3 Kansas City Chiefs who can help their roster case this week

Every passing day is another day closer to the dreaded 53-man roster cuts.

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Malik Herring

I loved Malik Herring coming out of college. He had the SEC pedigree that fans love, the physical tools the scouts adore, and was available for pennies on the draft dollar after his injury. That was in 2021. After seeing limited action in 2022, Herring can plant his flag in a young defensive end group by excelling this week.

Herring came to Kansas City in 2021 as an undrafted free agent but did not see any football action. After all, he was still recovering from a torn ACL he suffered during Senior Bowl practices. It was a terrible time for his injury and likely was the key factor in him not getting drafted. He started the 2022 season fully healthy and on the Chiefs initial roster. He made his NFL debut in Week 3 and then appeared in six more games throughout the season. Not a terrible first season for an undrafted player, but not exemplary either.

Herring had seven combined tackles in 88 defensive snaps last season, but no pressures or sacks really had me concerned about his pass-rushing chops. But his performance against the Saints got my hopes up about how he can help this Chiefs defense this season.

Herring had two pressures and no missed tackles in 31 snaps against the Saints. His 89.8 defensive PFF grade in that game was a big improvement from his 2022 preseason showings, which added up to a 62.5 grade. But that is just PFF. Watching Herring against the Saints, he was not dominant but still stood out on the Chiefs' defensive line. The unit struggled to get pressure at times, but Herring performed well against the backup Saints.

Herring doesn't need to go out and have a Pro Bowl season in 2023. He just needs to provide the depth that helps in cases of injury and also allows Joe Cullen time to develop young players. The team cannot afford to play rookies like Keondre Coburn or BJ Thompson too soon. Herring has been here, gotten the rookie nerves out of his system, and knows the system well. But he still needs to earn his spot. If the Chiefs play it safe on Arizona's unstable field, Herring should see another big day in snaps. Now he has to turn those snaps into something.