Kansas City Chiefs camp: Predicting the 53-man roster

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Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Training camp is finally almost here. Starting tomorrow the injured players, the QB’s and the rookies will report to training camp. It’s time to find out what these players can do when the pads come on.

Here is my first look at how the 53-man roster ends up. Starters have an asterisk next to their names.

Quarterbacks – 3 – Alex Smith*, Chase Daniel, Aaron Murray

Smith is the unquestioned starter at QB. Daniel provides a decent backup at a hefty price tag but doesn’t pose a threat to Smith as long as Alex stays healthy. Going into 2014 I thought it would be interesting to see how the Chiefs got down to three quarterbacks as I couldn’t see them keeping four. I did expect a player to end up on Injured Reserve but I expected it to be Murray with complications from his ACL recovery. In 2015, it looks like the Chiefs will have to make a choice at QB between Murray and Bray. I can’t see them keeping Bray at this point and it is possible Bray never even makes it to camp as he tore his ACL in January and could go straight to IR.

Running Backs – 3 – Jamaal Charles*, Knile Davis, Cyrus Gray

Jamaal Charles is All-World and Knile Davis is a capable back up who needs to work on his vision. Reports that I’ve read have stated that Cyrus Gray will be back in time to start camp on Saturday although I believe he will report Tuesday because of his injury. Gray is a special teams ace and plays on all four units so he will be tough to unseat from the third RB job. Charcandrick West has to earn a spot through work on special teams in order to knock Gray off the roster. Replacing Gray as a RB is possible but will be a very tough job to do.

Fullback – 1 – Anthony Sherman*

Sherman is one of the top three fullbacks in the NFL and a great special teams’ player as well. Sherman was responsible for the Chiefs ability to beat Seattle as he forced a fumble on a punt return late in the game.

Wide Receivers – 6 – Jeremy Maclin*, Albert Wilson*, De’Anthony Thomas, Chris Conley, Jason Avant, Kenny Cook

Jeremy Maclin will present a big upgrade in terms of his effectiveness in Andy Reid’s offense. While he isn’t the blocker that Dwayne Bowe was he also doesn’t have to be as he will command more attention which should allow more holes to develop in the running game to begin with. The No. 2 receiver job will be a great competition to watch over the next couple of weeks. If Conley can show the coaches he knows enough of the offense he will get a chance to start across from Maclin.

I don’t see that being the case as Reid’s offense is difficult for receivers to pick up and I think Wilson will be able to make enough plays to keep his job as the team’s number two receiver. From all reports from OTA’s and minicamp De’Anthony Thomas is a receiver now and he will give defenses one more wrinkle to defend as he is moved around the offense. Avant is a savvy vet that will help the youngsters get up to speed and has enough left to help on the field as well.

The sixth receiver spot will be very interesting to watch. The Chiefs have probably five players with a shot at the last spot in Junior Hemingway, Frankie Hammond Jr., Da’Ron Brown, Fred Williams and Kenny Cook with only Brown being drafted by Dorsey in the seventh round this year. Cook has been making plays so far at 6-foot-4 possess rare size for a receiver, if he can continue to produce highlight-reel plays and find a way to contribute on special teams he could end up as the last receiver.

Next: Continuing with the offense...