Chiefly Bacon’s Under-cooked Prediction: The 53 Man Roster

OTA’s have started, but it’s still too early to tell much of anything. The real hitting doesn‘t start until training camp, and the real performance reviews don’t start til after the first preseason game. Sometimes all we have left to do is look forward. That’s right, I’m talking about roster predictions. Without further ado, here is my too early, sure to go wrong, under-cooked roster prediction for the 2017 Kansas City Chiefs:

The Two Quarterbacks (2)

1. Alex Smith 2. Patrick Mahomes

Right off the bat, I’m going to get a little crazy. Chiefs have carried three QBs ever year since Reid got here. I think this is the year they should go with two. They have a ton of depth to fit on the roster, Bray is never going to amount to much and, if he looks like he might, Chiefs will probably just trade him. Cutting him also saves 1.3m in cap space with no dead money. Stave should make it through to the practice squad. Chiefs can roll with just two, if both get hurt, they’ll be screwed anyway.

The Running Backs (4)

3. Kareem Hunt 4. Spencer Ware 5. CJ Spiller 6. Anthony Sherman

Chiefs move on from friendly, fan favorite Charcandrick West. He’s a guy I really like, but Chiefs have better options at RB and Spiller offers more on STs. Sherman is a leader on STs and Chiefs wouldn’t save any money by cutting him.

The Wide Receivers (6)

7. Jeremy Maclin 8. Tyreek Hill 9. Chris Conely 10. DeMarcus Robinson 11. Jehu Chesson 12. DeAnthony Thomas

Chiefs roll with six WRs again, but Chesson supplants Wilson and DeMarcus Robinson moves up to the #4 spot. DAT sticks around because he can return both punts and kicks, freeing up Tyreek Hill for more duties on offense. He’s also the only guy on the roster who could fill some of Hill’s role on offense in case of injury.

The Tight Ends (3)

13. Travis Kelce 14. Gavin Escobar 15. Ross Travis

For all the TEs they had on the roster last year, they mostly used Kelce. Assuming Demetrius Harris gets suspended, Chiefs will enter the season with three TEs. By the time he’s ready to come back, Chiefs are ready to move on. Escobar can contribute in the passing game and STs, Travis last name gets a chance to prove he can make the leap this year. If either falters, they’ll be cut when Harris comes back. If Emanuel Byrd proves himself a solid blocker, he could beat one of these two, or force Chiefs to keep four TEs again.

The 3 on Special Teams

16. Dustin Colquitt 17. Cairo Santos 18. James Winchester

No surprises here.

Offensive Line (8)

19. Eric Fisher 20. Parker Ehinger 21. Mitch Morse 22. Laurent Duvernet-Tardif 23. Mitchell Schwartz 24. Bryan Witzmann 25. Zach Fulton 26. Damien Mama

Jah Reid gets traded or cut. Chiefs need money and dropping his contract gives them 2m in cap relief. Bryan Witzmann steps up to the Swing Tackle role and Chiefs refill their depth at RG with a great UDFA signee: Damien Mama. Mama needs to keep his weight under control, but he’s strong, moves well and can be a force in the run game as an extra blocker while he polishes his game. If Chiefs can sneak Mama onto mystery IR, they might keep Andrew Tiller instead. Also, yo’ Mama is so fat…

The Safeties (4)

27. Eric Berry 28. Ron Parker 29. Daniel Sorenson 30. Eric Murray

Most stable position on the roster. Chiefs may decide to keep a 5th safety to play STs, but roster spots will be hard to come by.

The Corner Backs (6)

31. Marcus Peters 32. Terrence Mitchell 33. Steven Nelson 34. Philip Gaines 35. DJ White 36. Leon McQuay III

McQuay takes Acker’s spot. The rest of the roster stays pretty much the same. Chiefs have some great talent at the top and a lot of potential in their depth. I could see them trading one of these guys if they want to keep Acker, Bausby or Lampkin. Chiefs will give Baptiste a long look, but I doubt things suddenly click for him.

