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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Edge roster battle: BJ Thompson (53) vs Melik Herring (94) vs Joshua Kaindoh (59)

With Frank Clark in Denver, Carlos Dunlap still unsigned, and Charles Omenihu suspended to start the season, K.C.'s edge depth behind George Karlaftis, Felix Anudike-Uzomah, and Mike Danna could be an issue. There is room for another edge (or possibly two if they don't bring Dunlap back) to make this roster. This is where the play of Thompson, Herring, and Kaindoh this preseason could be important.

BJ Thompson is currently running behind Herring and Kaindoh because of their experience, but as a 5th-round draft pick, it seems hard to imagine the Chiefs wanting to risk losing him by putting him on the practice squad. However, if Thompson struggles this preseason to transition to the NFL from Stephen F. Austin this could be one of those phantom "injury" situations where Thompson ends up basically getting a medical redshirt. As an undersized pass-rush specialist, Thompson is going to need to show he can contribute early as a situational rusher and play special teams because he definitely won't be setting the edge in the base defense as a rookie.

Malik Herring and Joshua Kaindoh find themselves in very similar situations. Both of them have been with KC for a couple of years now, but haven't been able to carve out a role thus far despite having some physical tools that make them appealing. I believe this is do-or-die time for both of these two. If either of them can step up in the preseason and look like a solid contributor it could earn them a spot on the roster and keep KC from feeling like they need to go out and add someone like Dunlap.

All three of these defensive ends should receive extended playing time in the preseason and so when the Chiefs backups are on the field keep an eye out for numbers 53, 59, and 94. It would be really great if one or more of them would stand out as a guy that KC can rely on this season to provide depth and possibly even contribute when called upon.

Next up, let's look at the one linebacker spot that's up for grabs.