Kansas City Chiefs roster: Which players did not like the 2015 NFL Draft?
By Ben Almquist
The 2015 NFL Draft is in the books. Now is the time when fans turn to boundless optimism as they espouse their beliefs that a sixth-round rookie was the missing piece in a Super Bowl run, or how the guy they got in the third round is likely going to be an All Pro for years to come. Hey, I get it, folks are excited about the unknown. And it’s certainly a good thing to be optimistic about your team’s chances.
However, there is another part to the draft, one that often doesn’t get talked about, at least not directly. This part of the draft is the inevitable cutting of players as the teams begin to move toward their final 53-man rosters. This year, the Chiefs ended up with nine draft picks. If we assume that all of those players make the team, that means nine players who were projected on the final roster just a few days ago, are now staring down unemployment.
Here are some of the Chiefs players who are officially fighting for their jobs now:
Marcus Cooper’s fast start in KC has cooled off dramatically as he has fallen on the depth chart. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
1. Marcus Cooper, cornerback: When your team adds two players to your position group in the first three rounds, it isn’t good news to be at the bottom of the depth chart. Marcus Cooper had an impressive debut season in 2013 with the Chiefs, but had his weaknesses exposed by Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Things went downhill for Cooper after that. To make matters worse, Cooper’s benching much of the 2014 season is a pretty good indication that he had still not fixed those issues.
Phillip Gaines took Cooper’s starting position last season, and Jamell Flemming took the top backup spot. With Marcus Peters and Steven Nelson coming into the mix, Cooper will now be fighting for a roster spot. He will need to show that he has worked on his problems, otherwise the Chiefs will likely consider the potential of other young corners as more valuable than the production of Cooper.
2. James Michael-Johnson, linebacker: There was a lot of hope placed in Johnson’s ability after he showed up well into the season finale in 2013. However, when placed in a full-time starting gig, things did not go well at all. The Chiefs added a pair of inside linebackers in the middle rounds of the draft in Ramik Wilson and DJ Alexander, which means there will definitely be competition for the backup job.
Johnson was already under fire, and the Chiefs had shown he wasn’t likely in the starting mix when they re-signed Josh Mauga. Ramik Wilson is a potential starter down the line, and Alexander is your prototypical special teams and depth player at linebacker. That doesn’t leave many potential spots for Johnson to find a home on the Chiefs roster.
Next: Shake-up with the receivers?