KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The final preseason game serves as a final opportunity for young players to make an impression in their bid for the 53-man roster. While several young players stood out in the team's 33-21 win over the Green Bay Packers, it's unlikely that any made a big enough splash to sway the Chiefs in their last outing.
There are a couple of changes, however, from the last Chiefs Digest roster projection. The disappearance of linebacker Frank Zombo from the lineup during the preseason raises questions about his roster standing, and spurs the notion the Chiefs may keep an extra inside linebacker or defensive lineman.
The team also agreed to send offensive lineman Parker Ehinger to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for cornerback Charvarius Ward. That move moderately shakes up those position groups, although Ehinger appeared the odd-man out for the Chiefs on the offensive line and was a likely waiver move.
IN: Patrick Mahomes, Chad Henne and Chase Litton
OUT: Matt McGloin
The Chiefs can't go wrong with Litton or McGloin, but conventional wisdom says a tie goes to the younger player, in this case Litton.
RUNNING BACK (5)
IN: Kareem Hunt, Spencer Ware, Damien Williams, Darrel Williams and Anthony Sherman
OUT: Kerwynn Williams, Ray Lawry, and Algernon Brown
Darrel Williams appeared likely to make the roster and did nothing to hurt his standing with 41 yards rushing and 19 yards receiving with a touchdown against Green Bay Thursday night.
TIGHT END (3)
IN: Travis Kelce, Jace Amaro and Alex Ellis
SUSPENDED LIST: Demetrius Harris
OUT: Tim Wright
The one-week suspension of Harris likely keeps an extra tight end around for now, but Ellis has impressed throughout camp and Amaro remains a steady veteran presence.
WIDE RECEIVER (6)
IN: Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Chris Conley, Demarcus Robinson, Marcus Kemp and De'Anthony Thomas
OUT: Jehu Chesson, Gehrig Dieter, Byron Pringle, Blake Mack, Daniel Braverman, Jordan Smallwood, Josh Crockett
The last two spots are tricky to project, but everything the last two weeks suggest Kemp and Thomas have the edge on Chesson and Dieter. Pringle has made a strong case, but he faced an uphill climb before tweaking his hamstring against the Packers.
OFFENSIVE LINE (8)
IN: Eric Fisher, Cam Erving, Mitch Morse, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Mitchell Schwartz, Andrew Wylie, Bryan Witzmann and Kahlil McKenzie
OUT: Jordan Devey, Ryan Hunter, Bentley Spain, Jimmy Murray and Ethan Cooper
The Chiefs could keep a ninth lineman if Veach and Reid feel they need a backup center aside from Cam Erving. But Wylie and Witzmann were the first-men up when injuries hit the No. 1 line in camp and McKenzie needs time to develop.
DEFENSIVE LINE (5)
IN: Chris Jones, Allen Bailey, Xavier Williams, Jarvis Jenkins and Derrick Nnadi
OUT: T.Y. McGill, Justin Hamilton, Dee Liner, Stefan Charles and Mike Purcell
A sixth defensive lineman doesn't remain out of questions with Bailey and Williams battling injuries of late. McGill and Hamilton are the most likely candidates for a sixth spot.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (4)
IN: Justin Houston, Dee Ford, Breeland Speaks and Tanoh Kpassagnon
OUT: Frank Zombo, Rob McCray and Tyrone Holmes
Zombo played just 11 defensive snaps during the preseason and none during the final two games, raising a world of questions about the 31-year-old elder statesman's role on the defense. The Chiefs often grant veterans an early release to find new homes (such as Charcandrick West and Robert Golden) but they needed to keep Zombo as injury insurance. With the first four outside backers healthy, they could spell the end for Zombo.
INSIDE LINEBACKER (6)
IN: Anthony Hitchens, Reggie Ragland, Terrance Smith, Ukeme Eligwe, Dorian O'Daniel and Ben Niemann
OUT: Raymond Davison and Otha Peters
Six inside linebackers feels like too many, but the Chiefs simply have too much depth and special teams talent here. Hard to believe Niemann can clear through waivers, and he looks like a potential player. Eligwe has had a solid camp but the Chiefs seem to favor Smith slightly ahead of him.
IN: Kendall Fuller, Steven Nelson, David Amerson, Orlando Scandrick, Tremon Smith and Charvarius Ward
OUT: Arrion Springs, D'Montre Wade, Keith Reaser, Will Redmond, Step Durham and Makinton Dorleant
The deal for Ward Thursday night likely pushes Springs to the practice squad, if he clears waivers. A mild upset would be Springs sticking with Amerson ending up on the outside looking in.
IN: Eric Berry, Eric Murray, Leon McQuay and Armani Watts
INJURED RESERVE: Daniel Sorensen
OUT: Jordan Sterns
Only questions is the severity of Sorensen's injury. All indications suggest he needs until at least mid season to recover and rehabilitate from his tibial plateau fracture.
K Harrison Butker, P Dustin Colquitt and LS James Winchester
No competition for any of the team's specialists.