Early Chiefs roster projection features many familiar names

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- With the Kansas City Chiefs beginning full-squad offseason practice on Tuesday, it’s time to take a first stab at predicting the 53-player roster they will open the season with.

Injuries will alter this roster, as will any player the Chiefs might acquire from this point forward. But here goes.

Quarterback (3): Alex Smith, Tyler Bray, Patrick Mahomes. I’m not convinced the No. 2 QB when the season begins is currently on the roster. The Chiefs may look for a veteran backup, as they did last year during training camp when they signed Nick Foles.

Running back (4): Spencer Ware, Kareem Hunt, Charcandrick West, Anthony Sherman. C.J. Spiller could play his way onto the roster but three teams rejected him last year, making that prospect seem unlikely.

Tight end (4): Travis Kelce, Demetrius Harris, Ross Travis, Gavin Escobar. Kelce is coming off shoulder surgery and Harris was arrested in March for felony marijuana possession, so keeping a fourth tight end isn’t a bad idea, particularly for a team that likes its multi-TE formations.

Wide receiver (6): Jeremy Maclin, Chris Conley, Tyreek Hill, Jehu Chesson, Demarcus Robinson, Albert Wilson. One of the younger receivers, perhaps Seantavius Jones, could steal Wilson’s roster spot.

Offensive line (8): Eric Fisher, Zach Fulton, Mitch Morse, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Mitchell Schwartz, Parker Ehinger, Jah Reid, Bryan Witzmann. Ehinger tore his ACL last season so he may not be ready to play when the season begins.

Defensive line (5): Allen Bailey, Bennie Logan, Chris Jones, Tanoh Kpassagnon, Rakeem Nunez-Roches. Among this group, only Jones was a regular for a full season last year.

Linebacker (9): Dee Ford, Justin Houston, Derrick Johnson, Ramik Wilson, Tamba Hali, Frank Zombo, D.J. Alexander, Ukeme Eligwe, Justin March-Lillard. Dadi Nicolas, who suffered a knee injury in the final regular-season game last year, will make the team if he’s ready to play when the season begins.

Defensive back (11): Marcus Peters, Steven Nelson, Eric Berry, Ron Parker, Terrance Mitchell, Phillip Gaines, De'Vante Bausby, D.J. White, Daniel Sorensen, Eric Murray, Leon McQuay III. The Chiefs are deep in the secondary and one or more of their young defensive backs could crash the roster.

Specialists (3): Cairo Santos, Dustin Colquitt, James Winchester. The Chiefs will go with the same kicker, punter and snapper for the third straight season.