A few players really put the pressure on Brett Veach and the Kansas City Chiefs front office on Saturday with strong performances at a key time.
With one of the most talented rosters in the National Football League, there aren’t exactly a lot of clearly open roster spots on the Kansas City Chiefs to go around for hopeful players in the preseason despite the abundance of potential contributors. Such is life for an annual contender and the guys who hope to make the roster. That said, there are a handful of guys who have placed extra pressure on general manager Brett Veach to include them in the mix when all is said and done at the end of August.
The Chiefs rolled over the visiting Washington Commanders on Saturday in the first game played at Arrowhead for the 2022 campaign—preseason or not—and it was a sight to behold. The vets were in midseason form. The offense was potent. The defense was fast and fluid. The rookies were impressive. Among the highlights was a group of players that already had a decent shot at making the roster who stepped up and claimed a role, refusing to let go.
Here’s a look at some players who likely earned themselves a roster spot on Saturday—or else they’re keeping Veach up at night at the thought of having to let them go.
Most readers of this column will likely say Fortson was already a shoo-in for an active roster spot, but of that I’m not 100 percent sure. Don’t forget that one of the more difficult season-ending injuries from which a player can come back and look the same is an Achilles tear and it’s not as if Fortson was an offensive pillar before that. As much as he’s beloved by fans, Fortson still has left than 50 career receiving yards to his credit and a quad injury kept him out of the first preseason game against the Chicago Bears.
What Fortson needed to do to punch his ticket to the active roster is to not only show he can be healthy but he also needed to regain the form that made him a difficult mismatch in crowded spaces—a la the end zone. On Saturday, he did that and more with two touchdown catches that showcased some real chemistry with Mahomes and some dependable hands when it matters most.
Fortson is going to be a real problem for opposing defenses when deployed by Andy Reid. If not for the presence of such a deep cadre of pass catchers, it makes you wish the Chiefs would lean on their tight ends more than they do.