KC Chiefs roster battles to watch vs Saints in preseason opener

The Chiefs play the Saints in the preseason opener on Sunday. Here are some key roster battles to watch.
Jul 28, 2023; St. Joseph, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Kekoa Crawford (89) runs the
Jul 28, 2023; St. Joseph, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Kekoa Crawford (89) runs the / Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
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Ladies and gentlemen, we have finally made it to the first Kansas City Chiefs game of the year. Yes, it's a preseason game, but we still get to see the 2023 Chiefs take the field and play for the first time. The Chiefs play the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, and most fans will be thrilled to watch when the game starts. Yet as the Chiefs starters quickly exit the game what players should fans pay close attention to?

Historically, head coach Andy Reid will let his starters have a drive or two in the first preseason game. Then the second team will come in and there will be several names that fans know and are still excited to watch. Players like Justyn Ross and Deneric Prince have received a ton of hype during camp and are definitely players to watch, but they'll likely be done by halftime. The starting wideout rotation in general is a fun battle to watch, but I don't know how long we'll get to see the guys involved in that battle.

Let's be honest here, as hyped as we all are to watch the Chiefs play a game for the first time this season, when that second half kicks off, the quality of football can be hard to watch. It's at that point when I need specific players to focus on to keep the game interesting. If you know which players on the field are actually competing for a roster spot as opposed to just being a camp body, focusing on them makes bad preseason football watchable.

So to help you stay engaged throughout the game I've got a list of roster battles to keep an eye on as the game plays out. I've even provided the jersey numbers for the guys involved since some of them are new. The first battle involves KC's third string quarterback fighting for a roster spot versus multiple opponents.

QB - Shane Buechele (12) vs an Extra Roster Spot

While the rest of the roster battles in this piece will be head-to-head battles between specific players, this one is a little different. Shane Buechele seems pretty cemented in K.C.'s third quarterback spot. Patrick Mahomes is obviously number one and they brought in veteran Blaine Gabbert to be the primary backup if Mahomes misses any time.

The fourth quarterback on the roster is Chris Oladokun from North Dakota State who was a 7th-round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers last season. Oladokun has run with the fours all camp thus far and when I was there he didn't even get reps in team drills. It went Mahomes, Gabbert, Buechele, and then back to the first team again.

So Buechele isn't competing against the other quarterbacks as much as he is competing with all the skill position players for one spot on the 53-man roster. Right now, there's a lot of talk about how the Chiefs may want to keep four running backs, seven wide receivers, and four tight ends. Those roster numbers just don't work and one of the first spots they may decide to clear out for the sake of space is at third quarterback.

So as you watch Buechele play on Sunday, the question is if he looks like a guy that would be worth keeping over a 7th wide receiver? Would the Chiefs feel comfortable starting Buechele if something happened to Mahomes and Gabbert or would they look to grab another veteran if that happened? If Buechele doesn't look like a guy you'd trust to put into a regular season game then is he worth a roster spot that could go to a deeper position?

Next let's talk about a battle at tight end.