Analysis Opinion

Way-too-early Chiefs 55-man roster projection

With the 2020 NFL Draft rapping up this past Saturday, and the majority of big free agents off the board each NFL teams 2020 roster is starting to take form. Here is a very early look at the Chiefs updated 55-man roster, as well as some candidates to make the practice squad.

Offense: 26 Total Players

Quarterbacks (3): Patrick Mahomes, Chad Henne, Jordan Ta’amu

With the Chiefs not deciding to resign Matt Moore and releasing Kyle Shurmur, it opens up a bit of speculation about who will be backing up Patrick Mahomes this following season. Henne will likely get the nod but it will be interesting to see how Ta’amu performs leading up to the regular season.

Running Backs (4): Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Damien Williams, Darwin Thompson, Darell Williams

The Chiefs got stronger at running back via the draft, and Edwards-Helaire is primed to lead the team in carries among the core of backs. We should still expect to see a healthy dose of Damien Williams, but look for carries to decrease between Darwin Thompson and Darrell Williams. De’andre Washington isn’t on this initial roster breakdown but he will be worth keeping an eye on.

Full Back (1): Anthony Sherman

After paving the way for a Super Bowl sealing touchdown the Sausage is back once more in 2020.

Tight Ends (3): Travis Kelce, Deon Yelder, Ricky Seals- Jones

Travis Kelce was dominant last year and much should be the same upcoming. Yelder and Seals-Jones are in an interesting duo of backups trying to make the roster. Yelder returns back to the Chiefs for what will be his third season in KC, and for the first time in his career has a real chance to earn the backup tight end spot. While Yelder is more of a classic tight end, Seals-Jones brings in athletic ability and receiving. It will be interesting to see how Andy Reid incorporates each tight end’s skill set into the play design.

Wide Receivers (6): Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, Byron Pringle, Jody Fortson

With Watkins taking a pay cut to stay in town and Robinson resigning a one year deal, the Legion of Zoom is back! Mecole Hardman will be looking to improve upon an impressive rookie season, and playing alongside 2019 Pro-Bowler, Tyreek Hill, should help. Look for some growth in Byron Pringle’s game as he becomes a bigger factor in the offense. After his redshirt season in 2019, it will be highly likely that Jody Fortson will become a member of the active roster and provide the Chiefs with a bigger body with a different skill set.

Offensive Line (9): Mitch Schwartz, Eric Fisher, Lucas Niang, LDT, Austin Reiter, Mike Remmers, Andrew Wylie, Nick Allegretti, Martinas Rankin

The Chiefs are set at tackle for the present and the future. Mitch Schwartz, and Eric Fisher will continue to bookend for the Chiefs while rookie, Lucas Niang, will look to ready himself for the future. While tackle is a position of clarity, the makeup of the interior gets a little murky. After working out a restructured contract, it is safe to say LDT will be back and we should also expect Austin Reiter to return. Mike Remmers was the only notable addition to the team during free agency and he will take on the role of a swing player for the team, having experience at tackle and guard. But, don’t be surprised to see him in a starting spot if he is able to earn the job. Andrew Wylie had a good start to the 2019 season, but an ankle injury hampered his play as he was eventually replaced by the now-departed Stephen Wisnewski. If Martinas Rankin can return to form he will likely be in the competition with Wylie, Remmers, and LDT for the starting guard positions. Former 7th round Nick Allegretti has a year under his belt but expect to see him still in a backup roll.

