Evaluating The Chiefs 2024 Roster

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With my league-wide season previews out of the way, I will analyze the Chiefs roster in depth. It is a Chiefs site after-all. How does the team look as they try to make history with the league’s first Super Bowl 3-peat?

Quarterback

Starter: Patrick Mahomes
Depth: Carson Wentz, Chris Oladokun
Cut: Ian Book

There’s not much that needs to be said about Mahomes. People are already throwing around the word GOAT after just 6 seasons.

As one of the earliest members of the Carson Wentz hate bandwagon, I wasn’t happy when the Chiefs signed him to be a backup. But the reality is that for $3 million you’re not going to find anybody that’s significantly better. At the end of the day it’s going to be Mahomes leading the team to Super Bowl glory, not a backup.

Oladokun was a 7th round pick by the Steelers in 2022, but has been on the Chiefs practice squad the past two seasons. With the new rules around 3rd string quarterbacks he should be able to make the roster.

Runningback

Starters: Isiah Pacheco, Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Depth: Deneric Prince, Louis Rees-Zammit
Cut: Keaontay Ingram, Emani Bailey, Carson Steele

Pacheco has established himself as a good starting runningback. However, after him there isn’t a whole lot at the position. Jerick McKinnon is no longer here, which is painful as he was effective in the pass game as both a blocker and receiver. CEH showed ability to catch passes, but he is otherwise not good at the position. Looking at the roster it seems as though he will be expected to take McKinnon’s spot, which will require him to improve his pass blocking.

Deneric Prince performed well last offseason as an undrafted rookie, and with Perine also leaving the runningback room that creates an opening for Prince to become the emergency back.

Louis Rees-Zammit is a former rugby star who has great athleticism, but as this will be his first season playing American football he is unlikely to see much action on offense. Instead the new kick return rules means that he could find a home there if the team wants to preserve Xavier Worthy and Mecole Hardman.

Wide Receiver

Starters: Rashee Rice, Marquise Brown, Xavier Worthy
Depth: Justin Watson, Mecole Hardman, Skyy Moore
Cut: Kadarius Toney, Justyn Ross, Cornell Powell, Nikko Remigio, Montrell Washington, Jaaron Hayek, Phillip Brooks

Last year before training camp I said that the receiving group looked like the worst in the NFL. They looked good in the preseason, but the real games showed that my initial assessment was correct and taught a lesson about evaluating players based on the preseason.

This group looks to be significantly better. Rice’s situation is up in the air due to his off the field issues, but it’s looking increasingly likely that the legal process is going slow enough for him to not be suspended until 2025. He showed improvement as the season went on last year, and the expectation should be for him to be a borderline Pro Bowl level player in 2024.

But it’s the depth chart after Rice where we saw the biggest improvement. In 2024 Justin Watson was WR2 going by production. Marquise Brown looks to be a replacement for the departed MVS. Since Brown’s average season is better than MVS’ best season, we should expect that to be an upgrade.

1st round pick Xavier Worthy is the X-factor in the receiving room (and not just because his name starts with an X). You can never truly know how a rookie is going to perform in the NFL. But considering the standard this year is “be better than Justin Watson” there’s a very good chance he meets it.

With those 3 as the headliners our receiving room may not be among the best, but it will at least be a quality room with good players on the field.

Beyond that the depth starts with Justin Watson, who has established himself as a quality 4th option or so. Last year we were asking too much when he became the 3rd option (behind Kelce and Rice) out of desperation. But assuming Rice doesn’t get suspended and Worthy isn’t a complete bust Watson will be the 5th option, and for that he is very good.

Hardman got his Super Bowl moment last year after briefly playing for the Jets. At this point it’s clear that he’ll never develop into a real receiver, but he still has a role on certain plays.

The 6th spot is one that’s up for debate. Skyy Moore has been a huge bust as a 2nd round pick. Toney had a disastrous 2023 season and it’s hard to believe the team will ever be able to trust him again even though he can make plays when he’s not making mistakes. Justyn Ross had hype as an undrafted free agent but didn’t show enough to guarantee himself a spot. Cornell Powell is a 5th round pick in his 3rd season, and his 3 career offensive snaps should say all you need to know about him. Nikko Remigio was an undrafted rookie last year who showed enough to get a 2nd look.

So which of that group gets that 6th and (likely) final spot is debatable. I’m going with Moore as he’s actually shown the most of that group despite his struggles.

Tight End

Starter: Travis Kelce
Depth: Noah Gray, Jared Wiley, Irv Smith
Cut: Baylor Cupp, Gerrit Prince

Kelce, like Mahomes, will go down as arguably the best to ever play his position.

After Kelce the room isn’t too bad. Noah Gray is a solid 2nd option. 4th round rookie Jared Wiley is an intriguing prospect who has the athleticism to really become a great player, but needs to develop his route running. Irv Smith isn’t very good, but is just good enough to be a back of the roster guy, especially now that the Chiefs have moved away from having a fullback.

