Five KC Chiefs who need a strong preseason to save their jobs

Kansas City Chiefs Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas City Chiefs Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /
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KC Chiefs. Khalen Saunders
KC Chiefs. Khalen Saunders. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

Khalen Saunders

Khalen Saunders was a third round pick for the Chiefs in the 2019 NFL Draft. During his three years with the team Saunders has appeared in less than 50% of the team’s games and started just five. Simply put, despite not having a long term solution at defensive tackle next to Chris Jones, the Chiefs simply haven’t trusted Saunders with regular snaps or a meaningful role in the defensive line rotation.

I think it’s safe to assume that Chris Jones will play a ton in his regular role. Derrick Nnadi will be used as more of a run stopping defensive tackle. The Chiefs have Tershawn Wharton and Taylor Stallworth as options as penetrating defensive tackles. So where does that leave Saunders?

Saunders has the size and build to be a good run stopping defensive tackle, but the Chiefs have seemed much more comfortable with Nnadi in that role. Saunders also has good athleticism for a man his size, but he hasn’t been able to get snaps ahead of Wharton on passing downs.

This could be Saunders last chance to prove he deserves to be on this roster and earn some kind of spot in the rotation. Taylor Stallworth has missed practice recently with a knee issue and that could be just the opening that Saunders needs. Saunders has the upside to be a better all around player than either Nnadi or Wharton who are pretty much always going to fill a specific role. The question is, can he do it? When the Chiefs play the Bears on Saturday it could be one of his last chances to prove that he can.

Next up, a veteran defensive back that might be losing his spot to younger players.