KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Injuries to defensive end Breeland Speaks and backup quarterback Chad Henne shake up the latest roster projection a bit, as the Chiefs front office must navigate how to handle recent developments ahead of Saturday's deadline to establish a 53-man roster.
Chiefs Digest will have one final roster projection following Thursday night's preseason finale at Green Bay.
Starter: Patrick Mahomes
Backups: Chad Henne and Matt Moore
In the mix: Kyle Shurmur and Chase Litton
More should be known in the next few days about the status of Henne's fractured right ankle. If the Chiefs expect Henne to possibly return in 2018, he must be on the initial 53-player roster at Saturday's 3 p.m. central time deadline. If he goes on injured reserve before then, his season is over.
Either way, the Chiefs will likely keep a third quarterback on the practice squad. If Shurmur clears waivers, he should land that spot.
Starters: Damien Williams and FB Anthony Sherman
Backups: Darwin Thompson, Darrel Williams and Tremon Smith
In the mix: Carlos Hyde and Marcus Marshall
The Chiefs seem determined to find a spot for Smith, which could come at the cost of a roster spot for Hyde. The lack of experienced depth behind Damien Williams poses a worry, but it seems more and more likely the Chiefs may explore options aside from Hyde for now.
Starter: Travis Kelce
Backups: Blake Bell and Deon Yelder
In the mix: Nick Keizer and Manasseh Gardner
Injured reserve: TE/FB John Lovett
The Chiefs don't appeared sold completely on their backups behind Kelce, but Bell has done enough to win a job. Yelder still offers plenty of upside, but his ankle injury complicates his status with the club. This remains a position the Chiefs may monitor the waiver wire for reinforcements, and both Yelder and Keizer remain viable practice squad options.
Starters: Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson
Backups: Mecole Hardman, De'Anthony Thomas and Byron Pringle
In the mix: Cody Thompson, Gehrig Dieter, Rashard Davis, Felton Davis, Jody Fortson, Jamal Custis and Jalen Tolliver
Injured reserve: Marcus Kemp and Davon Grayson
Pringle seems to hold the inside edge on Cody Thompson for the final receiver spot, but expect Thompson to stick with the club on the practice squad if he clears waivers. Dieter's back injury also makes it difficult to project his role with the club. Rashard Davis still holds an outside chance, especially if any injuries occur.
Starters: LT Eric Fisher, LG Andrew Wylie, C Austin Reiter, RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and RT Mitchell Schwartz
Backups: G/T Cam Erving, OL Jeff Allen and G/C Nick Allegretti
In the mix: G/C Ryan Hunter, G/C Kahlil McKenzie, C/G Jimmy Murray, OT Dino Boyd, OT Pace Murphy, G Zack Golditch and T Chidi Okeke
The return of Allen signals an unsettled situation for the Chiefs in offensive line depth. Several young players with potential including Hunter and McKenzie could still crack the roster. But last year the team found Reiter on the waiver wire, so expect general manager Brett Veach to keep an eye out for finds here as well this year.
Starters: LDE Alex Okafor, DT Derrick Nnadi, DT Chris Jones and RDE Frank Clark
Backups: DL Tanoh Kpassagnon, DL Breeland Speaks, DT Xavier Williams, DT Khalen Saunders, DE Emmanuel Ogbah and DT Justin Hamilton
In the mix: DE Jeremiah Attaochu, DT Joey Ivie, DE Rob McCray, DT Cavon Walker and Hunter Dimick
Non-football injury list: DE Tim Ward
Speaks must make the 53-man roster before heading to injured reserve, so that will free up a roster spot immediately. This remains one of the deepest groups on the team, and if Hamilton does land with the Chiefs, he will play somewhere in the NFL this season. Attaochu and Ivie remain intriguing options as well. Who plays Thursday and how well they play will answer more questions here.
The Chiefs can also use their defensive line depth as currency for a pre-waiver wire deal. That's how the club landed Charvarius Ward last season, sending Parker Ehinger to Dallas the night of the final preseason game.
Starters: WLB Anthony Hitchens, MLB Reggie Ragland, SLB Damien Wilson
Backups: ILB Ben Niemann, OLB Darron Lee and OLB Dorian O'Daniel
In the mix: ILB Raymond Davison and OLB D'Juan Hines
Non-Football Injury List: ILB Darius Harris
O'Daniel is the only question mark among this group. He hasn't consistently cracked the top five rotation, but his special teams value seems to have secured himself a spot. The club still hopes he can develop into a reliable backup outside.
Starters: Kendall Fuller, Bashaud Breeland and Charvarius Ward
Backups: Rashad Fenton
Suspended list: Morris Claiborne
In the mix: Herb Miller, Mark Fields, D'Montre Wade, Dakari Monroe and Michael Hunter
Injured reserve: Keith Reaser
No, don't expect the Chiefs to enter Week 1 with just four cornerbacks. While Wade, Miller and Fields have all had moments during camp and the preseason, none have won over the Chiefs with consistent play. Can't rule out one of these players landing on the initial 53, but it's more likely the Chiefs bring back one of these options after Henne and Speaks head to injured reserve – or the club scours the waiver wire and possibly released veterans for an answer here.
Starters: Tyrann Mathieu and Juan Thornhill
Backups: Daniel Sorensen, Jordan Lucas and Armani Watts
In the mix: Andrew Soroh and Harold Jones-Quartey
One of the more stable positions on the team, barring injuries. The top three are set in stone, and Lucas and Watts both appear solid thanks to special teams value and reliability in dime packages.
Starters: K Harrison Butker, P Dustin Colquitt, LS James Winchester
In the mix: P Jack Fox
Still hard to imagine Fox unseating Colquitt, but he's shown improved consistency as camp progressed. A definite prospect to watch for the future.