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Preseason Game Two – Players to Watch Chiefs at Bengals

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(Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire)

Preseason games are always unique in that you get a chance to watch a lot of players just fighting for a chance to make the roster. The Chiefs have just a few roster spots that are still up for grabs. The bottom of the Chiefs roster is something that we have watched fluctuate weekly in season so the guys that make the roster in a couple weeks could be gone by October. Let’s take a look at some of the more intriguing roster battles that are left.

A look at the Chiefs offensive players that are fighting for the final roster spots.

Third string running back – In March when the Chiefs signed CJ Spiller most thought he would just be a camp body. The Chiefs still had Jamaal Charles, Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West. Watching Spiller at camp showed that he still has his quickness. The question is can he stay healthy. Right now it appears that Ware and Kareem Hunt will be the top two running backs. West could struggle to make this team. Spiller must continue to show his ability and speed in practice and a couple of nice runs against the Bengals could help his chances as well.

Fifth and sixth wide receiver – The top four spots look to be locked up with Tyreek Hill, Chris Conley, Demarcus Robinson, and Jehu Chesson. The fifth receiver spot right now is more than likely De’Anthony Thomas based on the teams need for his return ability. That leaves Albert Wilson and Seantavius Jones fighting for the final roster spot. Right now Wilson is way ahead in the competition as he continues to run with the first string unit. Jones has to show real value as a special teams player and a big performance or two in the preseason may even the competition. The wildcard in this match-up is if someone else can show themselves capable as a returner. Maybe then Thomas becomes expendable and you can keep Wilson and Jones.

Eighth offensive lineman – More than likely the Chiefs will carry eight lineman. If Parker Ehinger is back before the season starts then your reserves could be Witzmann or Ehinger, Zach Fulton and Jah Reid. If Ehinger isn’t back maybe they stick with only seven offensive linemen but that doesn’t seem likely. The four guys with a shot right now are Isaiah Battle, Damien Mama, Andrew Tiller and Jordan Devey. Mama showed promise in minicamp and didn’t look bad in training camp. Battle has had his moments throughout camp as has Tiller. This could be a tight competition or it could be guys for the practice squad.

A look at the Chiefs defensive players that are fighting for the final roster spots.

Sixth defensive lineman – The starters on the defensive line along with Roy Miller and Rakeem Nunez-Roches are set. For now, it appears that Jarvis Jenkins will most likely be the sixth guy. It’s possible that Cam Thomas shows something in the games but he hasn’t to this point stood out. Tanoh Kpassagnon will also be on this team but it’s hard to know where they will list him as he’s been moving all over the place.

Fourth and Fifth inside linebacker – Ukeme Eligwe  and Kevin Pierre-Louis are probably the two back up linebackers to DJ and Ramik Wilson. It’s possible the Chiefs end up keeping a fifth inside linebacker and it would come down to Justin March-Lillard and on an outside shot Josh Mauga. Both of those players face long odds at this point with the depth of the rest of the roster. March-Lillard hasn’t shown the nose for the ball that he has in years past. Mauga is more than likely cut as their are better options ahead of him and he doesn’t provide much for special teams.

Fourth and fifth outside linebacker – Right now the top three are easy. Frank Zombo is easily the fourth OLB. If Dadi Nicolas isn’t healthy by the start of the year he probably will be on IR all year. Earl Okine and Marcus Rush are possibilities for the 5th OLB spot. But this is also another numbers game for the Chiefs. You can’t keep 10 linebackers. More than likely they are keeping 10 defensive backs. It could be a decision between a fifth ILB or fifth OLB.

Fourth, fifth and sixth corner – The top three corners are set if Terrance Mitchell is healthy. I would guess that DJ White is going to be on this team as well. Phillip Gaines looks to be the fourth or fifth corner on this team. The questions is will the Chiefs keep six CB’s or 5 CB’s and 5 safety’s. The players that you need to watch are De’Vante Bausby, Ashton Lampkin and Leon McQuay.

There is your player primer for tonight’s game.

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Chris started covering the Chiefs four years ago. Since then he started the Check With Me podcast with co-host Ryan Tracy. During training camp in 2016 Chris & Ryan were asked to host the Locked on Chiefs podcast. Follow @ChrisClarkNFL for more Chiefs and NFL coverage.

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