By Weston Mills (@wmills94)
BBQ… Tomahawk Chop…. Big Red… Travis Kelce dance moves… here we are with two weeks of pre-season football behind us and the season quickly approaching. September 2 is the deadline for all NFL teams to cut down their roster to the final 53. With that, here is my predicted 2017 Kansas City Chiefs roster.
Alex Smith, Patrick Mahomes, Tyler Bray
This position group (outside of the specialists) is hands down the easiest to predict. This is all but set. The only question is whether Mahomes or Bray ends up as QB2 but even that seems to pretty set with Mahomes.
Spencer Ware, Kareem Hunt, Charcandrick West, CJ Spiller, Anthony Sherman
This is most definitely the position that has me the most intrigued. Teams rarely carry four running backs (however, KC did it for a bit last year) but CJ Spiller has been showing consistent flashes of his old self and Charcandrick West is a favorite in both the locker room and with the coaching staff. I would not be surprised in the least if Brett Veach is shopping Spencer Ware. Kareem Hunt has looked very good in the preseason and may be ready to take over the full work load. However, barring a trade, I think the Chiefs carry 4 RBs (and of course Sherman) and utilize West on special teams.
Chris Conley, Tyreek Hill, Jehu Chesson, Seantavius Jones, DeMarcus Robinson, De’Anthony Thomas
I think Kansas City could go in a few different directions here. Ultimately, the big surprise would be the departure of Albert Wilson. Seantavius Jones has been quite the flash during camp and I think has earned himself a roster spot. Albert Wilson would be entering his 4th year and has not really shown a whole lot. By cutting Wilson, KC will save $1.8 million but it will still count against the cap. Alternatively, Kansas City might be able to sneak Jones through waivers and add him to the practice squad.
Eric Fisher, Mitchell Schwartz, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Mitch Morse, Parker Ehinger, Zach Fulton, Bryan Witzmann, Jah Reid
I really do not think there are any surprises here. This is the same group as last year. Also, look for Donald Hawkins or Andrew Tiller to be added to the practice squad.
Travis Kelce, Demetrius Harris, Gavin Escobar
Last year, the Chiefs carried 4 tight ends through-out most of the season but due to the amount of talent at a few other positions I think they say good-bye to Ross Travis. Kelce and Harris return from last year with the addition of Gavin Escobar.
Marcus Peters, Eric Berry, Ron Parker, Steven Nelson, Daniel Sorenson, D.J. White, Terrance Mitchell, Leon McQuay, Phillip Gaines
The only spot that is in question here is Phillip Gaines. Ultimately, I think the Chiefs keep him on the roster and gives him the opportunity to stay healthy and play up to his potential. However, I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if DeVante Bausby made the roster over Gaines or possibly D.J. White.
Justin Houston, Derrick Johnson, Ramik Wilson, Dee Ford, Tamba Hali, Justin March-Lillard, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Frank Zombo, Josh Mauga, Ukeme Eligwe
Kansas City already made a small splash at the linebacker position when they traded D.J. Alexander to the Seahawks for Kevin Pierre-Louis. I really wanted to find a way for Marcus Rush to make the roster but I just don’t think there is room. Rush impressed me in week 1 and, while consistent, I’ve never been overly impressed with Frank Zombo. However, cutting Zombo would be a hit to the cap and they make a clean break to his contract after 2018. Rush definitely has some natural ability to rush the passer but the Chiefs tipped their hand a bit when he only played 8 snaps in week 2. I would expect Rush to clear waivers and sign with the practice squad.
Allen Bailey, Bennie Logan, Chris Jones, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, Tanoh Kpassagnon, Roy Miller.
After running back, this is the next most intriguing position to watch. The Chiefs are loaded with talent up front and will have to make some tough choices. Jarvis Jenkins has played really well in the preseason but I think KC keeps newly signed Roy Miller instead. Miller is a run-stopper and provides depth behind Bennie Logan at nose guard. However, he is coming off a torn Achilles at the age of 30. I could also see the Chiefs keeping 7 D-lineman due to Tanoh’s versatility. If he is lining up at LB in certain packages KC may be able to keep an extra d-lineman. If they do keep 7, look for them to add Jarvis Jenkins or David King.
Cairo Santos, Dustin Colquitt, James Winchester
Same group for the third straight year.
There it is… my predicted 53. We will check back in on September 3!