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August 21, 2007

Roster Guesses, 2007 Pre-Cutdown Edition « Kansas City Chiefs »

My Lucky 8-Ball doesn't have an "NFL Roster" setting. I thought about coin flips, but couldn't find any coins with Justin Phinisee on one side and Ean Randolph on the other. My Ouija Board froze up trying to spell Ekwerekwu. All my normal sources for figuring out the future Chiefs roster failed to come through for me, so you are stuck with my SWAGs. Which, as you know, are my Stupid Wild-A$$ Guesses. Provided for entertainment purposes only, not as a source for gambling. And, as always, all predictions 100% or your money back! (money paid directly to me, that is...)

Currently 89 players

Roster Cut-down to 75 on 28 August:
Must cut: 14
Michael Bragg: There are too many other young, improving CBs to give Bragg another year
Marcus Maxey: Maxey never stepped up his game to make the roster
David Hicks: Too many other undrafted LBs trying to make the roster, the 4th-string will be first too go
Brian Crum: Ditto
Michael Heard: Ditto, D-line edition
Chris Harris: I've never heard his name called for anything
Greg Hanoian: He might be good, but he's injured; you can't make the club in the tub. Of all the early cuts, Hanoian is the one who I think has the best chance of proving me wrong and hanging on to make the team. If not, he may have the best chance to make the practice squad. But he just hasn't shown enough to keep around when we already have 3 healthy FBs in Wilson, Boomer, and G. Harris
Derrick Ross: He may be a controversial cut; he doesn't run any better than anyone else, but we know what he can do better than anyone else, i.e., fumble
Maurice Price: We'll cut all the 6th-string WRs first
Brent Little: Another WR buried on the depth chart
Titus Ryan: I've never heard his name called
Mike Pinkard: There are enough other TEs in camp, Pinkard doesn't help much
George Batiste: 3rd-string guards are not that hard to find; in a pinch, you slide a back-up tackle over
Rob Hunt: 3rd-string centers are about the same; we still have Bober who can play both guard and center at a better level than Hunt

Roster Cut-down to 53 on 1 Sept:
Must cut: 22
This is more difficult to predict, as we still have a few more games to weed out the players who will stick from those to be cut. But this represents my best guesses, at this point. I'll revise this list after seeing the 28 August cut-down, of course. The top six are my best predictions for the practice squad, as well. The ones with asterisks are the veterans whose stock is dropping due to decent play by youngsters with more upside; but the veterans make the team if Edwards decides to go with experience rather than potential. Or another way of thinking of it is: if anyone I have scheduled for the 53-man roster goes on the PUP or IR lists, it will likely be one of the veterans who remains on the roster before a Practice Squad youngster. This is simply due to the exact purpose of the Practice Squad; these young guys aren't ready to contribute, but could help out later in the year or next year. Thus, you want the youngsters to practice with the team and learn as much as possible, so as to replace an underperforming or injured player. With the youth and question marks along the O-line, D-line, RB, and WR, these are the guys you definitely want to keep around. But if a vet can't be in the top 53, there's nothing you can do but cut 'em.
Without further ado, these are my early predictions for the 2nd round of cuts:
Herb Taylor
Patrice Majondo-Mwamba
Marcus O'Keith
Brad Ekwerekwu
Nate Harris
Keith Willis
Jeff Terrell
Ramiro Pruneda
Montez Murphy
Nick Reid
Justin Phinisee
*Jason Dunn (retire, back problems)
*Rod Gardner
*William Poole
*Kendrell Bell
*Chris Terry
*Samie Parker
Kiki Gonzalez
Marlon Fair
Chad Williams
Bobby Sippio
James Newby

Obviously, whoever is left makes the team. Perhaps controversially, I predict Priest Holmes will make the team, because he could be extremely useful as an effective 3rd down back, as well as on screens. If he can play at 80% of the level he did in 2004 and 2005 before being injured, he's worthwhile to make the team.
Another controversy is that I have Jason Dunn being cut. I know it isn't a popular move, but he has had bad knees for years; now he's missed half of camp with a bad back, after missing our last few games last year for the same reason. Some have said he walks like an old man, and looks finished. Then again, reports state Dunn is off the PUP and has begun participating in full contact drills now. This may mean he makes the team, but I think this is a perfect example of what Herm should do with his youth movement philosophy: Dunn is not the future, he might not last the year, and it might well be better to let a young player take his responsibilities. Michael Allen is a big, strong TE who has been working on his blocking, but is more of a threat in the passing game than Dunn can be anymore. Both Allen and Grigsby are young enough to be with the team for years if they can learn to block well. From all reports I've heard, both are doing quite well...although not up to the level of a healthy Dunn yet. And that's the problem, isn't it? Dunn is at the age and has taken the abuse that his continued health is probably unlikely. But if Priest is cut or put on the PUP, there's room to take a chance on Dunn for the first few weeks, at least.
Another decision I argued with myself was who would get the PR/KR position. Webb has done fine returning kicks, but the Chiefs have let Phinisee and Randolph compete there, as well. Both the CB and WR have a good KR average, but Randolph's PR average is three times that of Phinisee. Moreover, keeping Phinisee means either keeping six CBs or having to cut Brackenridge, Patterson, or Sapp...all of whom are playing more and better than Phinisee. Much the same is true of Randolph (either keep six WRs or have to cut both Ekwerekwu and Gardner), but Randolph has made some good plays in camp at times, and may well help us at some point this year in the passing game. But in even if he doesn't, if you are going to use a roster spot on a PR, you might as well choose the one with the better PR average.
Final thought: I have the Chiefs keeping 10 O-linemen, 4 RBs, and 2 FBs (in addition to countin Wilson as a TE), but only 6 LBs. We have kept 7 LBs and only 3 RBs for the last several seasons, not to mention usually having only one FB; the Chiefs may decide to keep one less at any one of those positions so as to keep Nate Harris on the roster.
Final Roster:
Specialists: K, P, LS: 3
Medlock, Colquitt, Darche
O-line: 10
McIntosh, Waters, Wiegmann, Welbourn, Turley
Svitek, Bober, Niswanger, Stallings, Sampson
QB: 3
Croyle, Huard, Printers
RB: 4
L. Johnson, Bennett, K. Smith, Holmes
FB: 2
Grigsby, Gilbert Harris
TE: 3
Gonzalez, Wilson, M. Allen
WR: 5
Kennison, Bowe, Webb (KR), Hannon, Randolph (PR)

D-line: 8
J. Allen, Boone, R. Edwards, Hali
McBride, Tyler, Reed, Wilkerson
LB: 6
D. Johnson, Na. Harris, D. Edwards
Scanlon, Kershaw, Fox
S: 4
Page, Pollard, Wesley, McGraw
CB: 5
Law, Surtain, Sapp, Brackenridge, Patterson
= 53

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