The Chiefs released their first unofficial depth chart ahead of Sunday’s preseason opener with the Saints. There weren’t too many surprises, but we’ve still got several key position battles to watch going into the matchup.
Kansas City is favored to win its third Super Bowl in five seasons with a high amount of roster continuity, so we’re primarily focused on a few depth battles with starters not expected to play much, if at all.
A few key injuries have already piled up, like Kadarius Toney and L’Jarius Sneed, and Chris Jones still hasn’t reported to camp due to contract negotiations.
That makes this week particularly important for backups at those positions to solidify themselves in case one or all of those players misses time in the regular season.
Here’s a look at the positions I’ll be keeping a close eye on come Sunday.
Chiefs Position Battles to Watch
1. Wide Receiver
The organization expects Kadarius Toney to play in Week 1 barring a setback, but his injury history means the team needs a contingency plan in case he misses more time throughout the year.
Skyy Moore and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are listed as the starters, but it’s the players we’ll deploy in three and four wide receiver sets that I’m interested in.
Second-round pick Rashee Rice and Richie James are listed as the backup receivers, but Justyn Ross is turning heads with an excellent camp as he tries to make the roster. Justin Watson seems almost certain to make the roster, so Ross needs to perform well in the preseason to make Brett Veach’s decision difficult.
Fans are clamoring to see Ross on the field, and James’ experience will help give Patrick Mahomes a safety blanket. The Chiefs are deep at receiver but largely unproven, so this is a huge opportunity for the younger players to show they belong.
After seeing a littany of injuries in the AFC Championship game left the team perilously thin at receiver in a monumental game, Kansas City knows the importance of quality depth at the position.
Will Ross take hold of one of the backup positions or struggle to adjust to game speed? This is the battle I’m most excited to see unfold throughout the next few weeks.