Building a roster for the regular season depends on more than just the NFL Draft.
And the Kansas City Chiefs coaching staff will use the next month to evaluate the 90-man offseason roster before settling on the initial 53-man roster.
Training camp and preseason games offer plenty of competition for players jockeying for position on the depth chart, often resulting in players flying under the radar seizing opportunities.
Here are five such players who are in position to turn heads when the pads come on:
Tight end Ross Travis – At 6-7, 235 pounds, Travis has the size, but the converted college basketball player out of Penn State is still raw. He spent time on the Chiefs practice squad in 2015, so that certainly helped his development. Travis also spent part of the offseason working out with quarterback Aaron Murray and center Mitch Morse in Georgia, and that experience provided results throughout organized team activities (OTAs) and mandatory minicamp. While the Chiefs practiced in shorts and helmet with no contact, Travis consistently made plays and looked smooth catching passes. The Chiefs kept four tight ends on the active 53-man roster the past season, and Travis could push Brian Parker as the fourth option behind Travis Kelce, Demetrius Harris and James O’Shaughnessy.
Guard Jarrod Pughsley – It should be obvious the Chiefs like the 6-4, 310-pound Pughsley, who spent time on the practice squad in 2015 before being elevated to the active roster to close the season. Pughsley, who also spent time on the practice squad in 2014, first emerged in training camp in 2015 and continued solid play in the preseason contests. He also possesses one attribute the Chiefs coaching staff covets – versatility. Pughsley can play guard or tackle, and he mostly worked at guard with the second-team unit during the recent OTAs and minicamp.
Tackle Zach Sterup – He isn’t hard to miss on the practice field, as Sterup, an undrafted rookie free agent out of Nebraska, towers over his teammates at 6-9, 318 pounds. The Chiefs are locked in at the tackle positions with Eric Fisher manning the left side and Mitchell Schwartz holding down the right side. But finding depth at tackle behind the starters is always a good thing. The Chiefs apparently like what they see in Sterup, who often found himself working at left tackle with the second-team unit during OTAs and minicamp.
Cornerback D.J. White – The Chiefs’ sixth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft has taken a backseat to fellow rookie cornerbacks KeiVarae Russell, a third-round pick, and Eric Murray, a fourth-round. But the 5-11, 193-pound White shouldn’t be overlooked given his confidence to play press-man coverage, a staple of what the Chiefs like to do defensively. White expressed his love of competition during rookie minicamp and his situation could be elevated if Murray is permanently moved to safety, a spot where Murray received a lot of work during OTAs and mandatory minicamp.
Safety Stevie Brown – From Husain Abdullah, Kurt Coleman to Tyvon Branch, arguably no team in the NFL gets the most out of free-agent signings at the safety position than the Chiefs. And the 5-11, 215-pound Brown, who inked a one-year deal in March, is in line to potentially keep the success rate going. Brown, who offers five years of NFL experience, should have plenty of opportunities to make plays in training camp in the event Eric Berry holds out. Berry has yet to sign his one-year, $10.8 million franchise tag as of this publishing.
Herbie Teope is the lead Chiefs beat writer for The Topeka Capital-Journal and ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @HerbieTeope.