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The Chiefs Preseason Winners and Losers

Who will make the roster and who’s not?

Who has a foot in the door of the 53-man and whose facing the hardest obstacle to make it? 

@ChiefsFan4Lyfe                                                                  Chiefs Focus @Chiefsfocus

Emily Curiel/Kansas City Star


It’s the final week of training camp. For the majority of the veterans, the heavy lifting is over. Most of them for the Chiefs will play in the final preseason finale at home against the Green Bay Packers. For them camp is effectively over already focusing on the regular season. But for players on the edge of making the roster, this week means everything. 

Those players on the edge are fighting for roster spots and there aren’t enough to go around. In the final slate of exhibition games, it was curious to see how a number of NFL teams including the Chiefs will handle their contests.

Some teams will use the final week as a traditional Week 3 of the preseason and give the Week 1 starters some extended playing time similar to when there were four games each summer. Meanwhile, other teams will rest their top-tier players as I stated earlier, treating it more as Week 4 of the preseason like we’ve seen in years past. 

While it’s hard to decide who will make the roster or not, We have seen minicamp, training camp and the last two preseason games and from what I’ve seen, below you’ll find a list of winners (guys who’ve made the most of their opportunities) and losers (guys who could be out the door soon) from the Chiefs preseason for 2022 so far. 

Winner: Justin Watson:

Even though the Chiefs revamped the receiver room, wide receiver Justin Watson has been the main surprise of the offseason. The former fifth-round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018, of all of the Chiefs players that has made the most of his opportunities.

He put in a lot of hard work at training camp and it’s showing on the field. One way to make the 53-man roster is through special teams. He’s not only making the most of his special teams snaps, he’s also worked hard to earn first team reps especially in yesterday’s victory over the Commanders.

Watson has shown the ability to get open and catch the ball to do great things after the catch. I believe that Watson has solidified his case to make the 53-man roster. He reminds me a lot of former Patriots wideout Chris Hogan aka 7-Eleven. He was always open. 

Loser: Ronald Jones: 

It’s been a rough preseason for Ronald Jones. Jones was one of the most anticipated players for fans to watch in this offense with Patrick Mahomes and co. Jones however has been outperformed by rookie running back Isiah Pacheco for the RB2 spot behind Edwards-Helaire. Pacheco has 9 offensive touches for 35 total yards in preseason which is 

enough for the coaches to see he’s capable of being one of the RBs for week 1 but Jones has only 5 touches for 5 yards which isn’t making his case to make the roster. I don’t think his limited touches are a result of saving him for the regular season. 

Winner: Patrick Mahomes 

In the aftermath of trading Tyreek Hill, many thought Mahomes would have a down year. Mahomes ain’t missing Tyreek at all. Mahomes in the last two preseason games in his limited capacity looks like he was on the doorstep of an MVP season.

Mahomes has completed 18 of his first 26 pass attempts for 222 yards and three touchdowns. Mahomes has been surgical and seems to be picking right up from where he was with his offensive line unit staying in the pocket looking more comfortable. Mahomes has Matt Nagy back in the fold and because of that, I can tell he looks more comfortable with the play calling and offensive line play thus far. 

Loser: Dicaprio Bootle: 

Yes I did write in an article that corner-back Dicaprio Bootle was one of the players along with Deandre Baker not making the roster because of the additions of Trent McDuffie, Joshua Williams, and Jaylen Watson. However, they’re not the reason why Bootle won’t make the roster. Bootle’s play as of late is the reason.

First off, in the Bears preseason opener, Bootle gave up a big play against Bears receiver Dante Pettis which was 25 yards that resulted in the Bears scoring on the next few drives. Then the second game where he allowed a 14 yards touchdown against Cam Sims of the Commanders. Those are plays that could be a sign of being cut. Bootle has been given the chance to make the most of his chances and so far it’s not looking good for the second year undrafted player from Nebraska. 

Winners: The 2022 Rookie class: 

Every player selected in the 2022 draft class is living up to expectation. Maybe Kinnard is having some growing pains but that’s fine. Everything won’t be perfect but this rookie class especially on the defensive side of the ball is amazing to watch. Trent McDuffie looks the part of a true shutdown corner, George Karlaftis is already playing like he wants to break the rookie sack record for the Chiefs with 2 sacks to start off his Chiefs Career.

Linebacker Leo Chenal looks like he’s going to be the Chiefs secret weapon on the defense. Chenal was the leader of Wisconsin’sdefense who was the best in all of college football last season. He’s all over the field this preseason like Brian Urlacher when he first played.

Joshua Williams and Jaylen Watson both are physically imposing corners with the press-man skillset that the Chiefs haven’t had since Sean Smith and look for either one to contribute if Rashad Fenton were to get hurt. Isiah Pacheco is already gone from depth piece to important contributor for the offense like Elijah Mitchell did for the 49ers last season and Skyy Moore is getting his touches as he’s getting adjusted to the offense and everything is looking good for this rookie class as they’re expected to contribute big time this season. 

Loser: The rest of the AFC West: 

This offseason, every team in the AFC West has made the moves they needed to make in order to stop the Chiefs. Those teams so far haven’t been impressive at all. The only team that’s showing they’re making strides are the Raiders due to their 3-0 record.

This proves when I said the Raiders are a threat in 2022 than the Broncos and Chargers but however, the way our defense performed in the first half, I don’t see how these teams feel they can come into the matchups with us confident that they’ll beat us.

This isn’t the same Chiefs team where Mahomes had to score 40 plus because of the defense. The 1st team defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown in the first half and we’ve rarely seen the other teams top-tier players play which isn’t good because you need to knock the rust of the off-season off and that will be the downfall for all of these AFC West teams going against the Chiefs this season. 

Winners: Joe Cullen and Sack Nation: 

I wrote an article on Chiefs Focus previewing the Defensive line unit. I mentioned that Joe Cullen before this season will bring back the Sack Nation name and already they’re looking great and almost every defensive linemen is making the most of their opportunities. Cullen was part of the reason Baltimore defense ranked no. 1 in total defense from 2016 to 2020 because of the play of his unit.

That same energy and philosophy is turning out to be the mindset of this Chiefs unit and they’re looking good. George Karlaftis is channeling his inner Nick Bosa, Malik Herring is having a great showing this off-season and those two games and Khalen Saunders is playing like a man possessed.

Saunders is actually showing more than Taylor Stallworth to make one of the final defensive tackle spots on the roster but Stallworth has done very well himself that somebody will pick him up if he were to get cut. Frank Clark looks quicker and looks like he bend better than before to make a play on the ball carrier. Not only will Sack Nation bring back its Sack numbers but they will affect the run plays making our run defense better. 

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