Week one pre-season is already in the books. The Chiefs took down the 49ers with a late two minute drill score lead by first year quarterback Shane Buechele. The game was then sealed by a Tim Ward sack. The starters saw very limited time, with Patrick Mahomes only attempting two passes and the rest of the one’s seeing barely more time than that. However, that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a lot to take from the week one pre-season matchup.
Here are three Chiefs offensive players trending up heading into the second week of the preseason:
- Daurice Fountain, Wide Receiver
Fountain played 30 snaps Saturday against the 49ers and took full advantage of them. He finished the game with four catches for 38 yards on the night. More than that he looked like he belonged. He was physical at the catch point, quick out of his breaks and the quarterbacks throwing to him trusted he would be where he was supposed to. This coming off reports that he has also had a very impressive camp so far.
The last available rosters spots at the wide receiver are going to be something to watch in the coming weeks. Marcus Kemp has been really good so far and they drafted Cornell Powell in the 5th round of this year’s draft. Both had some nice catches against the 49ers. And that is not to mention guys like Darrius Shepherd, Gherig Dieter, Maurice Ffrench, and Anontion Callaway. Fountain certainly did everything he could to make a push for his roster spot against the 49ers though.
2. Jody Fortson
People have been clamoring for Jody Fortson for at least two years now. Everyone was hoping that he showed enough last year to make the roster, but it did not end up that way. This year, he has moved to tight end full time and put on about 20 pounds of muscle. He looks improved even from last year and is an athletic nightmare at the tight end position. He had a great showing in his first pre-season game which included three catches for 32 yards. The highlight there was on a crossing route that was high and outside and Fortson snagged it one-handed and raced across the field for a big gain.
He is also having a very good camp and that is a good thing because it is a crowded position. Obviously, Travis Kelce is the number one, but they drafted Noah Grey in the fifth round this year and they are very high on him and they brought Blake Bell back and he is a great pass and run blocking addition to the team. At this point, it seems keeping all four is the most likely scenario. Fortson is taking advantage of every chance he is getting right now and is proving to be that nightmare matchup we all wanted him to be last year.
3. Lucas Niang
Lucas Niang has had an interesting tenure already in his short two years with the team. He opted out a year ago due to COVID so had no time with the Chiefs. Then pictures came out of him in shorts in the offseason that made everyone lose their minds about him being out of shape even though Andy Reid said he looked great and passed his physical and conditioning test.
He was getting the 2nd team reps before Mike Remmers went down with a nagging back injury. Niang has taken full advantage of playing with the ones and has looked good in practice and that translated to the field against the 49ers. He looked patient in his pass pro and physical in his run blocking. The first offensive line unit in general looked like one that has been working together for longer than they have. Granted this was against a lot of backups for the Niners. Remmers was back at practice on Monday, but from reports, Niang was still with the ones. It looks like it is his job to lose at this point.
There were other players who played well against the 49ers like Jerrick McKinnon, but these three really caught my eye and are trending up. Fortson and Fountain are making pushes to make the 53. Fortson seems more and more like a lock with each passing day. Fountain still has an uphill battle, but is headed in the right direction. Niang could have solidified his spot along the starting line and that would give KC three rookies on their starting line this year.
The next pre-season game will be a big one to pay attention to. There are only three pre-season games this year. So bubble guys need to start trending in the right direction quickly, trending like Fountain, Fortson, and Niang are.