buffalo in 2018 — originally signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has appeared in five games for Kansas City during the past two seasons, with four tackles, two tackles for loss and a quarterback hit. In 2020, Harris was active for all three playoff games — although he did not play in Super Bowl LIV. Harris played 73 defensive snaps in the preseason.

Devon Key • DB • 6-0 • 208 pounds

Key — a 2021 undrafted free agent from Western Kentucky — played 67 defensive snaps during the preseason, with another 15 snaps on special teams. He finished the preseason with five solo tackles.

Cornell Powell • WR • 6-0 • 205 pounds

The Chiefs drafted Powell in the fifth round of the 2021 draft, following a breakout redshirt senior season at Clemson. Powell finished the preseason with four receptions for 28 yards.

Christian Rozeboom • LB • 6-2 • 230 pounds

Rozeboom — a 2020 undrafted free agent signed from South Dakota State by the Los Angeles Rams — finished the preseason with eight combined tackles and an interception of Denver Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien. For the Rams, he was in on 77 preseason defensive snaps and 37 special-teams snaps.

Prince Tega Wanogho • OT • 6-5 • 306 pounds

Wanogho was a 2020 sixth-round pick for the Philadelphia Eagles, spending the season on their practice squad. The Chiefs signed the former Auburn Tiger to their practice squad following the conclusion of the regular season. Wanogho played 111 offensive snaps for the Chiefs this preseason.

Darryl Williams • C • 6-2 • 304 pounds

In 2020, Williams signed with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi State. He then spent all of last season on the Chiefs practice squad. This preseason, Williams was on the field for 79 offensive snaps — frequently seeing time late in the second half.

While congratulations and best wishes are in order for these players, it is important to remember that the practice squad will constantly be in flux. The primary responsibility of the unit is to help the team prepare for upcoming games — not to simply be a farm system. As the team prepares for its upcoming opponents, practice needs will change — so expect players to be added and dropped throughout the season.

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