The Outside Linebackers (5)

37. Justin Houston 38. Dee Ford 39. Dadi Nicholas 40. Tamba Hali 41. Tourek Williams

Chiefs can save a million dollars if they cut Frank Zombo. Williams might not be quite as good as a pass rusher (though neither is great), but he may be a superior STs player and will probably be playing for vet minimum. Nicholas is still healing, but he has more potential than Chiefs other depth options. Tanoh Kpassagnon might need to take some reps as an outside rusher if none of these guys step up.

The Inside Linebackers (6)

42. Derrick Johnson 43. DJ Alexander 44. Ramik Wilson 45. Justin March-Lillard 46. Terrence Smith 47. Ukeme Eligwe

Six ILBs seems like a stretch, Chiefs have rarely carried more than four or five. That said, Chiefs have a lot of guys who could be something, but no sure things. LBs tend to be good STs players, so if Chiefs are going to be heavy at a particular position, this might be it. March is on the bubble for me. The greatest ability is availability, and March hasn’t been healthy for a whole season yet. If Chiefs get to the point where they’re comfortable with their starters, and the guys directly behind them on the depth chart, the lowest man on the totem pole will be the victim of Dorsey’s latest, greatest, waiver wire claim.

The Defensive Line (6)

48. Bennie Logan 49. Allen Bailey 50. Chris Jones 51. Tanoh Kpassagnon 52. Rakeem Nunez-Rochez 53. Ricky Ali’ifua

Chiefs run more looks with 2 down linemen than three, but they have enough guys who can play DT to spend a roster spot a rushing DE. Ali’ifua has a nice base and is explosive out of his stance. If Chiefs can add another 10 pounds to his frame, he could probably play DT, but, for now, he’s a pass rushing rotational DE and he’s easy on the cap.

With 53 players on the roster, I predict that two UDFAs will make the roster this year (Mama and Ali’ifua). Chiefs will probably roll with 3 QBs and 5ILBs, but I had an easier time cutting Bray than any of our LB prospects, even if it is just on paper. Competition at WR and Safety is going to be tough. The bottom guy at each of those positions is going to have to work his tail off. I expect Chiefs to make multiple trades this off-season. Though some of them will probably be for pretend 7th round picks (seriously, is 7th round pick so valuable that we have to make them conditional now?). This is a roster with a lot of potential but, if Chiefs find a way to add a sure thing at ILB or OLB, they better do it. Go Chiefs.

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Ransom Hawthorne

Ransom Hawthorne

Ransom Hawthorne is an electrician living in central KS. He's married and has two young boys. Born in KS, and raised in Tucson, Ransom spent his middle school years in southern Mexico.
Ransom Hawthorne

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  • Frank Rodela

    I know it is just OTA’s, but Bray is taking all the #2 snaps so far. This does not mean that he will be the #2 come week 1, but it gives him the inside lane. If Mahomes shows enough to take the primary back up job for the season, I could see Bray packing his locker by the end of the preseaon via trade or cut.

    • Merlin

      I think it’s a message to Mahomes. Son, you need to earn your way up the chart.

    • Roswell Incident

      As far as I’m concerned, all the better. If coaches think Bray can be a decent back up, he’s a lot cheaper than Foles was, and I don’t want Mahomes to have to see the field this year.

      • I agree with this if you mean see the field during games. What my framework is, he needs to get the snaps reserved for the #2 QB to develop, which means for me that Bray is dispensable. I do not want him to set foot in a regular season game, but I would be willing to risk a 2 QB crew and use the extra position for a player that is needed, ie, extra defender or OL. like that.

        • Roswell Incident

          That is a good point about getting #2 reps. I wonder what will happen. If AR wants Mahomes to get the #2 reps, too, it seems like he couldn’t bring in a veteran since they would need the reps to learn the offense. Hmm. I wonder what JARD will do.

  • berttheclock

    I do hope Albert Wilson will be able to secure a truck from U-Haul to take him back to Georgia come September.

