The Kansas City Chiefs may add a free agent or two between now and the start of training camp this summer, but for the most part the roster they have now will be the one they’ll take to Missouri Western State University when they begin preparations for the 2016 season.
Here’s how the roster looks on offense. We’ll take a look at the defense and kicking specialists in a subsequent post.
Quarterbacks (4): Alex Smith, Tyler Bray, Kevin Hogan, Aaron Murray. Smith is the only one to so much as take a snap during a regular-season game, so the Chiefs are heading into the unknown if they need any of their backups to win one game, or more, during the regular season. The competition to be the primary backup will be among the most interesting position battles at training camp. Bray has the most natural ability but has missed all of the last two seasons because of injuries. The Chiefs may be more comfortable going with Murray or even Hogan, a rookie who started for four seasons at Stanford.
Running backs (5): Jamaal Charles, Knile Davis, Darrin Reaves, Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West. Assuming Charles returns from last season’s torn ACL at something close to full strength, as the Chiefs expect, this position seems set. The Chiefs re-signed Ware and West to contract extensions during the offseason after they combined to capably carry the position last year during Charles’ absence. The Chiefs don’t have room for another back after cuts are made unless they want to retain Davis for his kick-return ability. Otherwise, the Chiefs have made a clear statement on what they believe his value is to their offense.
Fullbacks (2): Anthony Sherman, Trey Millard. The job has been Sherman’s for the past three years and there’s no reason to believe that will change this year. Sherman has been a good blocker and valuable special-teams player for the Chiefs.
Wide receivers (13): Jeremy Maclin, Albert Wilson, Da'Ron Brown, Chris Conley, Kenny Cook, Frankie Hammond Jr., Tyreek Hill, Mitch Mathews, Kashif Moore, Demarcus Robinson, Rod Streater, De'Anthony Thomas, Mike Williams. For all of these bodies, the only established player is Maclin, who led the Chiefs with 87 catches and 1,088 receiving yards last season. Otherwise, the Chiefs are hoping for improvement from some of their younger receivers (Wilson, Conley, Hammond, Thomas), a return to form from some veterans who once had solid seasons (Streater, Williams) and perhaps even some help from either of two draft picks (Hill, Robinson).
Tight ends (5): Travis Kelce, Demetrius Harris, James O'Shaughnessy, Brian Parker, Ross Travis. The Chiefs, who signed Kelce to a contract extension during the offseason, are obviously content here. As at running back, the Chiefs have no new players; all of their tight ends were either on their active roster or practice squad last year. The Chiefs are interested in seeing whether they can get more from Kelce in terms of catches (72 last year), yards (875) and particularly touchdowns (5). The Chiefs are also looking for a boost in production from Harris. Injuries have set him back the past two seasons, but he could have a breakout year if he stays healthy.
Linemen (15): Eric Fisher, Zach Fulton, Mitch Morse, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Mitchell Schwartz, Jordan Devey, Parker Ehinger, Curtis Feigt, Reid Fragel, Garrick Maywather, Daniel Munyer, Drew Nowak, Jarrod Pughsley, Jah Reid, Zach Sterup. The Chiefs have plenty of starting candidates. Eight players have started at least one NFL game. Fisher and Schwartz are set at tackle and Morse at center. The interesting position battles will come at guard, where Duvernay-Tardif and Fulton started some games last year but as many as four others, including fourth-round draft pick Ehinger, could get a shot.