The Kansas City Chiefs haven’t been on the field for any kind of organized practice yet. The first such offseason session is scheduled for Tuesday. But I’m going to take my first stab here at the 53 players they will take into the Sept. 11 regular season opener against the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium.
Quarterbacks (3): Alex Smith, Aaron Murray, Kevin Hogan. I don’t sense the Chiefs are ready to give up on any of their developmental quarterbacks, a group that includes Murray, the rookie Hogan and Tyler Bray. But unless they can send one of the three players to an injured list, they have to make a choice. Cutting Bray is the most likely outcome, though this has yet to play out.
Running backs (3): Jamaal Charles, Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West. The Chiefs have no need for a fourth player here, so unless they feel they have to keep Knile Davis because of his return skills, he’s gone.
Fullback (1): Anthony Sherman. The Chiefs have no need for another fullback as long as they have the Shermanator, who has been durable and plays well on special teams.
Wide receiver (6): Jeremy Maclin, Chris Conley, Rod Streater, Albert Wilson, Tyreek Hill, Demarcus Robinson. De'Anthony Thomas is among the players I don’t have making the roster. There’s not room for both Thomas and Hill. Another is veteran Mike Williams, who is trying to resurrect a once-promising career.
Offensive line (8): Eric Fisher, Mitchell Schwartz, Jah Reid, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Zach Fulton, Parker Ehinger, Mitch Morse, Jarrod Pughsley. The Chiefs need to figure out their starters at guard as well as their backups at all the spots. I’ll go with a veteran, Reid, backing up Fisher and Schwartz, at tackle. I’ll have Ehinger and Pughsley backing up Fulton and Duvernay-Tardif at guard. Fulton has proven he can play center, so I’ll move him there if Morse needs a replacement.
Linebackers (10): Justin Houston, Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, Josh Mauga, Dee Ford, Jonathan Massaquoi, Dadi Nicolas, Frank Zombo, Justin March, Ramik Wilson. Some difficult decisions here are complicated by Houston’s situation. He had ACL surgery in February and it’s uncertain when he will be ready to play, though general manager John Dorsey said recently that it will be sometime this season. For the purposes of this discussion, I’m keeping him on the roster but assume he’s not ready to play at the start of the season.
Defensive backs (11): Marcus Peters, Phillip Gaines, Eric Berry, Ron Parker, Eric Murray, Steven Nelson, KeiVarae Russell, D.J. White, Stevie Brown, Jamell Fleming, Daniel Sorensen. The Chiefs have selected six cornerbacks in the past three drafts, including three this year, and they’ll all make the team. Eleven defensive backs is a lot to keep, but the Chiefs are so young at cornerback they have to keep a lot of them. They might need that safety net.