Offensive Line

Starters: Kingsley Suamataia, Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey, Trey Smith, Jawaan Taylor
Depth: Wanya Morris, Mike Caliendo, Hunter Nourzad, C.J. Hanson, Lucas Niang
Cut: Griffin McDowell, Nick Torres, McKade Mettauer, Ethan Driskell, Chukwuebuka Godrick

The interior trio on the offensive line is as good as it gets, but as has been the case ever since Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz both got injured in 2020 the tackle position is a major issue.

The Chiefs gave Jawaan Taylor a lot of money last year to be a solution at one spot, and while his actual play was decent he struggled with penalties (some deserved, some the result of unfair targeting by the officials). He seemed to figure out the penalty situation at least a little bit by the end of the season, so we should hopefuly see better performance there.

The left tackle spot will be a competition between 2nd year 3rd round pick Wanya Morris and rookie 2nd round pick Kingsley Suamataia. As of now Suamataia looks to have the lead, but the team seems to be giving Morris a legitimate chance to earn the job. Morris did show some promise in the handful of starts he was given last year, although he wasn’t consistent enough to be comfortable as a starter.

As for the rest of the depth, the Chiefs lost Nick Allegretti who provided quality depth on the offensive line for several years. The current group isn’t as inspiring, although both Hunter Nourzad and C.J. Hanson are rookies so they could prove to be quality depth.

Interior Defensive Line

Starters: Chris Jones, Derrick Nnadi
Depth: Tershawn Wharton, Mike Pennel, Matt Dickerson
Cut: Neil Farrell, Fabien Lovett, Alex Gubner

Chris Jones just got a big pay day, and with Aaron Donald retiring he has become the consensus best defensive tackle in the league. He is getting older, but at this point age shouldn’t be a concern for another year or two.

The rest of the interior defensive line is nothing to write home about. If all turns out well elsewhere, this could be a position of focus in the 2025 offseason.

EDGE

Starters: George Karlaftis, Mike Danna
Depth: Charles Omenihu, Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Malik Herring, B.J. Thompson
Cut: Truman Jones

Karlaftis, Danna, and Omenihu are a decent but not elite pass rushing rotation. But it will be Felix Anudike-Uzomah who determines how good this group really is. He was horrible as a rookie, but reports are that he’s been working hard this offseason. If he can take a step this season, even to just being a real rotational option, it could be a major part of mitigating the loss of L’Jarius Sneed.

As for the depth, Malik Herring and B.J. Thompson will likely to continue to make the roster, although Thompson’s recent health scare might keep him off the field depending on how long the recovery from that is.

Linebacker

Starters: Nick Bolton, Drue Tranquill, Leo Chenal
Depth: Jack Cochrane
Cut: Cole Christiansen, Curtis Jacobs, Swazye Bozeman, Luquay Washington

With Drue Tranquill signing an incredible team-friendly deal last offseason, the Chiefs had great depth at the linebacker position that helped them weather various injuries to the group. With Willie Gay gone that depth isn’t quite as good, but this starting trio is certainly good enough to get the job done.

Cornerback

Starters: Trent McDuffie, Jaylen Watson
Depth: Joshua Williams, Nic Jones, Kamal Hadden
Cut: Ekow Boye-Doe, Kelvin Joseph, Keith Taylor, Christian Roland-Wallace, D.J. Miller, Miles Battle

Losing Sneed is a painful blow. Now everybody will be asked to step up in more important roles. McDuffie is now the centerpiece of the untit, and Watson moves from depth to the other starting role. Joshua Williams then takes Watson’s role as the first man up on passing downs.

That being said, Nic Jones and Kamal Hadden are both interesting. Hadden is a 6th round rookie, but that given Veach’s history of finding diamonds in the rough at that position (Watson was a 7th round pick) he will have expectations. Jones was a 7th round pick a year ago, and only played one defensive snap outside of the week 18 game with backups. If either of them could develop into quality depth it would be huge for the team.

Overall this group will almost certainly be weaker than last year, but considering last year’s group was the strength of a Super Bowl winning team a regression to merely good isn’t the end of the world (especially with the offense likely to return to its former dominance).

Safety

Starters: Justin Reid, Bryan Cook
Depth: Chamarri Conner, Deon Bush, Jaden Hicks
Cut: Nazeeh Johnson, Trey Dean

With Mike Edwards leaving, 2nd year Chamarri Conner should take his place as the guy who rotates with Bryan Cook in the secondary. Deon Bush will also continue to get some snaps as quality depth. Nazeeh Johnson played entirely special teams last year as a 7th round rookie, and that will likely be his role again.

Overall this group is decent, but not the strength of the team.

Update: I made a mistake putting Nazeeh Johnson over Jaden Hicks originally. As a 4th round pick, Hicks should be expected to make the team and will hopefully prove to be actually effective on defense, while Johnson has been entirely a special teams player. Johnson will be cut unless they decide to keep 6 safeties.

Special Teams

Kicker: Harrison Butker
Punter: Matt Araiza
Long Snapper: James Winchester

Butker had a down year last year, which was likely due to injury. He should be able to return to top 5 kicker form.

