KANSAS CITY, MO – JANUARY 12: Justin Houston #50 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates after recovering a fumble against the Indianapolis Colts during the third quarter of the AFC Divisional Round playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 12, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

With free agency and the NFL Draft officially concluded, the 2019 Kansas City Chiefs are starting to take shape. While there is obviously a lot of time left until the start of the season, it’s never too early to break down the current roster. Based on everything we know now, let’s take a stab at predicting the Miami Dolphins roster.

Kansas City Chiefs Roster Projection 1.0

Quarterback (3)

In: Patrick Mahomes, Chad Henne, John Lovett

To the surprise of nobody, Patrick Mahomes enters the season as the top quarterback on the depth chart. The reigning MVP should remain one of the best quarterbacks in the league and should power the Chiefs to another deep postseason run. Chad Henne continues to hold on to the backup job over former first-round pick E.J. Manuel. Neither quarterback is an inspiring option, but there’s no doubt that Henne is the more competent passer.

Undrafted free agent John Lovett is listed at quarterback for this exercise but is more of an all-around athlete. The Chiefs will try to use Lovett in a Taysom Hill role as a situational big play threat. Andy Reid is one of the most creative offensive minds in the league, so he should figure out a way to get the most out of Lovett.

Running Back (5)

In: Damien Williams, Carlos Hyde, Darwin Thompson, Darrel Williams, Anthony Sherman

Damien Williams filled in admirably for Kareem Hunt last season and should retain the lead spot in Kansas City’s offense. Carlos Hyde struggled in 2018 but his career body of work suggests he can be a good backup. Sixth-round pick Darwin Thompson is a good between-the-tackles running back who might take some short-yardage carries in clear running situations. Darrel Williams will continue to serve as a depth piece while fullback Anthony Sheman will continue to be his reliable self.

Wide Receiver (6)

In: Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, Jamal Custis, Marcus Kemp, Byron Pringle

Tyreek Hill will not play in 2019, so Sammy Watkins earns the top spot on the wide receiver depth chart. Watkins was a great WR2 in 2018 but he’ll need to step up his game as a larger part of the offense. The Chiefs took Mecole Hardman to try to fill Hill’s role in the offense. Hardman obviously won’t be as good as Hill, but he should be one of the top rookie wide receivers in the league. Demarcus Robinson is also lined up for his best season since entering the NFL.

The bottom of the depth chart is completely up in the air. For now, Marcus Kemp, Jamal Custis, and Byron Pringle round out the roster. Kemp has a whopping one reception to his name but should stick around for his special teams work. Jamal Custis is a promising undrafted free agent with impressive size and strength. He only had one year of production at Syracuse but could be a steal if he proves he’s not a one-year fluke. Byron Pringle looked good in the 2018 preseason but missed the roster after suffering a season-ending injury before the start of the season. Assuming he stays healthy, he could easily make the roster.

Tight End (3)

In: Travis Kelce, Blake Bell, Deon Yelder

Travis Kelce is the unquestioned star, but the depth behind him leaves a lot to be desired. Blake Bell, Deon Yelder, and David Wells are all fairly underwhelming options of equal talent. Any one of those three could end up on the Week One roster. Chances are John Lovett will also see some time at tight end.

Offensive Line (9)

In: Eric Fisher, Cam Erving, Austin Reiter, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Mitchell Schwartz, Andrew Wylie, Khalil McKenzie, Jimmy Murray, Justin Senior

The starting line is basically set in stone with Eric Fisher, Cam Erving, Austin Reiter, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, and Mitchell Schwartz. Reiter will be responsible for filling Mitch Morse’s spot in the lineup, but Kansas City apparently trusts him to do the job.

Andrew Wylie is the top swing tackle and could comfortably start on either side should something happen to Fisher or Schwartz. Khalil McKenzie is the top guard option, although Wylie could also line up inside if necessary. Jimmy Murray takes the line interior line spot while the team carries Justin Senior as the fourth tackle on the roster.

Defensive Line (9)

In: Frank Clark, Breeland Speaks, Chris Jones, Derrick Nnadi, Emmanuel Ogbah, Alex Okafor, Xavier Williams, Justin Hamilton, Khalen Saunders

Kansas City’s defensive line will look a little bit different in 2019. Frank Clark takes over Dee Ford’s old job while Chris Jones remains a star on the interior. As of now, Breeland Speaks and Derrick Nnadi take the other two starting spots, but both positions are very much in the air. Emmanuel Ogbah could easily win the starting defensive end job while Xavier Williams could move Nnadi to the bench.

Alex Okafor figures to be one of the top depth options on the line and should see time as a situational pass rusher. Justin Hamilton will hopefully provide some much-needed help in run support while Khalen Saunders will start his career on the bench. However, Saunders was a third-round pick and could force his way onto the field sooner rather than later.

Linebacker (5)

In: Damien Wilson, Dorian O’Daniel, Reggie Ragland, Ben Niemann, Gary Johnson

Anthony Hitchens is still a good player, but he is a cap casualty in this projection. The Chiefs could release Hitchens with a post-June 1st designation and save $8.5 million in cap space. This leaves Damien Wilson, Dorian O’Daniel, and Reggie Ragland as the top three linebackers on the depth chart. Ben Niemann comes back in a depth role while the hyper-athletic Gary Johnson earns the final spot on the depth chart.

Cornerback (5)

In: Kendall Fuller, Bashaud Breeland, Charvarius Ward, Dontae Johnson, Mark Fields

Good luck predicting how this one shakes out. Cornerback is easily the weakest part of the roster and it’s anyone’s guess how this depth chart looks by Week One. Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland earn the top spots in this projection, and that’s not a good thing. Charvarius Ward, Dontae Johnson, and Mark Fields round out the current depth chart but don’t be surprised if someone like Keith Reaser or Jalin Burrell sneaks onto the roster.

Safety (5)

In: Tyrann Mathieu, Juan Thornhill, Daniel Sorenson, Jordan Lucas, Armani Watts

While the cornerback position is in doubt, Kansas City should feel good about their safeties. Tyrann Mathieu is one of the best players at his position when healthy and is coming off a great season in Houston. Juan Thornhill was a steal in the second round and should be an immediate starter.

If Thornhill isn’t ready for starting duties in Week One, Daniel Sorenson will take the starting safety position opposite Mathieu. Jordan Lucas and Armani Watts will continue to provide valuable depth while contributing primarily on special teams.

Special Teams (3)

In: Harrison Butker, Dustin Colquitt, James Winchester

This one is pretty cut and dry. The Chiefs brought in some competition in undrafted punter Jack Fox and long snapper Austin Frey. However, it’s hard to imagine either guy steal the job from the incumbents.

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