Predicting 2017 Chiefs 53-man roster: Version 3.0

The Chiefs have finished the preseason with roster decisions looming before the 3 p.m. CT deadline on Saturday. Here is a final projection of the 53-man roster based on the four preseason games.

  • (PS) indicates the player would be a quality practice squad candidate if their eligibility allows it.
Quarterbacks (3)

11 Alex Smith, 15 Patrick Mahomes and 9 Tyler Bray

The Chiefs have arguably one of their best quarterback situations in quite sometime. Mahomes can make some of the toughest throws look effortless but will need time in reading coverage, quickly going through multiple reads, not locking on the primary read and being comfortable in the pocket. The top-ten pick likes to scramble from the pocket if his first read is not open and try to make a play. He exposes himself to big hits down the road and will need to break this habit or it will turn him into a quarterbacking piñata.

Bray has shown progress throughout the preseason, despite his struggles with mobility. The fifth-year veteran has an accurate football, great velocity and reads defenses much better than in the past. Stave had good placement on his out route and showed some mobility in the pocket that is worth developing.

Out: 8 Joel Stave (PS)

Running Back/Fullback (4)

27 Kareem Hunt, 35 Charcandrick West, 26 C.J. Spiller and 42 Anthony Sherman

The backfield could use additional speed capable of hitting the perimeter quickly but the top four positions are likely set otherwise. Redding had a strong night and showed good burst and vision when his playing time picked up from 13 snaps  in the prior three games to 54 snaps Thursday night.

Out: 40 Devine Redding (PS)

Injured Reserve: 32 Spencer Ware

Wide Receivers (6)

10 Tyreek Hill, 17 Chris Conley, 12 Albert Wilson, 13 De’Anthony Thomas, 80 Jehu Chesson and 14 Demarcus Robinson

Chesson and Robinson took full advantage of their opportunities on special teams and in the offense on Thursday night. Robinson showcased the deep speed that made him a third round pick in 2016. Chesson had a strong performance on special teams and has consistently contributed on offense during the preseason.

Wilson could potentially be in danger if the Chiefs can find an improved speed option in a trade or on the waiver wire. Kemp had a strong performance on special teams but his lack of sudden burst could keep him off the 53-man roster.

Kemp led receivers in preseason special teams snaps with 52. Seantavius Jones lacks a little shaky in his juke move but is worth continuing to develop for special teams purposes.

Out: 7 Marcus Kemp (PS), 81 Seantavius Jones (PS) , 4 Gehrig Dieter,  6 Tevin Jones (PS) , 1 Tony Stevens and 82 Robert Wheelwright

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Gavin Escobar makes a catch during the team’s 30-6 win over the Tennessee Titans in a preseason game Aug. 31, 2017. (Photo courtesy Chiefs PR, Chiefs.com)

Tight Ends (3)

87 Travis Kelce, 84 Demetrius Harris and 89 Gavin Escobar

Kelce and Harris appear locks on the roster. The third tight end spot could be down to Escobar and Travis. Escobar showcased his body control and concentration on his touchdown catch and gave consistent effort in his run blocking. Travis struggled blocking wise and followed up a catch with a drop, which has been a pattern during his tenure in Kansas City. Charles spent most of his night at the fullback position and on special teams but his 53 preseason snaps could make a difference if the Chiefs keep a fourth tight end.

Out: 85 Orson Charles and 88 Ross Travis (PS)

Offensive Line (8)

72 Eric Fisher, 79 Parker Ehinger , 61 Mitch Morse, 76 Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, 71 Mitchell Schwartz, 73 Zach Fulton, 75 Cameron Erving and 70 Bryan Witzmann

The Chiefs typically like to carry seven active offensive lineman during the season. Witzmann will likely see time at left guard if Ehinger is unable to return for the Patriots game. Fulton inside and Erving at the swing tackle positions will likely be the primary backups this season. This group will not likely see any turnover after the Erving trade and the release of Jah Reid.

