The Chiefs have released a depth chart in preparation for their first preseason game, a home game against Cincinnati on Thursday. Here it is, followed by some quick thoughts.
Let’s start with the receivers. The top four are Bowe, Avery, Jenkins and Hemingway. No shock. I do think it’s interesting that Kyle Williams and Albert Wilson are the next men up, followed by Frankie Hammond and Jerrell Jackson. Fred Williams and Weston Dressler are the next pair, followed by Deon Anthony and Mark Harrison. Darryl Surgent is last on the list.
The fact Kyle Williams and Wilson, who have both had strong camps, are listed ahead of Hammond is a good thing, at least for them. Hammond has had a terrific camp, in my opinion, so those guys are doing something right.
Harrison is listed behind Dressler, but that’s likely because he’s been hurt recently. He’s flashed the ability to use his size and make tough catches.
Rookie sixth-round pick Zach Fulton is the starter at right guard instead of Rishaw Johnson, and that’s not a surprise. Fulton has earned most of the first-team snaps in practice. Jeff Linkenbach getting the nod at second-team left guard is a surprise, though. Ricky Henry, who is listed as the third-teamer by Fulton and Johnson, has been getting some first-team reps at left guard whenever starter Jeff Allen kicks out to tackle.
J’Marcus Webb is listed as the backup left tackle while Ryan Harris is listed as the backup right tackle, but this could easily be flipped. I can’t even remember seeing Webb earn any work on the left side in practice.
Rookie fourth-rounder De’Anthony Thomas, who has had an excellent camp, is getting the nod at third-team running back ahead of Cyrus Gray. Gray brings value as a special teamer but Thomas’ surprising ability to handle some carries as a traditional running back could make it difficult for him to make the team.
The quarterbacks are listed the exact way they’ve been taking snaps all camp — Alex Smith, Chase Daniel, Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray. No surprise.
Vance Walker, who was signed to a three-year, $13 million contract this offseason, is listed as the second-team nose tackle behind Dontari Poe. Don’t read too much into it, though — he will play. The Chiefs hope their defensive-line depth helps mask some of their other deficiencies, and it just might. Poe is a stud, DeVito is great against the run and Bailey is looking like a potential a three-down player thanks to his new bulk.
The Chiefs just signed veteran Josh Mauga last week but he’s already listed as a second-team inside linebacker, alongside James-Michael Johnson. This can’t be a good sign for 2013 fourth-round pick Nico Johnson, who has dropped some weight since last season but hasn’t been able to make a dent on the depth chart. He probably needs to pick it up if he wants to make the roster, and quickly.
Frank Zombo is listed as a second-team outside linebacker, but second-year pro Josh Martin has gotten more reps in practice, it seems. Maybe it’s a case of the staff wanting to see what Martin can do, whereas they already know what a veteran like Zombo brings to the table.
Sean Smith is listed as the second-team cornerback behind Marcus Cooper and Ron Parker. I’d be a little surprised if he doesn’t earn his starting job back at some point this season but the Chiefs appear to be serious about not handing him anything.
Jerron McMillian and Malcolm Bronson are the second-team safeties behind Eric Berry and Husain Abdullah. BYU product Daniel Sorensen and Sanders Commings are on the third team, with Steve Gregory behind them. Considering Gregory is a veteran with experience and Commings is out indefinitely, that won’t last long.
Ryan Succop got the nod at first-team kicker instead of the rookie Cairo Santos. This battle will continue to go on but Santos will have to take the job.
De’Anthony Thomas is listed as the first-team punt returner and second-team kick returner behind Knile Davis. He’ll get his touches.
I think it’s interesting that Frankie Hammond is the second-team punt returner and third-team kick returner, while rookie Albert Wilson isn’t even listed on either. Special teams coach Dave Toub has repeatedly praised Wilson, so I’m not sure how much I’d read into this. He’ll get his chances on both.