Here is the first look at the defensive/special teams players Kansas City Chiefs who have survived final cuts and have made the team:
Defensive Ends (6): George Karlaftis, Frank Clark, Carlos Dunlap, Mike Danna. Joshua Kaindoh, Malik Herring
Defensive Tackles (4): Chris Jones, Derrick Nnadi, Khaulen Saunders, Tershawn Wharton
Linebackers (4): Nick Bolton, Willie Gay Jr., Leo Chenal, Darius Harris
Cornerbacks (6): L’Jarius Sneed, Trent McDuffie, Joshua Williams, Jaylen Watson, Rashad Fenton, Chris Lammons
Safeties (4): Justin Reid, Juan Thornhill, Bryan Cook, Deon Bush
Special Teamers (3): Harrison Butker, Tommy Towsend, James Winchester
- Zayne Anderson (Safety)
- Dicaprio Bootle (Cornerback)
- Jack Cochrane (Linebacker)
- Matt Dickerson, Matt (Defensive Tackle)
- Nazeeh Johnson (Safety)
- Azur Kamara (Defensive End)
- Devon Key (Safety)
- Kehinde Oginni (Defensive End)
The Kansas City Chiefs made a lot of decisions today and one of the most surprising ones was cutting both defensive tackles Danny Shelton and Taylor Stallworth. Ever since Shelton was signed, as well as the re-emergence of Khalen Saunders, Shelton vs. Stallworth was one of the most interesting roster battles on the team. A lot of people thought that Shelton was a safe bet to make the team due to his size and run-stuffing ability, while others believed Stallworth had the upper hand since he brings a little bit more juice to the pass rush. In reality, neither player was safe. This caught me off guard as I thought one or both players had better shots of making the team than defensive ends Joshua Kaindoh and Malik Herring. It’s possible that one or both players will be signed to the practice squad, or even back to the active roster after other moves are made but I think it will take an injury to one of the four other defensive tackles for them to be re-signed.
I was not expecting either Joshua Kaindoh or Malik Herring to make the final roster but I was obviously mistaken. I thought that Kaindoh was underwhelming over the past month and that Herring just didn’t do enough to overtake both Shelton and Stallworth. I project that Herring, similar to Blake Bell, will be placed on injured reserve due to an oblique injury and will likely return later in the season. I also believe that the Chiefs would rather ride with the young guys than either one of the veterans, due to their upside/potential. I can’t say I blame them but I’m not convinced it’s 100% the correct move for a team ready to win the super bowl this season.
Another move that got my attention was cutting linebacker Elijah Lee. I didn’t expect this as he’s a great player on special teams and also outplayed Jermaine Carter throughout preseason and training camp. Then it was reported that Lee would be re-signed to the roster once Blake Bell is officially placed on injured reserve and now that move makes more sense.
There were no real surprises in the secondary or on special teams. Jaylen Watson and Chris Lammons made the team as depth cornerbacks and special teams players, while safety Deon Bush held off young guns like Zayne Anderson and Devon Key.
In conclusion, the Chiefs turned more heads with their moves on defense than on offense. They demonstrated their belief in young players, such as Joshua Kaindoh and Malik Herring, by retaining them over more-established veterans. Kansas City is loaded with talent across its roster this season but a lot of that talent is very young. The youth factor has a chance to be a strength of the team but it could be its Achilles’ heel when facing teams that have both talent and experience. But one thing is for certain, the Kansas City Chiefs will be one of the most fun teams to watch in the entire NFL this year.