Projecting the Chiefs 53 man roster

The Chiefs play their final preseason game against Green Bay tonight, and there will be a final round of cuts next week, so here are some roster predictions.

The Chiefs’ preseason is rapidly coming to an end. This means two things, the regular season is finally here and we can put all the speculation to bed, and there are about to be a bunch of unemployed football players. That is the harsh reality of the NFL. Teams are having to go from 80-man rosters to 53 after their last preseason game.

For the Chiefs, there has been a big happening that could shake up the look of the 53. Blake Bell had surgery on his injured hip flexor. Andy Reid wasn’t sure if that meant season-ending IR, but he did say it could be some time before we see him again.

The Chiefs immediately tried to grab TE Kendall Blanton off waivers, but were unsuccessful, as the Commanders snatched him up because they were ahead of KC in the order.

With the Chiefs missing out on Blanton, I had this thought:

Gesecki is basically a WR and doesn’t really fit the Bell role. However, the more big, athletic, pass catchers KC can get on the field at once, could be dangerous. Gesecki basically played the wide receiver role with the previous regime in Miami and he is struggling to find his footing in head coach Mike McDaniel’s offense.

OJ Howard would also be an excellent fit and replacement for Bell, he has primarily been a blocking TE since he has been in the NFL. He seems to be buried on the Bills’ depth chart right now, plus he entered the last Bills preseason game as the fourth TE when starter Dawson Knox didn’t even play.

If the Chiefs do not bring in another TE, that could leave an open spot for another position. Let’s take a look at where that might be.

Quarterbacks (2)

Patrick Mahomes
Chad Henne

No change here. I think Buechele has done enough to earn the second QB spot. He isn’t perfect, but is young, athletic, and shows flashes of being a very capable backup in this league. He would also be cheaper than Henne at this point. I think Reid favors the veteran though.

Running backs (5)

Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Jerrick McKinnon
Isiah Pacheco
Ronald Jones
Michael Burton (FB)

With Blake Bell missing significant time and Derrick Gore going to IR with an apparent thumb injury, Ronald Jones is on my 53 for right now. This really comes down to where the Chiefs feel they can use more depth. I could absolutely see them keeping an extra offensive or defensive lineman.

Wide Receiver (6)

Juju Smith-Schuster
Skyy Moore
Marquez Valdes-Scantling
Mecole Hardman
Justin Watson
Daurice Fountain

No change here. Watson is a lock for the roster at this point. He is even getting reps with the 1’s and was making plays with Mahomes in the preseason game against the Commanders. Fountain still has the sixth spot for me right now because of his special teams ability. Corey Coleman has shown some juice though and Josh Gordon is still lingering, but they would have to have massive games against the Packers to change it at this point.

Tight End (3)

Travis Kelce
Jody Fortson
Noah Gray

I don’t see the Chiefs keeping Jordan Franks or Matt Bushman on the 53 even though they both have had decent camps. If they bring someone in, as mentioned above, maybe they keep four. However, this is a really good group and I am excited for them this year.

Offensive Line (9)

Orlando Brown
Joe Thuney
Creed Humphrey
Trey Smith
Andrew Wylie
Geron Christian
Nick Allegretti
Austin Reiter
Vitaliy Gurman

The big change here is keeping Vitaliy Gurman over Prince Tega Wanhogo. Gurman ended up taking the most offensive tackle snaps of any of the linemen in the game against Commanders. The Chiefs desperately need someone to take the backup tackle position over, and Gurman has played well enough to possibly get the last spot here.

Specialists (3)

Harrison Butker
Tommy Townsend
James Winchester

Nothing to see here.

Defensive Line (10)

Interior Linemen

Chris Jones
Derrick Nnadi
Danny Shelton
Khalen Saunders
Tershawn Wharton

Edge Rushers

Frank Clark
Geroge Karlaftis
Carlos Dunlap
Mike Danna
Malik Herring

A couple of changes from my first 53, the first being Danny Shelton over Tyler Stallworth. This is a tough one, Shelton just adds a run-stuffing ability that no one else on the roster has. Even though Stallworth has played very well there isn’t room to keep him. The other change is Malik Herring over Joshua Kaindoh, I keep flip-flopping with these two and I could really see it going either way. For now, it is Herring who makes the final roster.

Defensive Back (10)


Juan Thornhill
Justin Reid
Deon Bush
Bryan Cook


La’Jarius Sneed
Trent McDuffie
Rashad Fenton
Joshua Williams
Jaylen Watson
Chris Lammons

The big change here is Lammons over Bootle, I think this is the only battle left in the secondary. Watson and Williams have played their way into roles, especially with Fenton being banged up all offseason. Lammons is a Toub guy and can play on all four special team units. Lammons also played the most defensive snaps of the preseason last game which all but guarantees him to be a lock on the final roster.

Linebacker (5)

Willie Gay Jr.
Nick Bolton
Elijah Lee
Leo Chenal
Darius Harris

Harris over Jermaine Carter for the last spot. Harris has played well this pre-season and has emerged as a key backup to Willie Gay and Nick Bolton. On top of that, like Lammons, he could be playing on all four special teams units, so he might be a key person to the team going forward.

I would not be surprised if the Chiefs brought in offensive linemen, tight ends, or edge rushers after cuts to compete for spots on the 53. They have questions at the backup offensive tackle position and Veach is always looking to upgrade the roster. Dunlap is also banged up with an Achilles injury, so having an extra edge rusher for insurance wouldn’t be a bad thing.