With the Chiefs’ depth chart going through changes after the cuts to 53 men, here is what the Chiefs roster looks like and who’s going to start.
The Chiefs have whittled down their roster to the final 53, there were tough decisions at multiple positions and as a result, there was some interesting player movement. You can find the initial 53 here from the official Chiefs Twitter page. Even though the roster is down to 53, this isn’t going to be the final roster for the entirety of the season. The Chiefs’ General Manager Brett Veach and Head Coach Andy Reid will look to make improvements to the roster throughout the year and maybe even within the next couple of days or weeks.
The first biggest surprise to me is that they kept three quarterbacks on the roster. Obviously, Patrick Mahomes is QB1. Behind him are veterans Chad Henne and Shane Buechele, I was pounding the table for Buechele as QB2 all off-season but did not think that they would keep him over Henne.
The Chiefs must have thought they wouldn’t be able to stash him on the practice squad as they did last year and felt he earned his way onto this roster. It is very odd to keep three QBs and really puts the squeeze on other positions, which we saw how some of the other position groups shook out.
Another big surprise to me was that Daurice Fountain was cut and brought back to the practice squad and the Chiefs only have five wide receivers on the roster. I thought Fountain had played his way onto the roster as the sixth WR and core special teamer. Unfortunately for him, it did not shake out that way and he’s going to be on the practice squad. Fountain being on the practice squad is a huge luxury for KC and he could get called up to the active roster if there is a slot made available during the season.
The last surprise was Ronald Jones making the roster, it seemed like he was all but written off. That was until the last game. Brett Veach spoke about how important that game was for Jones.
I still would not be shocked if they moved on from Jones in some capacity, whether it is a trade or release to add another position during the season.
Other positions I could see the Chiefs making moves at include, Edge, defensive tackle, and offensive tackle. The Chiefs kept defensive ends Joshua Kaindoh and Malik Herring on the roster while releasing both Danny Shelton and Taylor Stallworth. Both of the defensive tackles are back on the practice squad, which is huge. Herring is dealing with an oblique injury and could be a potential IR candidate, so watch for some movement there.
As far as offensive tackles, they kept three backup tackles, which is odd because the three they kept were Gerron Christian, Prine Tega Wanogho, and rookie Darrian Kinnard. As I’ve mentioned in multiple Twitter posts and articles, the backup offensive tackle situation has not been great all preseason. On top of all of that, the player I thought outplayed all of these guys, Vitaliy Gurman, was released and signed to the Raiders practice squad which is disappointing.
With all that being said, let’s take a look at the potential depth chart as we head Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals.
Slot: JuJu Smith Schuster, Skyy Moore
Outside: Marquez Valdez-Scantling
Outside: Mecole Hardman, Justin Watson
It is important to note here that Chiefs’ WRs must learn all positions because the Chiefs move receivers around a lot in their schemes. So, just because Smith-Schuster is listed as slot, he will be playing on the outside a lot and MVS might move inside on some plays.
LT: Orlando Brown Jr., Gerron Christian, Prince Tega Wanogho
LG: Joe Thuney
C: Creed Humphrey
RG: Trey Smith, Nick Allegretti
RT: Andrew Wylie, Darrian Kinnard
While these players will likely be listed like this on the depth chart, Christian will be the first tackle in at either Left or Right tackle if there’s an injury. Allegretti will be the utility lineman on the interior. Austin Reiter is on the practice squad in case of emergency on the inside, but like I’ve said the 53rd man is fluid right now.
LDE: Mike Danna, George Karlaftis, Joshua Kaindoh
NT: Derrick Nnadi, Khalen Saunders
DT: Chris Jones, Tershawn Wharton
RDE: Frank Clark, Carlos Dunlap, Malik Herring
I would expect either Stallworth or Shelton to find their way back on the 53-man roster at points this year because they both make them much more stout against the run.
Mike: Nick Bolton, Leo Chenal
Will: Willie Gay Jr., Darius Harris
Leo Chenal will be the third LB in base 4-3 defensive sets, however, like most teams, they will be in Nickel packages most of the game.
LCB: Trent McDuffie, Joshua Williams
RCB: Rashad Fenton, Jaylen Watson, Chris Lammons
NCB: L’Jarius Sneed
S: Justin Reid, Bryan Cook
S: Juan Thornhill, Deon Bush