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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Offensive tackle roster battle: Lucas Niang (77) vs Prince Tega Wanogho (76) vs Darian Kinnard (75)

When trying to predict the Chiefs' final 53-man roster, it's safe to pencil in Donovan Smith, Jawaan Taylor, and rookie Wanya Morris at offensive tackle. After that things aren't as definite. K.C. will likely keep one more of this trio on the active roster, possibly two as insurance depth, but the number crunch makes it very unlikely that all three will make the team.

All three of these linemen have an argument to be considered. Lucas Niang was a 3rd round pick in 2020 and has been a competent starter in small stretches when healthy, but his health has been a major issue. He's a guy that K.C. would likely feel comfortable putting in at right tackle if needed, but it's also possible that with this being the final year of his rookie contract they could opt to keep someone with more long-term upside.

Darian Kinnard was a 5th-round draft pick just last year. He doesn't have the starting experience that Niang has, but he has three years left on his rookie deal (counting this season) and doesn't have the injury history that Niang has. The Chiefs have also given him some practice reps at guard and that potential versatility could help his cause. Keep an eye on Kinnard and Niang specifically when they are at right tackle on Sunday. If there isn't much difference in play quality between the two that could be a good sign for Kinnard.

Finally, the wild card of the backup tackles is Prince Tega Wanogho. Wanogho was originally a 6th-round pick by the Eagles in 2020 and then has spent the last two seasons in camp with the Chiefs. He's a guy that's viewed as having the athleticism to play at left tackle but hasn't quite looked reliable enough to date.

Could Wanya Morris playing left tackle be a sign that Wanogho is in trouble? Since he doesn't have the power of Niang or Kinnard, he needs to show that he's the best pass blocker of the three in order to make a case. If he doesn't show that in the preseason this year, his time in KC could be coming to a close.

Next up, let's move to the defensive side of the ball and look at the roster battle for the last edge player (or two).