Best bets to make Kansas City Chiefs practice squad

Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Zayne Anderson Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Zayne Anderson Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /
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Some players seem like an easy call to bring back to the practice squad for the Kansas City Chiefs.

There’s a bit of a thread-the-needle effect needed to make it onto a team’s practice squad.

If we’re talking about the Kansas City Chiefs, for example, and the 16 players they will eventually sign to serve as this year’s first iteration of backups (or the scout team in practice), then we’re talking about players who aren’t desirable enough to other teams to get signed away to their own active rosters yet promising enough for the Chiefs to want them back (over other players who have also been cast aside).

This is why the players on the practice squad are promising, developmental players who are good fits for a team’s specific schemes. They’re often discount prospects with, say, a high floor and low ceiling (think Ben Niemann at linebacker) or the complete opposite (think Tim Ward at defensive end).

With roster cuts in the rearview mirror, let’s look at some of the safest bets to return to the Chiefs. These aren’t necessarily the best players who could return. Instead, it just seems safest to say that other teams won’t see the value in bringing in these guys while the Chiefs have already made some real investment here to coach them up.

Zayne Anderson

Back in the spring of 2021, the Chiefs decided to sign Anderson as a big, versatile defensive back who was an older prospect that went unselected in the draft altogether. Given that he’d spent time away from the game during his mission years at BYU, it made sense that teams wouldn’t want to sink a draft pick in him, but the Chiefs saw the potential and signed him to a rookie free agent deal.

Anderson would not only stay with the team through the preseason but would climb the depth chart from the practice squad to the active roster. He earned increased playing time down the stretch and played more than ever in the postseason. This came after Anderson made two brutal mistakes on special teams—the ones that have likely placed a scarlet letter on his chest for some fans who’d riot if they saw him back on the active roster.

What some fans believe does not matter, however. The Chiefs have been vocal about their support for Anderson and Dave Toub swore by him at the time. When you add in his increased reps when it matters most and it seems clear that Anderson might be viewed as the fifth safety on this team. If something happens to Deon Bush, Bryan Cook, or anyone else, Anderson seems like a good bet to return to the active roster.