As mandatory team mini camp wraps up, here is an initial at what the 53-man roster could look like.
Quarterback (2): Patrick Mahomes, Chad Henne
No real surprises in this situation. Mahomes is the best player in the world, and Chad Henne has been more than capable as a backup. He is familiar with the system and is trusted by Andy Reid.
Running Back (3): Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darrell Williams, Jerick McKinnon
With the revamped offensive line this should be a breakout year for Helaire, we will get to see his full potential put to use in both the run game, as well as the passing attack. Williams has been a solid backup, and has the trust of the team to protect Mahomes when in the game. McKinnon could add some explosion and big play capability out of the backfield.
Fullback (1): Michael Burton
Even though the Chiefs have gone away from using a fullback in their offense, Andy Reid will still keep one on the roster for short-yardage situations. Burton was a fan favorite in New Orleans and should take over Anthony Sherman’s role.
Tight End (3) : Travis Kelce, Noah Gray, Blake Bell
By drafting Noah Gray, the Chiefs may have found a back up to Travis Kelce. Blake Bell should make the roster, and will fill back in nicely as a blocking TE, much like he did in 2019. Having the combination of Gray and Bell will allow the Chiefs to spell Kelce at times, allowing him to stay fresh.
Wide Receivers (6): Tyreek Hill, Byron Pringle, Cornell Powell, Mecole Hardman, Marcus Kemp, Darrius Shepherd
Outside of Tyreek Hill there is a lot to prove from the wide receiver core this year. Byron Pringle and Mecole Hardman will both return. The team is going to need one of them to step up and take over the role that Sammy Watkins had tried to fill in the past. Cornell Powell will provide an extra boost, even if he will be slow out of the gate. That leaves a couple of roster spots to Marcus Kemp, who has been on the roster in the past, as well as a surprise signing, Darrius Shepherd. Both of those guys would be long shots to make the roster, but each have skills that could be valuable. Shepherd can return punts and kickoffs, and Kemp is a bigger bodied player who can provide a good presence in one-on-one situations.
Offensive Line (9) : Orlando Brown Jr., Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey, Trey Smith, Lucas Niang, Mike Remmers, Austin Blythe, Kyle Long, Nick Allegretti
No unit on the roster will look more different than the big boys up front. The teams massive overhaul has included bringing in Joe Thuney, trading for Orlando Brown Jr., and drafting Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith. Kyle Long sustained a severe knee injury that will sideline him for the beginning of the season. The only two players on the active roster last year who I expect to be back are Mike Remmers, and Nick Allegretti.
Specialists (3): Harrison Butker, James Winchester, Tommy Townsend
This unit could use some more consistency all around.
Defensive Line (10): Chris Jones, Derrick Nnadi, Frank Clark, Jarran Reed, Tershawn Wharton, Joshua Kaindoh, Taco Charlton, Mika Danna, Khalen Saunders, Tim Ward
This unit will be a strength for the Chiefs this year, and due to the talent across the board, it will give them a chance to mix and match different lineups to fit what they are playing against. Jarran Reed is going to help in a big way, and it will give Chris Jones the ability to line up in different spots across the line.
Linebackers (6) : Anthony Hitchens, Willie Gay, Nick Bolton, Omari Cobb, Ben Niemann, Riley Cole
This unit is going to be closely watched, but I expect it to be better than last season. Hitchens will be the captain once more, but the team must prioritize getting Willie Gay, and Nick Bolton on the field. That is where the future of the team is at.
Defensive backs (10): Tyrann Mathieu, Dan Sorensen, Juan Thornhill, L’Jarius Sneed, Charvarius Ward, Rashad Fenton, Deandre Baker, Zayne Anderson, Mike Hughes.
I think this unit continues to be strong for the Chiefs. Mike Hughes will likely take over the role that Bashaud Breeland has had the last couple of seasons, but Deandre Baker will likely also get a crack at it. L’Jarius Sneed will have a chance to improve off of an impressive rookie season. The safety unit will continue to be the best in the NFL with Mathieu, Sorensen, and a healthy Thornhill.