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August 05, 2007

Wild Roster Guesses « Kansas City Chiefs »

Some wild guesses based on analysis of training camp reports:

Tyrone Brackenridge is getting plenty of time as the first-team nickel back. However, from reports it seems as if Justin Phinisee is making amazing play after amazing play. Is he inconsistent, playing well on play and getting burned the next? Or is he merely excelling against weaker competition. In any case, at this point it looks like he may make the team ahead of Michael Bragg.
Benny Sapp is also apparently stepping it up to make a case for being a fully-qualified corner, as opposed to his reputation as being a nickel package cornerback most suited to covering a smaller slot receiver or blitzing from the edge. He's small, yes, but other small CBs have done very well by excelling in coverage and leaping. If there is a knock on Sapp from the past, it is that he doesn't have good enough hands to guarantee a pick if he is in the right position. Successfully defending a pass is good, but missing out on a sure INT will hold you back.
Current guesstimate of depth chart:
Starters: Ty Law, Patrick Surtain
Back-ups (in order): Breckenridge, Sapp, Phinisee, William Poole
That would force the controversial move of cutting both Bragg and Maxey; both are young enough that they could improve...but unlikely to ever be solid starters.

This is a really tough position to evaluate. The QBs seem to be making mostly check-down passes, throwing mainly to the RBs and TEs. When the QBs do finally throw to the WRS, it seems as if nearly every player has made at least one excellent catch, and at least one disheartening drop. At this point, I'd say it is a near-complete toss-up.
Current Wild Guesstimate of depth chart:
Starters: Kennison, Webb
Back-ups: Hannon, Bowe (who just signed and may move up the chart), Gardner
Bubble: nearly everyone else, most of whom have made the "play of the session" at least once: Sammy Parker, Ean Randolph, Brad Ekwerekwu, Brent Little, Titus Ryan, Maurice Price; some of these guys will be kept on the Practice Squad in case Hannon or Webb can't make it in the actual game. In any case, the pre-season games will help establish the better players, as well.

There doesn't seem to be much focus on this group of guys in most of the training camp reports. From what I've seen, Wilson is being used more as an H-back than a FB, and Boomer Grigsby is catching every single pass thrown to him, including the bad ones.
Current guesstimate of depth chart:
Starter: Grigsby
Back-up: Wilson (in a dual role as back-up TE); if we do carry a back-up pure FB, it might be Hanoian...but it would seem easier to keep a FB on the practice squad and only bring one up to the 53-man roster in the case of injury or ineffectiveness. There's no reason to waste a roster spot on anyone beyond Grigsby (who has additional value due to Special Teams contributions) and Wilson.

The starters are set: Derrick Johnson, Napoleon Harris, and Donnie Edwards. The top back-up appears to be Keyaron Fox. Scanlon likely already earned a roster spot due to adequacy in a handful of replacement appearances last year, along with his ability to play all LB positions. William Kershaw seems to be taking the majority of snaps at MLB with the 2nd team. He hasn't stood out as doing exceptionally well, but hasn't been sub-par, either. Some have rookie FA Nate Harris penciled in as the 2nd string MLB, saying that he isn't taking the snaps due to an injury...but you can't make the team in the tub, particularly as an undrafted rookie. According to reports, Kendrell Bell has had one excellent play and a handful of sub-par performances to date; the rest of his snaps are likely mediocre. He may be falling off the depth chart. Nick Reid has made a few decent plays after excelling in NFL-Europe this past spring, but may lose out in a numbers game. It isn't impossible to make the team in your second year after being rejected the first, but it isn't likely.
Current guesstimate of depth chart:
Starters: Johnson, Edwards, Nap. Harris
Back-ups: Fox, Scanlon, Kershaw

The running game seems to be doing well despite the absence of Johnson, with all the players making a strong case for making the team by contributing big runs. If Priest Holmes demonstrates he's healthy and makes the team, it just makes the situation more complicated. At this point, the main point we can use to figure out who will make the team is fumbles. Both Michael Bennett and Kolby Smith have demonstrated the ability to be credible starters, although not stars.
Current guesstimate of depth chart:
Starter: Larry Johnson
Back-ups: Bennett, Smith, Holmes, Marcus O'Keith
Although carrying 5 RBs seems a little much, the balance may come from having only one FB (Grigsby), with Smith having the ability to be a feature RB, blocking FB, and blitz-protecting 3rd-down back who can create first downs in the passing game. If there isn't room on the roster, look for O'Keith to be placed on the Practice Squad. Sorry, Derrick Ross fans: his early fumbling problem will probably mean Ross gets his pink slip.

No surprises:
Gonzalez will start, Dunn will be first off the bench to block, and Wilson will be first off the bench to catch passes. We will see 2- and 3- TE formations at least a handful of times each game. Michael Allan hasn't shown enough to make the team at this point, although he seems like the perfect candidate for the Practice Squad to get more accustomed to the NFL level of competition.

It is anyone's guess. Brodie Croyle was putting a strong lock on the starting job up until the most recent scrimmage against the Vikings. But that scrimmage showed the difference between "practice" and "live", and may have demonstrated that Croyle isn't quite ready to out-perform Huard when it counts. But there's still time for Croyle to win the job outright, once the pre-season games get going. Thus, it is still anyone's guess at this point.
Current guesstimate of depth chart:
Starter: Croyle
Back-ups: Huard, Printers, and surprise Jeff Terrell makes the practice squad.

Not much to report on the trenches. The drafted rookies are doing well enough to make the team. On the D-line, McBride will get considerable playing time, but Tyler currently seems stuck. In any case, the addition of Boone and the subtraction of Sims seems to have resulted in a good pash-rushing DL. There have been some problems against the run, perhaps...the pre-season games will make things clearer. The O-line depth chart is nearly exactly what you'd expect. There are two surprises: Kevin Sampson is the top back-up at RG, and Herb Taylor is battling to be the 3rd-string LT.
I won't make any guesstimates on depth chart at this time.

Things are going just about how you'd expect. Page and Pollard are playing well and will start. Time has run out on Greg Wesley to stop making mental errors, yet still play with the physicality of his rookie year; he'll be the first guy off the bench. John McGraw seems to be doing fine, if unspectacular. Marlon Fair and Chad Williams are the likely cuts; Williams likely brought about the end of his Chiefs' tenure by being flattened by both Derrick Ross and Kolby Smith when he tried to tackle them. But there's plenty of pre-season left for jockeying around with the back-up depth chart. No guesstimate depth chart here, either.

All predictions accurate or your money back!!!

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