The Chiefs drafted 9 players this year and head into training camp with 24 rookies on the roster. It is difficult to predict how many of those will make the final 53-man roster before the season starts, but it is fun to look back at previous drafts and see which players have thrived and surprised. Below, I took a look at the Chiefs’ drafts since 2011 (since rookie contracts are for only 4 years) to see who is still on the team. I did not include this year’s draft picks since they are all still on the roster.
2011 draft picks: Jonathan Baldwin, Rodney Hudson, Justin Houston, Allen Bailey, Jalil Brown, Ricky Stanzi, Gabe Miller, Jerrell Powe, Shane Bannon
Still on roster: Houston, Bailey
2012 draft picks: Dontari Poe, Jeff Allen, Donald Stephenson, Devon Wiley, DeQuan Menzie, Cyrus Gray, Jerome Long, Junior Hemingway
Still on roster: Poe, Allen, Stephenson, Hemingway, Gray
2013 draft picks: Eric Fisher, Travis Kelce, Knile Davis, Nico Johnson, Sanders Commings, Eric Kush, Braden Wilson, Mike Catapano
Still on roster: Fisher, Kelce, Davis, Commings, Kush, Catapano
2014 draft picks: Dee Ford, Phillip Gaines, De’Anthony Thomas, Aaron Murray, Zach Fulton, Lawrence Duvernay-Tardiff
Still on roster: All 6
Total still on roster: 19/31
Scott Pioli left KC with the gifts of Poe, Houston, and Bailey, as well as Allen and Stephenson who both might be starters on the offensive line in 2015. Hemingway is carving out a career as a special teams force, despite the inability to be a consistent receiving threat. Going back one more year, Pioli also provided the Chiefs with All-Pro safety Eric Berry. Not a bad haul from the Chiefs’ former GM.
Andy Reid and John Dorsey’s first two drafts have netted a starting LT (Fisher), starting TE (Kelce), starting CB (Gaines), and starting G (Fulton), as well as a kick returner (Davis). Kush can compete for starting Center job in 2015. Thomas will contribute no matter what his role (punt returner, receiver, running back?), and Catapano and Ford should see a decent amount of playing time in 2015. Commings is a wild card and no one knows how good he can be since he cannot stay healthy, but coaches have been high on his potential the past two years before he was injured. It is also notable that Reid and Dorsey have only lost 2 players they have drafted in Kansas City so far.
This year’s draft should provide at least one starter (my guess is OL Mitch Morse or WR Chris Conley in the slot). I think 1st round pick Marcus Peters might crack the starting lineup if Phillip Gaines slumps or regresses at CB, but the position is Gaines’ to lose initially. It would be great if TE James O’Shaughnessy is able to get on the field for multiple TE sets.
Training camp starts in about one month on July 24 and the first preseason game is only 46 days away (Aug. 7). We will soon see which players will make the roster.