Tommy Townsend followed up a 1st team All Pro season with a dud, so he is gone and replaced with “punt god” Matt Araiza. Araiza was a 6th round pick by the Bills two years ago, but he never saw the field as he was accused of a very serious rape. He has been proven innocent though, so now he returns to the league with the Chiefs. He has a huge leg, but has questions about his touch. Personally in the modern NFL flipping the field is most important in my opinion, so I’m happy with the signing.

James Winchester returns as the long snapper. He joined the team a couple years after Kelce, so when Kelce retires Winchester will be the longest tenured Chief.

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KCChef
07/08/2024 11:04 pm

Pre-TC Thoughts :
TE Baylor Cupp
The 6-foot-6, 260-pound Cupp signed with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent back in May after recording 453 offensive snaps in 2023, which led all Texas Tech tight ends. He caught 11 passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns on the year, but his primary role was as a blocker. In fact, 70 percent of Cupp’s offensive snaps last season were in a blocking capacity, with 263 of those snaps occurring on rushing plays.
Prior to joining the Red Raiders in 2022, Cupp spent three seasons at Texas A&M.
( As AR Lubbs Him Some Blocking TE’s ( Now Favored over the FB Position ) I think he’s got a shot for the 4th TE Spot if he can beat out ( the oft injured ) Irv Smith … See his later Alma Mater for MVPat’s Two Cents ! … ; )
( PS @ least ! … ; )

rip58
07/08/2024 4:49 pm

No summary, I skipped to the end for a summary? ….. 😀

Who’s ready for some football, thx Tony..

rip58
Reply to  rip58
07/08/2024 4:52 pm

And is Andy bringing back the fullback position this year, I believe he will..

rip58
Reply to  rip58
07/08/2024 5:41 pm

I forgot how many awesome players we have on this team, young players. Veach and Andy have done incredible job of loading this roster….hopefully the can keep it going, you can make a few mistakes with Pat at QB but with the defense finally there ,it will be nice to see some production from the offense.

NovaChiefs
07/08/2024 1:25 pm

I’m going full on fandom and saying Remigio makes the team. I think they cut bait with Moore. Unless he shows a LOT, he’s just a drag on the position group. Maybe he goes somewhere and starts fresh, with a less than stellar QB so his own shortcomings aren’t so obvious, and makes a career as a backup. I just don’t think it’s going to be here

upamtn
07/08/2024 12:42 pm

agree on 99% and not sure about the other 1% … Remigio maybe stays on instead of Toney? Moore or Toney do KR or PR instead of The Soccer Guy?

we’ll find out soon

or eventually

NovaChiefs
Reply to  upamtn
07/08/2024 1:26 pm

He has Toney as a cut. I agree with Remigio, from what I’ve heard so far.

hoosierchief
Reply to  upamtn
07/08/2024 5:02 pm

isnt there a rule that they get an extra spot for the international guys?

Snafu
Reply to  hoosierchief
07/08/2024 6:13 pm

Yes

Straybrit
Reply to  hoosierchief
07/08/2024 7:06 pm

Which is why he’s pretty much a lock to make the team. As long as he has some use – and his kickoff returns could well be exceptional – he’s in.

Snafu
Reply to  Straybrit
07/08/2024 9:20 pm

that’s it

upamtn
Reply to  hoosierchief
07/08/2024 8:07 pm

yeah, I think so

dunno when where, but I thought I read Deneric Prince was let go (maybe?)

Team Player
07/08/2024 11:21 am

Not a lot of questions on the roster, and you didn’t try to get cute. Kudos.

I disagree about Skyy Moore (Remigio, maybe?) and Nazeeh Johnson (Hicks) but generally agree.

Thinking about WR (and ST being a huge reason why I see Skyy going bye) I am wondering what impact the new kickoff rules will have on roster construction

Team Player
Reply to  Tony Sommer
07/08/2024 12:18 pm

Name the gunners. That’s why I think a WR needs to also be ST, and neither Moore nor Toney deign to work on special teams

Might be DB tho.

Last edited 6 days ago by Team Player
Nasrani
Reply to  Tony Sommer
07/08/2024 2:45 pm

If Skyy’s the limit, I think Remigio makes the team.

All kidding(?) aside, I didn’t see Skyy Moore do anything positive that was noteworthy after the midpoint of last season.

NovaChiefs
Reply to  Team Player
07/08/2024 1:27 pm

Clearly, my picking Remigio to make it is not all that bold. You, me, and Ups all agree he’ll make it. Poor kid. I hope he has other skills.

Team Player
Reply to  NovaChiefs
07/08/2024 2:31 pm

I wouldn’t be surprised if that spot went to Christiansen. (Lose a WR spot for a LB?!? Yes, because we will now need short range tackling machines on kickoffs. And the Chiefs will have a boat load of kickoffs)

NovaChiefs
Reply to  Team Player
07/08/2024 8:10 pm

Yes, we will. 6 a game, at least
The punter will get tired of kneeling to hold the extra points, because that’s it for him

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