The Chiefs have 90 players on their roster for training camp, which starts July 26 when rookies and quarterbacks report to Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph.
Camp, however, really gets going with the first full-squad workout July 30, and the roster will shrink to 53 before the season opener Sept. 11 against the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium.
Here’s a breakdown of the camp roster by position, with analysis.
*denotes projected starter
Analysis: Smith is coming off a career year in which he silenced many critics and emerged as a playmaker by using his superb scrambling ability. He developed a tremendous chemistry with Maclin that allowed him to make more risky throws, but he needs to build that same trust with his other receivers to fully shed the “game manager” label. The backup quarterback competition will be very competitive. Bray and Murray need to perform better than they did in organized team activities. Bray boasts a big arm but must continue to master the mental side of the position. Murray spent a week in OTAs as the No. 2 quarterback before ceding the job back to Bray. He’s a smart player who must be more accurate and needs a good camp. Hogan, meanwhile, surprised OTA observers with his anticipation and accuracy. His status as a rookie will likely keep him from winning the backup job, but he has experience with the complicated verbiage in Chiefs coach Andy Reid’s offense and has the look of a player who is worth developing long-term.
Analysis: Charles is an elite talent who looked as quick as ever before his season-ending ACL injury and is the best, most complete, back on the roster when healthy. The Chiefs don’t have to rush him back because of the presence of Ware and West. Ware, a punishing downhill runner who is at his best on inside runs, is also a good blocker who caught lots of passes in OTAs and could easily share the field with West or Charles. West is a capable runner who has some wiggle and good receiving ability. He compliments Ware very well but could also share the field with Charles. Davis, a third-round pick in 2013, could be the odd man out. He is a very good kick returner with great size and top-end speed, and he has improved hands, but his penchant for fumbling has hurt his bid for more playing time. Keep an eye on Reaves, a versatile back with quickness and receiving ability who looked good in OTAs and has the look of an interesting developmental option.
Analysis: Sherman is a hard-nosed, throwback type who saw his offensive playing time dip a tad in 2015. Remains a tone-setter as a worker and special-teamer. Millard has lots of good traits for a fullback — can run a bit, block and catch — but Sherman has a stranglehold on the job.
Analysis: This group is led by Maclin, who lived up to the five-year, $55 million contract he received last year. Wilson, the Chiefs’ No. 2 receiver a year ago, earned more work in the slot during OTAs and is very good with the ball in his hands but is still refining his awareness. Conley has the look of an outside receiver, as he boasts tremendous size and athleticism and has shown steady improvement. But he, like Wilson, must be more consistent catching the ball. If either falters, Streeter — a free-agent signee on a prove-it deal who is motivated after a rough few years in Oakland — could get the call. He has good size and toughness and can work as a slot or outside receiver. Robinson is a gifted fourth-round receiver with strong ball skills, but he must learn the intricacies of the offense to be a contributor this year. Hill, a fifth-round pick, was electric in OTAs and could carve out an offensive role if he keeps it up. That could leave Thomas, a diminutive player with speed who must prove he can be relied upon after an up-and-down 2015 season, in a tough spot. Williams missed all of OTAs because of a hamstring injury but has been productive and could be an sleeper candidate. It’s also make-or-break time for Hammond. Brown, Jones and Mathews could be fighting for practice-squad spots.
Analysis: Kelce had a breakout 2015 season, earning his first Pro Bowl nod, and he could be primed for even better things this year. He still has some work to do to become a complete tight end — his run blocking needs to improve — but he’s easily one of the best receiving threats in the league. Who plays behind him will be interesting. The Chiefs saw enough in Harris, an athletic basketball convert, to give him an extension last fall, but he’ll have to hold off O’Shaughnessy — a fifth-round pick in 2015 who missed several games because of a foot injury — and Travis, another former basketball player who flashed throughout OTAs. Parker, meanwhile, has some upside, particularly as a blocker.
Analysis: Fisher gained more confidence and started playing with more aggressiveness last season. If he’s ever going to take the next step, this is the year. He needs to work on his technique in pass protection but he has the size and feet to be a very good left tackle. The Chiefs will also need to make a decision on his contract for 2017, so he’ll also be motivated. The starting right tackle is Schwartz, who was the Chiefs’ biggest offseason acquisition. He is steady, reliable and elite at what he does. Reid figured to work into the mix as a swing tackle or possible starter at guard, but it will be interesting to see who plays left tackle if Fisher gets hurt at some point.
