The Kansas City Chiefs have released their first unofficial depth chart for the 2020 season. Here are six things worth noting as the Chiefs prepare for the Houston Texans.
First, take a look of your own at the Chiefs' first 2020 unofficial depth chart:
1. This is unofficial.
This is probably a cheap first takeaway, but it's an important one. This depth chart is released by the team but is in no way a hard-and-fast rule of who will play where or how much when the Chiefs kick off against the Texans on Thursday night. In fact, even though the roster is now cut down to 53 players, the team will continue tweaking its roster in the days and weeks to come.
2. The starting offensive line is set.
From left to right: Eric Fisher, Kelechi Osemele, Austin Reiter, Andre Wylie, Mitchell Schwartz.
This is exactly the lineup I expected after the Chiefs signed Osemele, but now it appears to be set. Multiple reports indicate that this was the Chiefs' first-team offensive line throughout training camp, and I expect it to be their starting rotation in Week 1 and beyond.
3. Four tight ends with Nick Keizer at the top.
The Chiefs could very well move down to three tight ends in the days to come, but Nick Keizer sitting as TE2 is extremely interesting, and it tracks with his excellent camp. Assuming he can take on the role that Deon Yelder played in 2019, with Ricky Seals-Jones playing a more receiving-heavy role, Yelder (listed as TE4, returning from injury issues in camp) seems like he could be on the bubble if the Chiefs want to add depth elsewhere. If any of these tight ends were to be cut, they'd be a virtual shoo-in to the Chiefs' practice squad.
4. No surprises on the running back depth chart.
Though the Chiefs' release of DeAndre Washington was a bit of a surprise, the Chiefs still hope to bring him back to the team's practice squad, and their top trio of Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson was the expected depth chart ahead of Saturday's cutdown. Williams is one of my favorite late-round fantasy football sleepers of the year as well, but please keep that to yourself until after I do my drafts tonight.
5. Injuries or significant surprises?
This is either the most-important or least-important point on the list, completely depending on the logic behind the listing. Tanoh Kpassagnon is listed as the starting left defensive end, ahead of veteran Alex Okafor. Even before the release of Breeland Speaks, the defensive end position was already a bit messy, while Okafor also restructured his deal this offseason. Okafor was returning from a season-ending injury suffered in 2019, so Kpassagnon may have just gotten more training camp work as Okafor worked his back, but I expected Okafor to start opposite Frank Clark on opening night. If Kpassagnon is truly the starter in Week 1, that's a great sign for his development with defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and perhaps a concerning sign for Okafor.
Similarly, safety Daniel Sorensen is ahead of Juan Thornhill on the depth chart. Thornhill returned to practice mid-camp, exiting the PUP list, so this is almost certainly injury-based. The more legitimate concern is if Thornhill will be ready to start against the Texans on Thursday night.
6. Antonio Hamilton as CB3?
The Chiefs' cornerback group is especially thin without starting corner Bashaud Breeland, but, late in camp, I would have placed a bet on Antonio Hamilton to get significant snaps in his absence. That appears to be the direction the Chiefs are leaning now, with Hamilton listed as the team's starting "CB" — not left or right, but likely spending time in various positions all over the field.
The cornerback position is still far from solved, as rookie L'Jarius Sneed could still certainly work into that rotation, and I'm not fully convinced that Rashad Fenton won't spend the majority of his time at slot corner. Alternatively, safety Tyrann Mathieu can also step into the slot if the Chiefs are most comfortable with Charvarius Ward and Fenton on the outside. Ideally, Spagnuolo would certainly like to keep Mathieu free to be weaponized elsewhere, and it seems like a rotation of Hamilton and Sneed, with flexibility from Hamilton and Fenton, is the likely plan to stabilize a shaky group.