Aug 16, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel (10) walks to the huddle during the second half of the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Arrowhead Stadium. San Francisco won 15-13. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Who Will Make The Chiefs 53 Man Roster?

The Kansas City Chiefs are halfway through their 2013 preseason games. However, most of the players on the Chiefs current roster have been fighting for their spots for months. If you take into account mini-camps, OTAs, training camp, and the first two preseason games the decision makers for the Chiefs probably have a pretty good idea of who is making the team already. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are a few spots still up for grabs, but I’m guessing they could probably already tell you about 40 of the 53 spots.

The first round of cuts will happen after the next preseason game. Before that happens, I thought I’d take a shot at where we stand right now. I’m going to break each position into three groups: on the roster, still fighting, and not going to make it. If nothing else, this list can give you some guys to watch who will be fighting for a job in the second half this week when the game typically gets a little boring. So take a look at my list and then you can tell me how wrong I am in the comments below.

Let’s get started.


On The Roster: Alex Smith, Chase Daniel, Tyler Bray
Still Fighting: Nobody
Not Going To Make It: Ricky Stanzi

The quarterback position is already in the books. The team clearly favors Bray over Stanzi. The fact that they didn’t even put Stanzi in the game last week speaks volumes. They aren’t even letting Stanzi compete for it. Some have said Bray could go to the practice squad, but he has just looked too good to risk it.

Running Backs:

On The Roster: Jamaal Charles, Knile Davis
Still Fighting: Shaun Draughn, Cyrus Gray
Not Going To Make It: Jordan Roberts

I think this one might be about over as well. Shaun Draughn seems to be consistently running ahead of Cyrus Gray and Gray has yet to do anything to show he should pass him by. You add Draughn’s special teams contributions and I think the writing is on the wall. Charles and Davis are locks and Jordan Roberts best case scenario at this point would be a practice squad invite.


On The Roster: Nobody Yet
Still Fighting: Anthony Sherman, Braden Wilson
Not Going To Make It: Toben Opurum

This one is wide open. I think Sherman has the upper hand because of his experience, but the Chiefs did use a 6th round pick on Wilson and drafted FBs usually make the roster. Sadly, Opurum has probably been the flashiest of the three, but since he’s competing with a guy that the team traded for and that the team drafted, he’s going to lose.

Wide Receivers:

On The Roster: Dwayne Bowe, Dexter McCluster, Donnie Avery
Still Fighting: Jon Baldwin, Junior Hemmingway, Devon Wylie, Terrance Copper, Jamar Newsome, Rico Richardson
Not Going To Make It: Josh Belamy, Tyler Shoemaker, Frankie Hammond

This one is really interesting. Baldwin is still running with the ones, but has looked horrible. I have heard rumors that if KC cuts him that it would actually cost them a bigger cap hit than if they keep him. That could end up keeping him on the roster. I also wouldn’t fall out of my chair if they ended up trading him for a late round draft pick. Wylie has looked good on special teams. Richardson looked great in training camp. Newsome seems to be running ahead of many of the other undrafted players. Copper has special teams upside. Avery hasn’t done much, but since he was signed by the current regime, I think he’s on the team.

Tight Ends:

On The Roster: Anthony Fasano, Tony Moeaki, Travis Kelce
Still Fighting: Demetrius Harris
Not Going To Make It: Kevin Brock

I think KC plans to utilize Fasano, Moeaki, and Kelce in regular rotation. I don’t think Brock makes it and Harris is probably headed for the practice squad, but if he flashes enough in the final couple of preseason games the Chiefs may keep him active in order to protect him.

Offensive Line:

On The Roster: Branden Albert, Eric Fisher, Jon Asamoah, Rodney Hudson, Jeff Allen, Geoff Schwartz, Donald Stevenson
Still Fighting: Eric Kush
Not Going To Make It: Everyone Else

Look, I’m on record as thinking that most of KC’s reserve offensive linemen are terrible. I don’t think any of the guys that I didn’t bother to list above belong on an active NFL roster. The top seven guys that I have making it are all solid NFL players. Eric Kush has shown some promise, but I would prefer to see him on the practice squad and a veteran interior lineman signed for the last roster spot. Kush is cheap, so if he can play well in the last two games I’m sure they’ll give him the spot.

Defensive Line:

On The Roster: Dontari Poe, Tyson Jackson, Mike DeVito, Jerrell Powe, Allen Bailey
Still Fighting: Anthony Toribio, Austen Lane, Marcus Dixon
Not Going To Make It: Miguel Chavis, Rob Lohr

This one is hard because I’m really not sure how many they’ll keep and what kind of guys they want. Toribio brings position versatility because he can play NT and DE. Lane is the best pass rusher of the guys still fighting, but isn’t very stout in the run game. Dixon is a good all around DE with experience in Sutton’s scheme.


