Chiefs' 53-man roster projection includes tough calls at WR, DL

The Kansas City Chiefs must cut their roster to 53 by 4 p.m. ET Saturday, Sept. 2. Here’s a final 53-man roster projection:

QUARTERBACK (3): Alex Smith, Patrick Mahomes II, Tyler Bray.

There’s little intrigue at the most important position. This is perhaps the easiest call the Chiefs have to make in order to get down to 53 players.

RUNNING BACK (3): Kareem Hunt, Charcandrick West, C.J. Spiller.

The Chiefs may well have kept four backs had Spencer Ware not injured his knee. Now the intrigue is how they split the playing time. Hunt, a rookie, will be the starter.

FULLBACK (1): Anthony Sherman.

He’s become a fixture with the Chiefs, as much for his special teams ability as anything he does on offense.

WIDE RECEIVER (6): Tyreek Hill, Chris Conley, Albert Wilson, De'Anthony Thomas, Jehu Chesson, Demarcus Robinson.

Tough call here. Marcus Kemp, an undrafted free agent, appears to have a legitimate shot to stick. To keep Kemp, the Chiefs would either have to dump their most experienced receiver (Wilson) or give up on a younger player (Robinson or Chesson). I don’t see either happening.

TIGHT END (4): Travis Kelce, Demetrius Harris, Ross Travis, Gavin Escobar.

The Chiefs kept four tight ends last season, and given how much they like and use their multiple TE formations, I expect them to do it again.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8): Eric Fisher, Mitchell Schwartz, Bryan Witzmann, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Mitch Morse, Zach Fulton, Cameron Erving, Jordan Devey.

The Chiefs have been looking at Fulton, a backup, at tackle in practice and the preseason. Erving can also play tackle, so the Chiefs can part with veteran Jah Reid.

DEFENSIVE LINE (5): Chris Jones, Bennie Logan, Allen Bailey, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, Jarvis Jenkins.

Jones and Logan have missed time in the preseason because of injuries, so the Chiefs may want to keep an extra body here. Rookie Tanoh Kpassagnon has mostly been an outside linebacker of late, but he could be that extra body in a pinch.

LINEBACKER (10): Justin Houston, Dee Ford, Derrick Johnson, Ramik Wilson, Tamba Hali, Tanoh Kpassagnon, Frank Zombo, Reggie Ragland, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Ukeme Eligwe.

The recent addition of Ragland in a trade from the Bills seems to mean the Chiefs have to keep an extra inside linebacker until he’s up to speed.

SECONDARY (10): Marcus Peters, Steven Nelson, Eric Berry, Ron Parker, Phillip Gaines, Terrance Mitchell, D.J. White, Daniel Sorensen, Eric Murray, Leon McQuay III.

This projection has the Chiefs keeping five cornerbacks and five safeties. If they decide they need another corner (Kenneth Acker, most likely), they’d have to part with McQuay, a sixth-round draft pick this year.

SPECIALISTS (3): Cairo Santos, Dustin Colquitt, James Winchester.

I’m projecting Santos to be ready when the Chiefs open the season. The Chiefs would have to go another direction at kicker if he’s not.