clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Roster Ratings: Completing the Roster

Breaking down Kansas City’s roster piece by piece.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NFL: AFC Championship-Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

In this series, we’re looking at 60 players who have a chance to make the Kansas City Chiefs’ 53-man roster for 2023, figuring out whether they’re locks or on the bubble.

We’re organizing them into eight categories: roster cornerstones, quality starters, adequate starters, replacement-level players, quality depth players, non-roster players, rookies and those whose evaluations are incomplete.

The first four articles of this series focused on the 5 roster cornerstones, 9 quality starters, 13 adequate starters and other depth pieces. Now, let’s consider the team’s replacement level and quality depth players.

Non-Roster Caliber Players

A non-roster player means they are likely a practice squad level player (or worse). They may hold some special teams value — but their lack of contributions on offense or defense makes them very replaceable. Most of the names listed above should be unsurprising. Players like defensive ends Joshua Kaindoh or Malik Herring have shown potential, but it’s never translated on the field. Defensive backs DiCaprio Bootle and Nazeeh Johnson have been special teams contributors. During the offseason program, Chiefs assistant coach and special teams coordinator Dave Toub went as far as to call safety Nazeeh Johnson “one of the best gunners in the league” referring to his ability to cover punts.

NFL: Super Bowl LVII-Kansas City Chiefs vs Philadelphia Eagles Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs have always placed a large emphasis on special teams when it comes to roster construction. However, as the league further limits the impact of special teams it’s hard to argue keeping players on the roster who only contribute there.

Tackle Prince Tega-Wanogho has filled in for a few snaps when needed. He’s been an average back up, but with the arrival of rookie Wayna Morris may cost him his role with the Chiefs.

Kansas City boasts notable wide receiver projects, such as John Ross, Cornell Powell and Ihmir Smith-Marsette. All have intriguing traits — but none have never shown enough to consistently be active on game day. The depth of the Chiefs receiver core creates an uphill battle for them to make the roster.

Incomplete Evaluations

Here we find players that we just don’t have enough information on to place in a category. Wide receiver Skyy Moore is an obvious incomplete evaluation after playing behind JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman in his first season. He now has a clearer path to playing time and has been the talk of mini-camp. Receiver Justyn Ross might be a folk tale at this point — similar to Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster — because few have actually seen him play football. However, the legend of his ability just grows and grows.

NFL: AFC Divisional Round-Jacksonville Jaguars at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Defenders Leo Chenal and Bryan Cook both showed flashes in limited roles in 2022 — and both should compete for even more snaps in 2023. Chenal, however, must compete with a very talented linebacking room. After playing no snaps in 2022, Darrian Kinnard has fully transitioned to guard and appears firmly behind Nick Allegretti as the back up interior offensive linemen per The Athletic’s Nate Taylor. Kinnard still has time to develop into quality depth.

Roughly half of the 2022 rookie class remains an incomplete evaluation. In spite of draft grades, we don’t truly know the impact of a draft class until 2-3 years after. By any standard, however, the 2022 draft class is off to a VERY good start.

Rookies

There’s been plenty of analysis on the rookies at this point. They sit in their own bucket because we’ve yet to see anything from them besides running in shorts and a helmet. There’s undeniable upside in the 2023 class, but certain players — such as Rashee Rice, BJ Thompson, and Wayna Morris — will likely find themselves in the “incomplete evaluation” bucket next season as their path to playing time may be limited.

Conclusion

Overall, the Chiefs continue to be a championship level roster because of the sheer amount of players they have in the top three categories. What’s even more exciting, however, is how many young players are primed to ascend this year. The youth of the 2022 and 2023 and the sheer size of the classes (17 players) is so encouraging for the future of the roster. Shrewd front office moves — most notably the Tyreek Hill trade — continue to pay dividends.

NEW: Join Arrowhead Pride Premier

If you love Arrowhead Pride, you won’t want to miss Pete Sweeney in your inbox each week as he delivers deep analysis and insights on the Chiefs' path to the Super Bowl.