On The Roster: Tamba Hali, Justin Houston, Derrick Johnson, Akeem Jordan, Nico Johnson, Edgar Jones
Still Fighting: Zac Diles, Frank Zombo, Orie Lemon, Mike Catapano
Not Going To Make It: Ridge Wilson, Josh Martin, Darin Drakeford

This is another one where I’m not sure how many they’ll take. I’m guessing at least 8 because reserve LBs often are key special teams players. The only surprise on my “on the roster” list may be Edgar Jones. I think Jones has made enough plays on defense that when combined with his special teams play have his spot secured. I think Zac Diles special teams play will ultimately win him a spot as well. Catapano has been hurt and probably needs to get on the field and outperform Frank Zombo in order to avoid the practice squad.

Defensive Backs:

On The Roster: Brandon Flowers, Sean Smith, Dunta Robinson, Eric Berry, Kendrick Lewis, Quintin Demps, Jalil Brown
Still Fighting: Husain Abdullah, Neiko Thorpe, Tysyn Hartman, Kennard Cox, Bradley McDougald, Ortha Foster, Sanders Commings
Not Going To Make It: Vince Agnew, Greg Castillo, Semaj Moody, Kamaal McIlwain, Malcolm Bronson

I decided to combine the defensive backs because there is some overlap in terms of where guys play in the sub packages. The top five players listed are no brainers. I think Demps has had a strong camp and sealed his place with that kick return TD against the 49ers. Jalil Brown isn’t a good coverage CB, but the Chiefs have very little depth at that position and Brown is great on special teams. Sanders Commings is hard to factor in because I don’t know when he may be back from injury. If they feel they don’t need him this season, don’t be surprised if they put him on IR just to protect him and save a roster spot. Keep an eye on CB Kennard Cox who was just signed last week. He was on Seattle’s 53 man roster last season. Abdullah will likely make it, with Hartman, McDougald, and Foster hoping to win a spot because of special teams contributions.

Special Teams:

On The Roster: Ryan Succop, Dustin Colquitt, Thomas Gafford
Still Fighting: Nobody
Not Going To Make It: Brad Madison

This one is set in stone.

So overall I have 39 of the 53 roster spots already set. I think there are 25 players that have no shot at making the active roster. That would leave 26 guys fighing for the last 14 roster spots.

What do you think Addicts? Am I close? Do I have someone on who you don’t think is going to make it? Have I ruled someone out who you think still has a shot? I’m curious to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Stacy D. Smith

    Demps’ 104-yard kick return might’ve sealed Wylie’s fate. His only hope was to be a factor in the return game.

    • DTVTechGuy

      Agree here. Surprised too, thought Wylie was going to be a scrappy, underneath receiver in the likes of Dante. Great return guy, hands to be a good checkdown receiver but it hasn’t worked out. Too bad, guy seemed high character.

      • paul pace

        If they keep Demps, which I am pretty sure they will, I still think they keep Wylie. He has good hands and is quick. The guy that I think they should bounce out, even though they will take a big cap hit, is Baldwin. He is a BIG disappointment and it is a travesty because he has all the tools to be a quality NFL receiver.

  • scomstock55

    I think wylie still makes it as a WR. We need super quick slot type guys in this offense, and he provides that. Just in case Dex goes down, or just in case they dont want to overwork Dex.

  • micah stephenson

    Why is Avery automaticly on the team? He hasnt done anything in training camp or the games. Why ain’t he running with the ones? He will make the team becuase if last yrs stats.

  • berttheclock

    Interesting read, Lyle, but, I question your comment about Cox being on the 2012 roster of the Seahawks. He had been on the 2011 roster and had blocked a punt against the Chiefs in late November of 2010. However, I find no record of him being on either the roster or the practice squad of the Seahawks for 2012. His other years in the league were spent on practice squads.
    However, I commented early this AM over at the “Need for a 2nd receiver” thread a comment which really supports your argument about the Chiefs not really needing a 2nd receiver. Check the 2011 record of Alex Smith with the Niners and you will find he completed 273 passes, whereas, the rookie CK only threw 5 and completed 3. Out of those 273 passes, the majority of them were caught by Crabtree and Vernon Davis (73 and 67), with a major fall off to 2 RBs and the FB, then, the others were divided amongst several different receivers and the other TE. So, AS really did concentrate on his top wide out and his best TE.

  • berttheclock

    As Baldwin is signed through 2014, cutting him prior to the season would cost them dead money for this year and next year. Trading him would be a far better option, if it could be done.

