Time for the rookies to step up!
Chiefs Focus @ChiefsFocus Derek Dietz, Staff Writer @OriginalMrDietz
Out with the old, in with the new! The Chiefs have completely rebuilt their defensive backfield, mainly thru the draft. There is potential for four rookies to see significant snaps on opening night. Gone is fan favorite whipping boy Dan Sorensen, and someone I always felt was under appreciated in Chav Ward. Mainstream Media favorite Tyrann Mathieu has moved on as well. In are highly touted rookie draft picks Trent McDuffie and Bryan Cook.
In my opinion, there are 8 spots spoken for and not up for debate- CB’s Trent McDuffie, Rashad Fenton, L’Jaruis Sneed, rookie Joshua Williams, and rookie Jaylen Watson. Safeties that are locks are Juan Thornhill, Justin Reid, and rookie Bryan Cook. After this, it becomes a numbers game, depth game, and special teams’ usage game.
Let us take a deeper dive into the numbers, and see who could potentially be in, and who could be on the outside looking in:
We would have to assume that in the pass happy NFL the Chiefs will keep 10 Defensive Backs. Heck, they might keep eleven if they think it will help slow down Gabriel Davis and Ja’Marr Chase. I believe it is safe to pencil in Lonnie Johnson, as they traded for him from Houston. Some tough decisions will have to be made on DeAndre Baker, Chris Lammons, and Deon Bush. All veterans, all contribute on special teams, and all have been supplanted by draft picks or priority free agent signings.
That leaves us with rookies Nasir Greer from Georgia Tech and Nazeeh Johnson from Marshall. I will give the edge here to Greer, as I was personally surprised, he did not get drafted. Greer can play any of the positions, and figures to be a special team ace.
This leaves Zane Anderson, DiCaprio Bootle, Devon Key, Brandin Dandridge, Deon Bush, and Chris Lammons fighting for the last of the roster spots. Spags will have some decision on this, but I would imagine Dave Toub will keep the players he sees as the most versatile fit for special teams.
For arguments sake, I will project an 11th player as “in”: Chris Lammons. Considering he get his personal legal issues straightened out, he provided some nice depth in 2021 & has proven value on special teams.