Tight End (3)
Starter: Travis Kelce
Depth: Nick Keizer, Ricky Seals-Jones
Practice Squad (1): Deon Yelder
Here’s our first real position battle. Kelce is a lock, but behind him, Chiefs Kingdom seems to be extremely divided on who is going to be his backup.
Almost all the talk is around Seals-Jones. There is a big portion of Chiefs Kingdom that is way too excited about him and believe he is a lock for the second tight end spot and then there are the fans who strongly assume that he will be cut.
Behind all the Seals-Jones noise, Keizer has quietly separated himself as the second tight end. He was clearly ahead of Seals-Jones in the pecking order at training camp Saturday and still, nobody is talking about him. Keizer has snuck into an almost guaranteed roster spot despite many Chiefs fans thinking Seals-Jones and Yelder are the better options.
The real question here is: does Seals-Jones or Yelder get the third spot? Seals-Jones gets the nod here partially because Yelder has missed some valuable practice time due to recent injury and partially just because Seals-Jones has higher upside overll as a receiving option. Yelder is a good candidate for a practice squad spot if he is unable to beat out Seals-Jones.
Wide Receiver (6)
Starters: Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins
Depth: Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, Byron Pringle, Jody Fortson
Practice Squad (2): Marcus Kemp, Gehrig Dieter
This is the position group that is set to have the least amount of change from 2019 to 2020 on offense. Assuming they keep five on the active roster as they did last season, it appears that those five guys will be the same five guys that we saw last season.
The only difference here is, with the new CBA allowing two practice squad call ups to the active roster per week, this is one of the positions that the extra player could be used at.
Next year the wide receiver room is liable to look completely different, so getting a sixth guy on the roster to gain some experience for next season could be a smart move.This is the explanation for keeping six wide receivers here.
Fortson is a practice squad call up for week one (and likely most weeks), meaning that he is also obviously one of the four protected practice squad players.
There is definitely some stiff competition for the sixth wide receiver spot. Kemp and Dieter are both very much in the running for this sixth spot and would both bring much more special teams value (if Coach Toub has his way Kemp probably gets this spot) to the table than Fortson.
Fortson’s receiving upside, however, is much higher than both Kemp and Dieter and, again, the Chiefs would be wise to get some additional receiving experience out there to give themselves some options going into next season.
Offensive Line (9)
Starters: Eric Fisher, Kelechi Osemele, Austin Reiter, Andrew Wylie, Mitchell Schwartz
Depth: Mike Remmers, Martinas Rankin, Daniel Kilgore, Nick Allegretti
Practice Squad (2): Darryl Williams, Yasir Durant
The offensive line is the position group that has been the most difficult to predict throughout the offseason. I have personally been all over the place having changed my predictions on the offensive line depth many times throughout the offseason, but this is looking like the most likely week one unit.
The biggest reason why the offensive line has been so hard to predict is because of opt outs and free agent signings. Kilgore for example was just recently signed and hasn’t even practiced with the team yet due to COVID testing.
It feels weird having Kilgore make the week one roster without even having one practice under his belt but, being a seasoned vet, he should learn quickly and he was obviously signed for a reason. Throughout the offseason I have been really rooting for Darryl Willams to make the active roster, but the Kilgore signing likely means he isn’t ready. With three players who primarily play center already on the roster, it seems very unlikely that they keep Williams as a fourth center.
One bold prediction that I’ve held all offseason until this specific roster prediction article was Reiter being a cap casualty, since cutting him would save the Chiefs around three million dollars. If Kilgore was signed a couple of weeks ago it likely would’ve meant more about Reiter than Williams, but with it coming this late in the off season, and Reiter still taking basically every first team center snap with single digit days until game one, Reiter is probably safe at this point.
Williams and Durant were both very sought after UDFAs this offseason though, so they both probably make the practice squad and could even require one of the four practice squad protected player spots.