KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Now that the draft has concluded, I’m going to make an early prediction on the 53-player roster the Kansas City Chiefs will have in September when they begin the regular season. I’ll start with the offense and continue in a subsequent post with the defense and kicking specialists.
Quarterback (3): Alex Smith, Chase Daniel, Aaron Murray. More than any other position group on the roster, this spot looks set. Only an injury to one of the top three or an upset of dramatic proportions could change this.
Tight end (3): Travis Kelce, Demetrius Harris, Richard Gordon. Rookie James O'Shaughnessy, a fifth-round pick, could crash the roster instead of Gordon. But the Chiefs won’t be able to keep all of their nine draft picks and might try to sneak O'Shaughnessy, a developmental prospect from Illinois State, on to their practice squad.
Wide receiver (6): Jeremy Maclin, Albert Wilson, Jason Avant, Chris Conley, Da'Rick Rogers, Frankie Hammond Jr. This one could go a lot of different ways. Junior Hemingway is the big name missing from this list. He could make it, but his playing time went way down last season after the Chiefs signed Avant, so the Chiefs may be ready to move on. Rookie Da'Ron Brown, a seventh-round pick, is another player that at this point I don’t see making it. The Chiefs might keep only five here because Thomas will also get some work as the slot receiver. If so, Rogers or Hammond would be endangered.
Offensive line (9): Eric Fisher, Ben Grubbs, Eric Kush, Paul Fanaika, Donald Stephenson, Jeff Allen, Mitch Morse, Zach Fulton, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. The Chiefs could go with eight players here since Allen and Morse could play multiple positions. But the Chiefs don’t seem ready to give up on Fulton or Duvernay-Tardif. With Stephenson and Allen scheduled to be free agents next year, the Chiefs would be wise to hold on to as many capable linemen as they can.