Jul 28, 2013; St. Joseph, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Junior Hemingway (88) catches a pass while defended by cornerback Jalil Brown (30) during training camp at Missouri Western State University. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs' Cut Day Watch

Tomorrow, the Kansas CIty Chiefs have their first home game of the 2013 season when they host the San Francisco 49ers at Arrowhead Stadium. While we are all watching for key positional battles, the larger personnel picture is as follows:

  • Currently 90 players
  • August 27: Reduce to 75 players, after third preseason game
  • August 30: Reduce to 53 players, after fourth and final preseason game

That means 37 current Chiefs will be cut in the next two weeks. In order to get a sense of how successful teams divide up their talent, I looked at the final 2012 rosters for the four final teams in the playoffs last year: the Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons. Here’s how they divided up their final, 53-man rosters:

Position

Ravens

49ers

Patriots

Falcons

Quarterbacks

2

3

2

3

Running Backs

4

6

4

5

Wide Receivers

6

6

4

5

Tight Ends

3

3

4

4

Offensive Linemen

8

8

8

9

Defensive Linemen

7

7

11

10

Linebackers

9

7

6

5

Defensive Backs/Safeties

11

10

11

9

Special Teams

3

3

3

3

Total

53

53

53

53

Below, I took an overall average of the four best teams from last year, compared to the Chiefs’ current 90-man roster, to give us a rough guideline of how many players the Chiefs will need to cut before Labor Day:

Position

Average

Chiefs

To Cut

Quarterbacks

3

4

-1

Running Backs

5

8

-3

Wide Receivers

5

12

-7

Tight Ends

4

5

-1

Offensive Linemen

8

15

-7

Defensive Linemen

9

11

-2

Linebackers

7

13

-6

Defensive Backs/Safeties

10

19

-9

Special Teams

3

3

0

Total

53

90

-37

Here’s my first cut at the cuts, based on these numbers. The one significant area for wiggle room is between linebackers and defensive linemen, depending on whether you run a base 3-4 or 4-3. Remember, in addition to the final 53, the Chiefs can keep 8 players on the Practice Squad, which means these players can practice with the team but cannot play in games. The Chiefs can also place players with injuries on a variety of Reserve Lists.

Quarterbacks (keep 3, lose 1): Sorry Ricky, but every time you drop back to pass, I get PTSD from the 2012 season.

Running Backs (keep 5, lose 3): I think we’ll keep just one fullback: Anthony Sherman. That means that both Toben Opurum and Braden Wilson will be gone. Joining them, I fear, will be rookie Jordan Roberts, leaving Jamaal Charles, Knile Davis and Shaun Draughn. The average for backs is to keep five; I think we keep four and also cut Cyrus Gray because…

Wide Receivers (keep 5, lose 7): Wow, how do you cut 7 wide receivers?! Dwayne Bowe, Dexter McCluster, Jonathan Baldwin and Donnie Avery are a lock. That leaves us with just 1-2 more slots, depending on whether we keep 5 or 6 receivers. Terrance Copper is a keeper because of his special teams play. Junior Hemingway has had a great camp, but remains injured. Devon Wylie may make it based on his special teams play and slot potential. Rico Richardson had a couple of nice catches last week, although he did have one drop. Frankie Hammond had a nice, 17 yard reception. Josh Bellamy and Jamar Newsome did nothing to impress me. Tyler Shoemaker tried to return a punt from his own end zone. This is tough but I think we keep Hemingway and Wylie, put Richardson on the practice squad, and cut Hammond, Bellamy, Newsome and Shoemaker. These moves would put us two over on receivers now, which explains why I think we cut Cyrus Gray.

Tight Ends (keep 4, lose 1): Anthony Fasano looks great, Travis Kelce is promising and Tony Moeaki is a known producer if he can stay injury-free. I think we cut Kevin Brock and place Demetrius Harris on the Practice Squad, allowing us to keep seven wide receivers.