    As for Mama, yes, weight has been a major problem with him. When, he ballooned to around 400 pounds, far too much was around his middle and that curtailed his lateral mobility to block.

    However, I really hope to see a stronger Acker show up at St Joe. Conversations with two friends of his in Portland indicated he has put on more weight to become stronger and has really been working hard this past winter. McQuay, in my not very humble opinion, was a huge miss in drafting. He has problems trying to tackle and lacks outside speed. The scout who “discovered” him at USC is the same scout who found D J Alexander, last year. But, I really believe his time spent scouting at USC this year was time wasted in both Mama and McQuay.

    • I could not agree more on Wilson. We have to see if Acker brings an advantage. I think you are under-rating McQuay. We will have to see and should be able to tell in camp after the OTA’s. Mama needs a huge weight loss and strength development for him to be other than a spot lineman in the NFL. At this point? I think not. DJ Alexander has yet to prove he can match up inside with every down snaps. What he brings to the table is the speed Dorsey covets and brings to Reid. Still, I think DJ is going to be a keeper.

  • tm1946

    Hope it is ok not to hold your feet to a fire over this one. I liked it but who knows what this team will look like with addition of rookies, injured from ’16, or yearly comets?

    If I could, hoping we can move from coaching favorites of Harris and A. Wilson. They need to make a big move up or move on. Also Mama – my kind of players, big guy. Anyone remember Sherman Plunkett, OL Jets. He named “broadway Joe”. On one play I always remember, Joe Namath threw a int to a KC defender…. Plunkett was the only Jet to try to run him down…. never came close but watching a tank trying to catch a greyhound was something.

    As for the rest….. Not a bad starting roster. Any chance Monday is good enough to push Colquitt and save about 4 mil. in cap room?

    • berttheclock

      Yes, but, Sherman Plunkett was a different type. He weighed far less in college and after being drafted by the Browns, he had to play US Army ball at Ft Dix for two years before ending up with the Colts. When, he arrived with Baltimore, he weighed a little as 270 pounds before his official weight of 290 was announced. However, he ran a flat 5 second 40. After going into the pros, his weight kept going up. He was even checked for thyroid problems but, was cleared. His wife did tell the tale of waking up a night smelling cheese and observing Sherman eating cheese and crackers in bed. He reported to the Jets weighing almost 330 and Weeb Eubanks made him pay his own way until his weight dropped to 310. After that, his weight kept increasing to the point Art Donovan said you could tell how much he weighed by the number of wrinkles in his throat. He said there was the 3 wrinkles which meant he weighed around 340 and then, the four wrinkles which were closer to over 360.

      • tm1946

        Knew I could hook you with him. Just the one play but I always thought that was how you were supposed to play the game….

        • berttheclock

          Love the old ways. Completely off topic, but, to the point he played those 2 years of US Army ball, so many younger folk do not really understand the times of the ’50s and ’60s when all had to serve some sort of national service. Remember Paul Horning being called up to the US Army even though he was a star in the NFL? I happened to enlist, so, I was RA, but, I served with many US soldiers (that means they were drafted). I have felt for years there should be some form of national service where young people could give back to this nation, whether by serving in the military or some other type of service. perhaps, in medical programs. Geez, some might even learn there is far more to do with your two thumbs than just tweet and play video games.

          • larry mckinney

            Imagine. A whole generation, horrified.

          • tm1946

            They missed so much. Might check a guy named Cam Matson on Utube. He talks about generational differences… will make you laugh about what we did and pretty sad with what we have now….. like TVs with foil on the antenna and pliers to change the channel and now young adults with trophies for showing up for a team/ ribbons for 11th place in a race with 6 lanes..

          • berttheclock

            or, a neighbor of ours who talked about her need to head up to Seattle to see one of her grandkids “graduate” from Day Care.

          • tm1946

            Always love the “graduate” who picks his nose or rear getting his paper….hahaha

          • Andy

            Don’t forget the match books that made the 8 tracks work.