Defense: 26 Total Players

Defensive Line (9): Frank Clark, Chris Jones, Derrick Nnadi, Mike Pennel, Alex Okafor, Tanho Kpassagnon, Khalen Saunders, Michael Danna, Tim Ward

The Chiefs are loaded with talent across the defensive line, particularly on the inside. Barring unforeseen circumstances, Chris Jones looks like he will be a Chief once more. Derrick Nnadi, Mike Pennel, and Khalen Saunders should also look for more success playing the interior together. Frank Clark is back after a postseason run for the ages and alongside Alex Okafor, they should provide a good rush from the end position. After a good second half to 2019, Kpass should be back again in a depth spot and look for rookie, Michael Danna, to get some time also. With the Chief’s interior set, Tim Ward will beat out Breeland Speaks for the final spot on the DL due to his ability to play the edge. Speaks has shown little during his time in KC and is not what the Chiefs will be looking for as far as a rusher goes. Look for Ward to be used in pass rush downs or sub-packages.

Line Backer’s (5): Anthony Hitchens, Damien Wilson, Willie Gay Jr., Ben Niemann, Dorian O’Daniel

The Chiefs’ LBs have struggled in the past to cover RBs out of the backfield as well as play sound in pass coverage. By drafting Willie Gay Jr., they will improve as a group by having two solid LBs to play the middle with Hitchens and Wilson and also be able to have that cover backer and sideline runner with Gay. Ben Nieman and Dorian O’Daniel will be back in reserve rolls and mainly used as specialists, but I would expect to see Nieman in on sub-packages.

Defensive Backs (12): Tyrann Mathieu, Juan Thornhill, Dan Sorensen, Armani Watts, Charvarious Ward, Bashaud Breeland, Rashad Fenton, L’Jarius Sneed, Bopete Keyes, Antonio Hamilton, Lavert Hill, Javaris Davis

Expect to see the Chiefs make use of the extra two men on the active roster to help bolster their secondary. The Chiefs are set at safety with key contributors like All-Pro Tyrann Mathieu, All-Rookie Juan Thornhill, and playoff hero, Dan Sorensen, all returning. Armani Watts should also provide a nice amount of depth at the position. Even with legal allegations pending, expect to see Bashaud Breeland remain a member of the team even with him missing four games due to suspension. Charvarius Ward will look to continue to grow his game, and I expect to see Rashad Fenton playing in the slot and Nickle packages much as we saw toward the end of 2019. Draft picks L’Jarius Sneed and Bopete Keyes should also look to make the active roster given the early need at CB due to the Breeland situation. Antonio Hamilton will crack the roster due to his special team’s ability, but also look for rookie UDFA’s Lavert Hill and Javaris Davis to make the roster as depth pieces. Hill was seen as a player that could have gone as early as round five and Davis was seen as one of the top players still left after the draft.

Specialists: 3 Total Players

Harrison Butker, James Winchester, Tyler Newsome

Harrison Butker and James Winchester will be back once more in KC, but with the release of Dustin Colquitt earlier this week, look for a battle for punter to ensue. Nobody likes punting but if it come down to it, look for Tyler Newsome to become the new kid on the block.

Practice Squad: (12) John Lovett, Darryl Williams, Kalija Lipscomb, Nick Keizer, Aleva Hifo, Alex Brown, Chris Lammons, Tommy Townsend, Elijah Mcguire, Greg Senat, Mike Weber, Darius Harris.

Fielding a practice squad is a long time coming, and I expect it to be much different. Here is an early look comprised of current Chiefs. John Lovett seems to be the FB in waiting but he could also easily be poached. Darryl Williams and Kalija Lipscomb received big contracts for UFDAs, so it is clear the Chiefs want them around. I expect Lipscomb to battle with Fortson for the last WR spot and Williams to be in competition with Allegretti for the backup center job. Each will have a chance to make the active 55. Rookie, Tommy Townsend, should be kept around just in case a change is needed at the punter spot. Darius Harris, Alex Brown, and Chris Lammons will all be defensive reserves but could be propelled to the action if needed. Aleva Hifo is an intriguing prospect and has big-play potential. Nick Keizer could be back as a depth piece once again in 2020. A team can never have too many tackles and Greg Senat will be back from injured reserve to be the just-in-case OT. That leaves Mike Weber and Elijah Mcguire to man the scout reps at RB. Each has some good ability but the Chiefs RB depth is strong right now.

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