Chiefs vs. Saints: Defensive players to watch in the first preseason game

With the Kansas City Chiefs' first exhibition matchup two days away, here are a few more players worth watching in their Preseason Week 1 tilt against the New Orleans Saints.

Kansas City Chiefs Training Camp
Kansas City Chiefs Training Camp / Jamie Squire/GettyImages
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Keondre Coburn, defensive lineman

Last year, rookie defenders made an immediate impact and played a tremendous amount of snaps during the regular season. It's fair to wonder if that's a reasonable expectation for the 2023 draft class. My early projection is that defensive rookies will play a lesser role collectively than their 2022 counterparts.

One player who could be the exception to the rule is defensive tackle Keondre Coburn. Sixth-year man Derrick Nnadi was re-signed in March, but he appears to have fallen from grace. Last season, he played the lowest percentage of defensive snaps during his tenure in Kansas City.

There's also the matter of Tershawn Wharton recovering from a torn ACL suffered in Week 5 of the 2022 season. There could very well be snaps to go around with Wharton being eased back into action and Omenihu suspended for the first six weeks of the year.

Sunday could prove to be a great jumping-off point to assess Coburn's readiness for early season playing time. He's certainly battle-tested after logging 52 games at Texas, but time will tell if that will translate immediately to the NFL.