Only one rookie likely to crack Chiefs' starting lineup

The Kansas City Chiefs open training camp on July 30 at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri. Here's a starting lineup projection:


Quarterback (Alex Smith): Smith is 30-16 in his three seasons as the Chiefs’ starter, plus 1-2 in the playoffs.

Running back (Jamaal Charles): Charles has over 1,000 rushing yards in each of his past five full NFL seasons.

Fullback (Anthony Sherman): Acquired in a 2013 trade with the Arizona Cardinals, Sherman has been a productive blocker and solid special-teams player.

Wide receiver (Jeremy Maclin): He had more catches (87) and touchdowns (eight) last year than any Chiefs receiver since 2010.

Wide receiver (Albert Wilson): He led Chiefs wide receivers last season in yards per catch with a 12.9 average.

Tight end (Travis Kelce): He averaged 70 catches and almost 900 yards in his two seasons since becoming a regular.

Left tackle (Eric Fisher): The No. 1 overall pick in 2013 has yet to consistently play up to his lofty draft status.

Left guard (Parker Ehinger): The fourth-round draft choice from Cincinnati might be the only rookie to start for Kansas City in the season opener.

Center (Mitch Morse): He started 15 games in 2015 and had a solid rookie season for the Chiefs.

Right guard (Laurent Duvernay-Tardif): A Canadian medical student, he played his first American football game in 2014 after joining the Chiefs as a sixth-round draft pick.

Right tackle (Mitchell Schwartz): He was the Chiefs’ prized free-agent addition who was signed to battle some of the AFC West’s top pass-rushers.


End (Jaye Howard): He’s not as heralded as the other starting linemen, but he was third on the Chiefs in sacks last season with 5.5.

Nose tackle (Dontari Poe): He’s headed into the final season of the rookie contract he signed as the Chiefs' first-round draft pick in 2012.

End (Allen Bailey): Injuries limited him to 12 games last season, but Bailey has been a solid three-down player for the Chiefs.

Outside linebacker (Dee Ford): He would be replacing Justin Houston, who probably won’t be ready for the season opener after having offseason ACL surgery.

Inside linebacker (Derrick Johnson): He turns 34 in November but showed no signs of a career decline last season.

Inside linebacker (Josh Mauga): He started 30 games for the Chiefs over the past two seasons.

Outside linebacker (Tamba Hali): Hali is coming off knee surgery that caused him to miss all of offseason practice.

Cornerback (Marcus Peters): He was the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year after intercepting eight passes and scoring two touchdowns.

Cornerback (Phillip Gaines): He’s back to claim the starting spot he lost early last season because of a torn ACL.

Free safety (Eric Berry): He has to sign his one-year contract with the Chiefs as their franchise player before he can play.

Strong safety (Ron Parker): He was claimed off waivers from Seattle in 2013 and has become a valuable defender for the Chiefs.


Kicker (Cairo Santos): He’s made 82 percent of his field goal attempts (55-of-67) in his two seasons with the Chiefs.

Punter (Dustin Colquitt): The left-footed veteran is still going strong.

Long-snapper (James Winchester): He had a nice debut season for the Chiefs in 2015.

Kickoff and punt returner (Tyreek Hill): The rookie is fast, and special-teams coach Dave Toub has compared his return ability to that of Devin Hester.