KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For better or for worse, the Kansas City Chiefs have the 53 players they will take to Thursday night’s regular-season opener against the Patriots in New England. This, of course, discounts any changes they might make between now and then, and there well could be at least one.
But general manager Brett Veach said he thinks the roster is strong enough for the Chiefs to achieve their goal of winning the Super Bowl.
“We’re excited about the roster," Veach said. “We think we have a lot of talent. We think the roster we’ve been able to compile the last four years is definitely good enough to get to where we want to go, for sure. ... We’re certainly excited about this team."
Here’s a position-by-position look at the 53-player roster:
Quarterback (3): Alex Smith, Patrick Mahomes II, Tyler Bray. The Chiefs will go with the steady hand of Smith at quarterback for the fifth consecutive season. That should be good enough to win a bunch of regular-season games. The playoffs might be another story. They usually are.
Running back (2): Kareem Hunt, Charcandrick West. The Chiefs appear to have some quality at the top of their depth chart in Hunt, their third-round draft pick. The problem is quantity, and Veach said the club would probably add another back before Thursday's game.
Fullback (1): Anthony Sherman. He made the team as much for special-teams ability as anything, but he’s useful on offense as a blocker.
Wide receiver (6): Tyreek Hill, Chris Conley, Albert Wilson, De’Anthony Thomas, Jehu Chesson, Demarcus Robinson. The Chiefs are hoping for, and perhaps planning on, some players to make a big step forward. They want Hill to be a No. 1 receiver, Conley and Wilson to make gains and Thomas to contribute more than he has in the past. All of that won't happen, so the Chiefs could have left themselves short here.
Tight end (3): Travis Kelce, Demetrius Harris, Ross Travis. The Chiefs like their multiple-tight-end formations and will be able to use them as long as Kelce, Harris and Travis stay healthy. But the Chiefs have no insurance for injury after releasing veteran Gavin Escobar, who had some moments during training camp and the preseason. The Chiefs kept four tight ends last season.
Offensive line (9): Eric Fisher, Mitchell Schwartz, Bryan Witzmann, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Mitch Morse, Zach Fulton, Parker Ehinger, Cameron Erving, Jordan Devey. The Chiefs like their starting group and kept four backups, including Erving, who was acquired from Cleveland last week. He’s the only reserve who has played tackle in a game.
Defensive line (6): Allen Bailey, Bennie Logan, Chris Jones, Roy Miller, Jarvis Jenkins, Rakeem Nunez-Roches. There's a lot to like here. This is a veteran group. Jones is the baby of the bunch and he started 11 games as a rookie last season.
Linebacker (10): Justin Houston, Dee Ford, Derrick Johnson, Ramik Wilson, Tanoh Kpassagnon, Frank Zombo, Reggie Ragland, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Ukeme Eligwe, Terrance Smith. If Houston stays healthy, the Chiefs should be fine without Tamba Hali, who will begin the season on an injury list. But Houston has played a full season just once in the past four years, so perhaps the Chiefs are guilty of some wishful thinking in that regard.
Defensive back (10): Marcus Peters, Steven Nelson, Phillip Gaines, Terrance Mitchell, D.J. White, Kenneth Acker, Eric Berry, Ron Parker, Daniel Sorensen, Eric Murray. The Chiefs go six deep at cornerback, but somehow, other than Peters, that doesn’t feel like enough. That’s why they went after Joe Haden last week.