  • Chris Tarrants

    I really hope that somehow they find a way to have Hemmingway, Richardson and Wylie all three standing on the sidelines this year. How redicilous would that be? Pure speed for special teams and great hands to play opposite of Bowe. We have to pay Bsldwin but we don’t have to play him

    • Chris Tarrants

      Oh and if Austen Lane doesn’t make the team I will be really shocked and disappointed, he has shown nothing but hustle and determination all offseason

  • Jason Seibel

    Great read, Lyle, and I think you’re spot on with your picks. In fact, I can’t find a single pick that I disagree with. And great point about trading Baldwin if he can’t figure this thing out. I would gladly take a 6th round pick for him to clear his cap money off the table and declare the failure of Scott Pioli complete.

    • Chris Tarrants

      I am glad we have the staff we have now but I really liked that hateful little spark plug we sent to Pitt, if anyone can FIX Baldwin it would be Haley! See Bowe, and Fitz

      • berttheclock

        Pittsburgh only went with 4 wide outs last year, with Wallace. Marcus Wheaton, the 3rd round pick from Oregon State, is expected to step into his place. Haley is already working with Brown, Samuels (SIC?) and Cotchery, so, I don’t know if Tomlin would make the trade. My hope is he would and the Chiefs could leave him in Pittsburgh.

    • berttheclock

      The more I think of Pioli, I’m reminded of a line from Dylan’s “Don’t think twice” of the early sixties. It is “you just sorta wasted my precious time”. Yeah, Pioli did sort of waste all of our precious time and several of the Chiefs’ players as well.

  • tm1946

    Solid article, wish I could disagree but…..

    One wild card, Reid’s first season with the Chiefs. He could make moves while he “gets his players in positions he wants”. Run a Baldwin or keep an unknown and the media and most of us would cut him tons of slack THIS YEAR.

    PS who would give anything for Baldwin anyway? Might as well see if one more set of coaches can turn this pig’s ear into a silk purse.

    • Chris Tarrants

      Looks like the 9ers would lol I am trying to find the money that is owed to Jenkins because I have a feeling we made that trade so that if we need to we could then cut him and avoid the huge financial blow that Baldwin would have created.

  • Soda pop624

    Baldwin traded!!!

  • Michael Shaw

    I am sorry, did you see a different game Friday? I thought Bray looked like crap, OL notwithstanding!

    • Cardinalsarelame .

      They are rigging the QB battle by giving Bray too much time on the playing field and making him look good (even though that seems impossible at this point). He’s a complete disaster, just look at Tennessee. It’s Tyler Palko all over again! Why do KC teams insist on putting this much stock in young players with 0 potential?

  • Joe Myers

    Just traded for aj Jenkins traded baldwin

  • Randy5k

    Top quality read, Lyle. I think Chase Daniels is a quality backup I hope we keep him.

  • Cardinalsarelame .

    The QB “battle” is a joke! Stanzi has looked 10 times better than Bray, and has also looked better than Daniel. The Chiefs are once again rigging their position battles. I can’t wait for Stanzi to be cut and go to a team that knows what they’re doing.

    • KCMikeG

      Agreed. Not sure why they don’t want to have a real competition. Stanzi knows the playbook inside and out vs Bray being a big arm with no brain. Brokie Croyle was a big arm and you see what that got us. I just don’t see what anyone likes in Daniels and Bray. Just once they should let Stanzi play with the #1′s or at least the #2′s instead of only getting run for his life time behind the OL that Lyle didn’t even bother naming. You can’t judge a QB when the OL is a sieve.

  • KCMikeG

    Nice work Lyle. I mostly agree but differ on a few points.

    At RB Gray has much more upside and returned a kick for 26 yards vs SF while Draughn hasn’t returned a kick yet. Neither of them have a ST tackle.

    IMO Hemingway should be the #3 WR unless Avery suddenly shows up. Wylie will make the roster from the success he has had on returns (6/106yards).

    At TE you are spot on that they will rotate the top 3 players. Harris, while a great story and a gifted athlete, hasn’t been able to catch the ball.

    Tough choices at LB as we have great starters with good back up depth with Diles & Zombo. Not surprised at all by Edgar Jones being on your list as he came on strong as the year ended last year and looks to contribute at LB & on ST’s. Shame we can’t keep more as Wilson & Martin both have shown promise making plays in camp & in garbage time during the preseason games.

    At DB I would take Abdullah, Hartman, Cox, McDougald or Foster ove Brown. yes he has made some ST plays but only Agnew is worse in coverage than Brown. If Sanders Commings would get healthy it would bring this position up a notch.