Out: 60 Andrew Tiller , 67 Joseph Cheek, 65 Jordan Devey, 77 Donald Hawkins, 66 Josh James, 64 Damien Mama (PS) and 68 Mike Person

Defensive Line (6)

95 Chris Jones, 96 Bennie Logan, 97 Allen Bailey, 99 Rakeem Nunez-Roches, 98 Roy Miller III and 93 David King

The toughest decision will be at the sixth spot. King is a solid special teams performer and can help in nickel and dime packages as a pass rusher. Jenkins is a stout run defender and Thomas could help in the nose tackle rotation. The nod goes to King because of his athletic impact on special teams.

Kansas City could even keep only five and consider Kpassagnon as the sixth guy. Ali’ifua had strong performances throughout the preseason that are worthy of a practice squad spot. The arrow continually pointed up for Ali’ifua.

Out: 77 Cam Thomas,  94 Jarvis Jenkins, 98 Ricky Ali’ifua (PS) and 74 Maurice Swain

Outside Linebackers (4)

50 Justin Houston, 55 Dee Ford and 51 Frank Zombo and 92 Tanoh Kpassagnon

This group appears to be set with the four above and Hali joining the mix at some point this season. Okine showed raw athletic ability worth continuing to develop.

PUP: 52 Dadi Nicolas and 91 Tamba Hali

Out: 44 Earl Okine (PS) and 54 Marcus Rush

Inside Linebackers (6)

56 Derrick Johnson, 53 Ramik Wilson, 90 Reggie Ragland, 57 Kevin Pierre-Louis, 45 Ukeme Eligwe and 59 Justin March-Lillard

The inside linebacker position is full of athletic defenders that can help on special teams and provide quality depth behind the starters. March-Lillard finished with 59 snaps on special teams, Eligwe had 56 snaps and coming in third was Pierre-Louis with 40.

Ragland will need time to regain his health and learn the playbook. Wilson will reap the benefits of that situation as the starter until Ragland is up to speed. Pierre-Louis was a strong performer on special teams and provides quality depth behind Johnson.

Eligwe had a very strong showing during the Titans game and can make an immediate impact on special teams. March-Lillard almost had three blocked punts, a crucial block that sprung Chesson on his punt-return touchdown and was consistently shooting the gap in the backfield. Smith needs more time to develop on the practice squad but has good athletic ability.

Out: 48 Terrance Smith (PS)

Cornerbacks (5)

22 Marcus Peters, 39 Terrance Mitchell, 20 Steven Nelson, 31 Phillip Gaines and 31 De’Vante Bausby

The De’Vante Bausby from his rookie season showed up on Thursday night. Bausby looked much quicker, he was in the receiver’s hip pocket and almost had an interception. He outperformed Acker and White despite Acker getting 74 defensive snaps and White receiving to Bausby’s 50. Acker is solid on special teams and had some good open field tackles. White doesn’t appear to have built on the promise he had coming out of college. Hartfield was very aggressive on Thursday night and worth an investment on the practice squad.

Out: 27 Kenneth Acker, 24 D.J. White (PS) , 26 Jacoby Glenn, 47 Trevon Hartfield (PS)  and 40 Larry Scott

Injured Reserve: 6 Ashton Lampkin

Safeties (5)

29 Eric Berry, 38 Ron Parker, 49 Daniel Sorensen, 21 Eric Murray and 34 Leon McQuay

The top four positions at safety should be set. McQuay had some big hits and strong open field tackles against the Titans. Terrell put together good tape to make an NFL roster. The Chiefs just have higher capital invested in Murray and McQuay.

Out: 25 Steven Terrell

Specialist (3)

2 Dustin Colquitt, 5 Cairo Santos and 41 James Winchester

The players above should be locked in unless Santos is unavailable to go against New England.

Out: 1 Sam Ficken

Final Breakdown

Offense: 24

Defense: 26

Special Teams: 3

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Nick Jacobs is a contributing writer for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @Jacobs71.

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