Analysis: There will be competition at guard over the next few months. Duvernay-Tardif returns as the presumptive starter at right guard; he’s raw and still learning the game but he boasts good size, smarts and athleticism. Ehinger is a good technician who needs to get a bit stronger, but the staff liked him enough to bump him ahead of Fulton with the first team at left guard during OTAs. Fulton and Reid, who looked good in his snaps at guard last season, could factor into the mix if either presumptive starter disappoints. Also keep an eye on Pughsley, who had good enough feet to play some tackle the past two years.
Analysis: Morse, a second-round pick a year ago, is back and ready to build on a very solid rookie season. He’s smart, tough and athletic, and has a very bright future. He’s even gotten stronger this year. He just needs to stay healthy; he had two concussions last season. Nowak started seven games with the Seahawks last year before losing his job, but he offers an experienced option. But Fulton — who started three games at center last season — could be the best backup option for Morse. His skillset fits the position well.
Analysis: The Chiefs boast one of the best pairs of 3-4 defensive ends in Bailey and Howard, who both offer some pass-rush ability and are in the middle of their primes. The offseason return of Howard was a pleasant surprise, seeing as how he seemed prime to get a big offer on the free-agent market, but he signed a two-year deal that will allow him hit free agency again when he’s 29 and potentially get one last payday. Williams, who is built like a classic 3-4 end, was a rotational player a year ago and could take on a bigger role thanks to the retirement of Mike DeVito. Nunez-Roches, a sixth-round pick a year ago, is a gap-shooter who could also help out on passing downs.
Analysis: Poe dealt with some back issues that kept him out of training camp last year, but he played the entire season. He now says he feels great, and he will need to — he’s entering a contract season and is in line for a significant raise with another nice year. The Chiefs selection of Jones with their first pick adds depth to their interior defensive line and provides a contingency plan if they can’t afford to keep Poe. Jones is a great athlete with good power and a terrific frame. He can potentially play every interior position. Ta’amu is a space eater in the true nose-guard mold.
Analysis: Houston is terrific when healthy while Hali still has some juice at age 32. But both have dealt with knee issues the last few years, so it’s on Ford — a first-round pick in 2014 — to step up and become the player the Chiefs drafted him to be. If he doesn’t become a more consistent pass-rush threat, veterans Moses and Zombo will have to provide quality pass-rush reps. Nicolas, a sixth-rounder this year, has some natural pass rush skills and athleticism, but is making the conversion from a 4-3 end to a 3-4 outside linebacker and might need some time to learn.
Analysis: Johnson turns 34 years old in November but he’s shown no signs of slowing down. A lighter, trimmer Johnson was fantastic in 2015 after missing practically all of the previous season because of an Achilles injury. He’ll like be joined on the inside by Mauga, a steady-but-unspectacular player who has earned defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s trust. The Chiefs have some promising youngsters including 2015 fourth-round pick Ramik Wilson, 2015 fifth-round pick D.J. Alexander and 2015 undrafted free agent Justin March. March missed all of last season because of a meniscus injury but has consistently shown great coverage skills and could carve out a role. Wilson saw some defensive snaps last year as Mauga’s primary backup while the athletic Alexander proved to be a good special-teamer. Both need to take a step forward to hold off March and challenge Mauga for a starting job.
Analysis: Peters will look to build on a dynamic rookie year, but it will be interesting to see whether teams test him much, especially with the uncertainty at the other corner spot caused by the offseason departure of Sean Smith. The odds-on favorite to win the position is Gaines, provided he has healed from a torn ACL sustained last September, but keep an eye on Nelson, a third-round pick a year ago who looked more confident in OTAs and was often around the ball. Cooper, meanwhile, is still looking to recapture his rookie form while the three drafted rookies — Russell, Murray and White — will have a fair shot to work their way into the mix.
Analysis: Berry is a team leader who looked a tad more fluid last year after beating lymphoma but still does some of his best work around the line of scrimmage. He has not signed his franchise tender, however. Parker is a versatile defender who split time at safety and nickel corner last year and will be counted on to be a reliable, steady presence in the secondary. Brown, a hard hitter with an injury history, and Sorensen, a special-teamer with upside as a nickel linebacker, could also find their way onto the field. Fleming is a helpful special-teamer but he needs to flash at a new position after having a few bad moments at corner a year ago.
Analysis: Santos is a fairly reliable field-goal option who improved his touchback percentage from 32 to 44 last season. Colquitt is coming off offseason knee surgery but remains one of the very best in the game. Winchester beat out Andrew East for the starting job last August and was solid, aside from a few blips late in the season.