Chiefs' 53-man roster projection has deep running back group

The Kansas City Chiefs open training camp July 27 at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri. Here’s a 53-player roster projection:

QUARTERBACK (2): Patrick Mahomes, Chad Henne

The Chiefs kept two quarterbacks on the active roster last season, and there’s no reason for them to keep a third this season. They can keep one of their developmental quarterbacks, Chase Litton or Kyle Shurmur, on the practice squad instead.

RUNNING BACK (4): Damien Williams, Carlos Hyde, Darwin Thompson, Darrel Williams

The Chiefs have some depth here, and history says they would be wise to hang on to as much of it as possible. In three of the past four seasons, the player who entered training camp as the featured back was gone by the end of the season -- in 2015 and 2017 with injuries and in 2018 with Kareem Hunt’s release.

FULLBACK (1): Anthony Sherman

Sherman won’t play much on offense but has value on special teams and for his intangibles.

WIDE RECEIVER (6): Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Demarcus Robinson, Mecole Hardman, Gehrig Dieter, Byron Pringle

The NFL did not discipline Hill for his involvement in an alleged domestic violence case. That means the Chiefs open camp with their most productive wide receiver.

TIGHT END (2): Travis Kelce, Blake Bell

The Chiefs would prefer to keep three at this position. They’ve been productive at times out of their multiple tight end formations, but they don’t have the depth for that this season, though developmental player Deon Yelder could claim a roster spot with a strong showing in training camp and the preseason.

OFFENSIVE LINE (9): Eric Fisher, Andrew Wiley, Austin Reiter, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Mitchell Schwartz, Cam Erving, Kahlil McKenzie, Ryan Hunter, Nick Allegretti

Depth is a concern here. The Chiefs have some talented backups, but only Erving has much experience among the reserves.

DEFENSIVE LINE (8): Frank Clark, Alex Okafor, Chris Jones, Derrick Nnadi, Breeland Speaks, Emmanuel Ogbah, Khalen Saunders, Justin Hamilton

In trading for Clark and Ogbah, signing Okafor and drafting Saunders, the Chiefs sunk a considerable portion of their resources into these positions. They should have enough depth to withstand the inevitable injuries.

LINEBACKER (7): Anthony Hitchens, Reggie Ragland, Damien Wilson, Darron Lee, Dorian O’Daniel, Ben Niemann, Jeremiah Attaochu

Hitchens, Ragland and Wilson are the likely starters, but Lee and O’Daniel could wind up with significant roles on passing downs.

DEFENSIVE BACK (11): Kendall Fuller, Bashaud Breeland, Tyrann Mathieu, Daniel Sorensen, Charvarius Ward, Keith Reaser, Rashad Fenton, Mark Fields, Juan Thornhill, Jordan Lucas, Armani Watts

This is another area in which much is new. Six of these players weren’t with the Chiefs last season. That includes starters Breeland and Mathieu. Thornhill, a second-round draft pick, could play his way into the lineup with a strong showing in training camp and the preseason.

SPECIALIST (3): K Harrison Butker, P Dustin Colquitt, LS James Winchester

The only other specialist the Chiefs will take to camp is undrafted rookie punter Jack Fox, who isn’t yet consistent enough to unseat a reliable veteran such as Colquitt. Even so, Fox has a strong leg and will eventually punt in the NFL.