Between now and August 31, the Kansas City Chiefs will trim the roster from 90 players to 53 though the process of training camp and four preseason games.
Following final cuts, even more movement is likely to take place as GM Brett Veach scans waivers and free agency for other players looking for a team, and possibly wiggling out another trade as he has in recent years.
From drafting young, cheap talent on the offense to roll alongside All-Pro talents and the NFL’s reigning MVP. On the defense, an overhaul of the staff and signing of numerous free agents to revamp a defense that came up short in last years AFC Championship appearance.
Here’s a look at who could be on the final 53-man roster: Quarterbacks (2) — Patrick Mahomes, Chad Henne Mahomes is coming off one of the top seasons a quarterback has ever had in NFL history. It was also the first year of the relationship between head coach Andy Reid, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka. Henne is a veteran and suitable backup who is a fitting presence to the quarterbacks’ room. Second-year QB Chase Litton and rookie Kyle Shurmur will likely battle for a practice squad spot.
Running backs (4) — Damien Williams, Carlos Hyde, Darrel Williams, Darwin Thompson
Damien Williams has already been named the starter in a group as dynamic as any in Reid’s tenure with the Chiefs. Kansas City tried to trade up for Thompson, though the “rocked up” running back fell to them in the sixth round. The Chiefs signed Carlos Hyde as a free agent, as he was one of the top pass-catching backs in the league a few years ago. He will battle for a roster spot with Darrel Williams, who is a change-of-pace back with a different style.
Fullback (1) — Anthony Sherman
The closest thing to a lock of the roster, Sherman will continue to be one of the top fullbacks in the NFL. From his crucial play on special teams to blocking for Mahomes and Williams, while catching passes, he is primed for another solid campaign.
Wide receivers (6) — Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Demarcus Robison, Mecole Hardman, Byron Pringle, Gehrig Dieter
The Chiefs believe they have a bevy of talent at receiver, led by All-Pro Tyreek Hill, who will not face suspension after an offseason child abuse investigation. Beyond him, Watkins appeared to star during OTAs and Robinson’s role continues to grow with the team. The Chiefs used their first pick on Mecole Hardman, who will see lots of time on special teams and add another speed element out wide. Pringle showed promise before an injury in last year’s preseason finale, and Dieter provides help on special teams and a rapport with Mahomes. Beyond the group, Cody Thompson, Marcus Kemp and Jamal Custis should battle for spots on the practice squad.
Tight ends (3) — Travis Kelce, John Lovett, Deon Yelder
Kelce is expected to be a full-go for training camp after offseason ankle surgery. But with Reid’s sets that require two tight ends, and losing Demetrius Harris in free agency, the rest of the group is a question mark. Yelder was on the practice squad last year, and Lovett, the former Princeton quarterback, can serve as a swiss army knife.
Offensive linemen (9) — Eric Fisher, Andrew Wylie, Austin Reiter, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Mitchell Schwartz, Cam Erving, Nick Allegretti, Kahlil McKenzie, Jimmy Murray
With the return of Duvernay-Tardif and Wylie emerging as a guard, the Chiefs appear set with their starting line barring injury. Schwartz is coming off one of a season where he again proved to be a top right tackle, and Fisher showed improvement with Mahomes under center. Beyond the starters, Erving, Murray and Allegretti should have the versatility to plan multiple spots, while McKenzie spent last season learning the guard position. Ryan Hunter is a strong candidate for the practice squad.
Defensive linemen (9) — Frank Clark, Chris Jones, Derrick Nnadi, Alex Okafor, Emmanuel Ogbah, Breeland Speaks, Tanoh Kpassagnon, Khalen Saunders, Xavier Williams
The Chiefs’ switch to a 4-3 defense means even more rotation up front. Jones — seeking a new contract — Nnadi and Clark are known, and the Chiefs added six-year veteran Okafor. The Chiefs also traded for Ogbah, and Speaks and Kpassagnon look to take on more responsibilities rushing inside and outside under Steve Spagnuolo. The last spot comes tricky, with the Chiefs able to save money by cutting Williams and keeping Justin Hamilton. Tim Ward, an undrafted free agent from Old Dominion who missed the offseason with a knee injury, should make the practice squad.
Linebackers (6) — Anthony Hitchens, Reggie Ragland, Damien Wilson, Darron Lee, Dorian O’Daniel, Ben Niemann
Wilson, Ragland and Hitchens worked as the No. 1 group in the offseason with Lee seeing lots of time in sub packages on passing downs after coming over in a trade with the Jets. O’Daniel returns from injury as a weak-side backer and threat on special teams, a role Niemann also thrives in.
Cornerbacks (5) — Kendall Fuller, Bashaud Breeland, Charvarius Ward, Keith Reaser, Tremon Smith Fuller and Ward proved their worth in a secondary change late last season, and the Chiefs signed free agents Breeland and Reaser this offseason. The real battle comes for the final spot, as Smith provides great ability in the return game. Rookies Rashad Fenton and Mark Fields will be in play for a roster spot, but both can go on the practice squad in they don’t exceed expectations in the preseason.
Safeties (5) — Tyrann Mathieu, Juan Thronhill, Daniel Sorenson, Jordan Lucas, Armani Watts Mathieu and rookie Thornhill will give a new look to a back end of the secondary that became stale in recent years. As long as the group stays healthy, it has the makings of a very capable group.
Specialists (3) — Harrison Butker, Dustin Colquitt, James Winchester All three players alongside coordinator Dave Toub are among one of the league’s top groups. Though is job is likely safe, Colquitt should mentor rookie Jack Fox while he’s on the practice squad.