    • Chiefly Bacon

      Monday’s got a shot, but Chiefs won’t just give him the job. Colquitt will be awfully tough to unseat. I’d give him maybe a 10% chance, but that’s still a chance. If Chiefs can somehow get him on the PS for a year, that’d be ideal, but he’d probably get poached.

  • berttheclock

    Yesterday, John Dorsey was quoted as saying he likes to personally scout players at times. In fact, he mentioned scouting Patrick Mahomes II and went on to say, he might have dressed up in Iowa State gear to do so. I trust he did not go to Ames last November to witness the slaughter of Texas Tech by Iowa State, 66-10. Mahomes II had a very poor day that day and was 18 of 26 for 219 yards with one TD and 2 INTs. One of his INTs was on a force into coverage and resulted in a Pick Six. Mahomes II, after seeing the INT, went slowly towards the back of the end zone to observe the scoring better. He never attempted to take the angle to prevent the score, but, he did survive to play another day. True leadership.

  • berttheclock

    BTW, Rod Streater has been signed by the Bills. Should he make the team, the Chiefs might have to face him in late November at Arrowhead.

    • PaulfromnorthMO

      And Victor Cruz signed with the Bears yesterday, some of these teams with nothing to lose will sign any old, oft injured guy to try and get a spark. You know, like Denver!

    • Chiefly Bacon

      Given that he was available this late, I’m guessing Chiefs made the right choice to let him go.

  • PaulfromnorthMO

    That’s as good a list as any, considering it’s still May. I really can’t see Reid going with just the two QB’s, did he ever do that in Philly? I could also see the coaches keeping Wilson over DAT, not that many of us would agree.
    With teams being able to bring two players back from IR, Nicolas could start the season there if he isn’t quite ready. Also, IMO, I hope we move on from Gaines. Even the few times he isn’t hurt, he hasn’t played well.

    • Chiefly Bacon

      Disagree on Gaines. He was really good by the end of his rookie year. Injuries have taken a toll since then. When totally healthy, he’s our most physically gifted CB. I don’t see him ever regaining the starting role, but as a depth piece, he’s got some talent.

      • PaulfromnorthMO

        He looked good as a rookie, but I remember him getting burned a lot last year.

        • Chiefly Bacon

          He was also coming off an ACL tear FWIW.

  • freshmeat62

    Can’t get too excited about guessing the roster at this point, but wanted to tell a story of our trip to the Appalachian/Smokies these last 8 days. First of all I love those hills…this is a beautiful country. The wife and I had driven about 100 miles of the Blue Ridge Pkwy, and I was beginning to get dizzy w/ all the up, down, and around that is the B.R. Pkwy, so we pulled off at Blowing Rock, N.C. and stopped at an outdoor restaurant. Our waitress had on an Appalachian St. sweatshirt, so I asked her if she knew who Dino Hackett was. Appalachian St is in Boone, NC, just around the corner from Blowing Rock. She thought a second, and then said “Isn’t he a country singer?”. I laughed (trying not too) and told her “not unless he changed careers”. He was a linebacker at APP. St that played for the KC Chiefs. In her defense, she was probably only 19 or 20, so Hackett was long retired by the time she was born…but how quickly they forget.