Offensive Linemen (keep 8, lose 7): A bunch of offensive linemen are locks: Branden Albert, Eric Fisher, Jon Asamoah, Rodney Hudson, Jeff Allen, Geoff Schwartz and Donald Stephenson. Eric Kush impressed me last week. In the first quarter, Chase Daniel was hit as he released the ball. The ball hit the ground and could have been ruled a fumble. Kush seemed like the only lineman who immediately dove for the ball. Cuts may include Tommie Draheim, Ryan Durand, Hutch Eckerson, A.J. Hawkins, Rokevious Watkins, Matt Reynolds and Steven Baker.

Defensive Linemen (keep 9, lose 2): Dontari Poe looks awesome! Tyson Jackson is here to stay, as are Mike Devito, Jerrell Powe and Anthony Toribio. Austen Lane has looked good in camp, Marcus Dixon seemed quite active in the Saints game and Miguel Chavis had some nice, aggressive tackles as well. I’ve also always loved Allen Bailey. We will likely cut more defensive lineman than the stated average and keep more linebackers, since we run a 3-4 base. The short end of the stick may go to Rob Lohr, Brad Madison and then either Dixon or Chavis, though we may want to keep one of those two on the Practice Squad.

Linebackers (keep 7, lose 6): Here to stay are Tamba Hali, Justin Houston, Derrick Johnson, Nico Johnson, Akeem Jordan and Edgar Jones. Jones is my absolute favorite special teams player and had great penetration against the Saints as an outside linebacker last week, including an impressive stop on 4th and 1. That leaves 1-2 slots left. Rookie Mike Catapano was out for the Saints game with an injured calf. Darin Drakeford was all over the field in the second half, as was Orie Lemon and Josh Martin. My cuts would be Zac Diles, Frank Zombo, Ridge Wilson and Mike Catapano (maybe send him to the Practice Squad). The Chiefs will have to cut one more – let’s see how Lemon, Martin and Drakeford perform to win the last slot.

Defensive Backs/Safeties (keep 10, lose 9): Locks include Brandon Flowers, Sean Smith, Eric Berry, Dunta Robinson, Kendrick Lewis, the injured Sanders Commings, Tysyn Hartman, Neiko Thorpe and Husain Abdullah, who has had a great camp and performed well against the Saints with five solo tackles. That leaves – gulp – just one slot left. Vince Agnew is gone for sure. Otha Foster and Bradley McDougald played well, with McDougald forcing a drop from Saints tight end Jimmy Graham. Quintin Demps returned a kickoff for 26 yards and lined up as the starting kick returner. Jalil Brown looked absolutely miserable in pass coverage but downed a punt inside the five yard line. We just picked up Kennard Cox this week. For the final DB/Safety spot, the front runners are Demps and Brown for their special teams play, and perhaps McDougald or Foster if they can show some consistency. Cuts will likely include Malcom Bronson, Greg Castillo, Agnew, Kamaal McIlwain and Semaj Moody. When it comes right down to it, the lost spot may be a one-on-on battle between Demps and Brown, unless Cox shows he can play.

Special Teams (keep 3, lose 0): With Ryan Succop kicking, Dustin Colquitt punting and Thomas Gafford snapping, we’re set here!

For the 49ers game then, I’ll be watching:

  • Wide receiver: Hemingway vs. Wylie vs. Richardson

  • Tight end: Demetrius Harris vs. himself

  • Defensive line: Marcus Dixon vs. Miguel Chavis

  • Linebacker: Drakeford vs. Lemon vs. Martin

  • DB/Safety: Will Demps or Brown show their value beyond special teams? Demps may be in trouble since Knile Davis performed so well returning a kickoff.

Addicts, what do you think? Who’s on the cut list for you?!

Next Chiefs Game View full schedule »
Sunday, Sep 2121 Sep4:25at Miami DolphinsBuy Tickets

Tags: Kansas City Chiefs

comments powered by Disqus