  • Well, agreed with FreshM: It’s early. I look at what you did and it is a nice job and view of things. I would note this: Zombo saves you a bit over a million; Wilson would save nearly 2. Sherman who is not crucial to the offense would save 1.6. That is about 5 million in cap recovery from those 3 players. Now, Sherman is in someways, necessary as you mention due S/T. He doesn’t get snaps and I think they Chiefs can figure out how to use another back in his place for blocking. He has great hands, is a tough guy and a team leader. But this is true of Zombo as well. He has made himself a Chief as has Sherman. Tough to see them depart. You know I think Wilson should be gone already. Robinson is strutting right now at the OTAs. My view? I do not thing Bray will ever be a starter at KC. It is my opinion that it is wasting the money for the #2 plus the reps and education, not to make PH the #2 QB. In fact, I don’t see Bray involved at all except if disaster occurred twice. Releasing him is another 1.3M in savings, post June 1 cut. Now we are talking some real money, overall, about 6.5M. Release West, post June 1 gets another 800k, so let’s round it out at 7M with 5 players released. None are crucial to their positions. Younger guys are in the wings except for FB. The Chiefs would sacrifice their 3rd QB which has it’s dangers(1, Mahomes integration of the offense to his thining(playbook), no experience in the NFL(neither has Bray), etc.). But the thing about it is, you are spending big bucks for a guy not to get the snaps and that makes no sense. Otherwise, why trade up to get him. It’s not as if you are betting the season on just his contribution. If Al Smith goes down, so does the season probably. PH might surprise everyone because he is really bright and is ingesting things quickly.

    • Chiefly Bacon

      Check your numbers. Sherman only saves 150k. Less than Chiefs would have to pay the player who took his spot on the roster. Otherwise, solid points.

      • ooops. you’re right: I mst have seen the left column number… 150k it is, so no reason to make him an * in Chiefs releases…

    • Andy

      Agreed. Mahomes has to make great strides in camp for bray to be gone by 1 June. But, as you said, either way, an AS injury pretty much derailes your season.
      If spiller is who the press clippings says, west will be the odd man out.
      I don’t see Reid cut. But to be honest, I don’t know much about witzman. My bet is that Fulton would be the odd man out since his skill set doesn’t fit.

      • Here is the thing about Fulton: He can block for the run and he can start at either Guard or Center, he has the playbook down, he gives you the depth at Guard and Center which in my mind and he has starter time in the NFL, all of which gives him an inside track. Now it may be same for Reid as well: He has starter time at both guard and tackle, which makes him an advantage for a “Front 7”., he has the playbook down so like Fulton, he brings things to the table that other players cannot offer.

        No matter what, both are veterans, journeymen for sure but when you are talking 8 offensive linemen, the two add something that gives them the ability to rest all positions along the line, spot start and take over in case disaster strikes.

        I think the front seven is probably set. If they put 8 men on the 53 man roster, it gives room for a young guy.

        • Andy

          Good point, I forgot how half decent Fulton was at center. You are probably right, two guys that can play any OL position, that’s job security there.

  • I wasn’t quite ready to move on from this so I wanted to present a view of this Chiefs roster that demonstrates it’s applicability to being competitive in every game and deep enough to counter stingers and injuries that knock guys out for a game or 2 and even the depth to cover a player being lost for the season:
    RB – I think Hunt will be the feature back by midway through the season if not sooner. I am not taking anything away from Ware. The sad part is West will depart presuming Spiller does what it appears he has health enough to do and as advertised. I was mistaken about the cap buy for Sherman and I really like the man — he is now a Chief. So Ransome is solid and the Chiefs are solid at RB. Now the backside of that is will West engender any interest for a trade? QB – I am with Mr. Bacon on this also: I don’t see Bray myself but I do think the Chiefs keep all three. Honestly? if we had the money I would have kept Foles and Ransome is also on top of WR… I just can’t see Wilson keeping the others off the roster, and Robinson is making waves that prove that point. I commented elsewhere about the front 7 of the OL, and I don’t think they cut Jah Reid easily. I don’t think Mama makes the 53 man roster. Witzman may be the player frame to SWT as Ransome notes and this tells me there is one position open for competition(at least for right now). Safeties are set as is the corner. I am not sure about Acker or McQuay but they will keep the latter if possible. LBs? I think there is a question on JM-L. on the front three? I think they are solid and the new guys added are probably spot on.

    Ransome? I think you did a fine job for an early look at where things will be as the players work to lock up their roster spot in Pre-Season. I really would like the Chiefs to get some cap back and take a look at an experienced ILB to shore up what I worry most about. About all I can say? Fine piece of work in my ovew.