Kansas City Chiefs 53 Man Roster Prediction Part 3: DL & LB

  • anthony hitchens
  • Chris Jones
  • Frank Clark
  • Kansas City Chiefs
By Levi Thompson September 4, 2020 1 Comment
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Next week, at this time, the Kansas City Chiefs roster will be just hours away from beginning the process of defending their Super Bowl trophy. But first, let’s look at which defensive lineman and linebackers will make the 53-man roster with cut down week looming.


Chiefs Defensive Linemen

Derrick Nnadi

Derrick Nnadi played outstanding last year. In 2019 alone, Nnadi registered 47 tackles, 1 sack, and 1interception. For a nose tackle in their second year that’s remarkable.

Chris Jones

Nobody is shocked that this beast is on the list. Chris Jones is the most important piece on our defensive line, and arguably the defense in general. The Chiefs made it clear they feel the same way when they rewarded Jones with a 4 year, 80 million dollar deal.

Frank Clark

There’s blood in the water. This isn’t going to send anybody’s jaw plummeting to the floor, because Frank Clark was critical in the Chiefs’ championship season. Clark started a little slow last year, but certainly made up for it in the later weeks, and even more in the postseason. Clark has amazing instincts and gets to the quarterback any way possible.

Tanoh Kpassagnon

Tanoh Kpassagnon is a player that took tremendous strides last season. His length and speed at the defensive end position gives him as much potential as anybody on our line. This is a contract year for Kpassagnon so look for this upcoming season to be his best so far.

Mike Pennel

Mike Pennel became a fan favorite last year in the Chiefs’ championship season. The Chiefs signed Pennel halfway through last season, and what a big signing it would turn out to be. Pennel originally played the role of backup defensive tackle, but it did not take long for him to start turning heads. Pennel finishes the 2019 season with 24 tackles and 1 sack in just 8 games played.

Khalen Saunders

Khalen Saunders showed improvement in each game that he played last year, which was his rookie season. That’s about all you can ask for out of a rookie. When the Chiefs were going through some injury issues on the defensive line, Saunders was thrown into the fire, and did as well as anybody could ask him to. He ended his rookie season with 22 tackles and 1 sack.

Taco Charlton

Vidauntae Charlton, better known as Taco Charlton was acquired by the Chiefs on May 4th, 2020. He will be one of the most intriguing players to watch this season. Charlton has always shown potential to be one of the best defensive ends in the game, but has carried with him a history of “attitude problems”. Charlton has 5 sacks in 5 games last year with the Miami Dolphins but was declared inactive in three out of the last four games with the Dolphins.

Alex Okafor

Alex Okafor was a nice addition to last years Chiefs team. He was playing well until he suffered a torn pectoral muscle in week 15. In 10 games, Okafor recorded 5 sacks. The second highest of his career, and that’s without being able to play a full season. The Chiefs are going to want to bring this veteran back as long as his health checks out. All signs out of camp so far are that he looks to be doing alright after the injury.

Breeland Speaks

At the end of last season I probably wouldn’t have told you that Breeland Speaks would be on the Chiefs’ 53 man roster, but Speaks worked hard this offseason and appears to be in the best shape of his career. Speaks was a 2nd round pick out of Ole Miss in the 2018 draft, and for the most part has been a bit disappointing given how high he was taken. But, all that said, the Chiefs will likely give him one more shot this season before throwing in the towel on him.

Tershawn Wharton

There’s always at least one surprise in every camp right? This year it has been Tershawn Wharton according to a tweet a couple of days ago by reporter James Palmer. Palmer went on to say that Wharton is “almost a lock” to make the 53 man roster. Wharton is an undrafted free agent out of Missouri Science and Tech, a division II school. So there’s no doubt Chiefs Kingdom would have themselves a fan favorite if Wharton can make the team as it appears he will. This is definitely one of the most interesting players to keep an eye on as we approach the final cutdown day.

Which linebackers are most likely to make the Chiefs’ 53 man roster?

Anthony Hitchens

While some fans expressed some frustration with linebacker Anthony Hitchens last season, he is the most experienced linebacker that the Chiefs have at the moment. There’s no doubt that there was a little inconsistency with Hitchens last year, but the linebacker position is one where experience is paramount. Hitchens will likely get the most snaps out of the linebackers, at least early on, but there’s no doubt his primary role this year will be coaching up the younger talent the Chiefs acquired at that position.

Willie Gay

Speaking of young guys, the Chiefs drafted a rookie this year that has Chiefs fans buzzing. Willie Gay out of Mississippi State was the second fastest linebacker in the draft behind Isaiah Simmons. Looking at his tape from Mississippi State, Gay is a bit of a ball hawk. Not necessarily meaning he picks the ball of a lot, but he is always around the ball. He swarms to where the play is going, and has shown the ability to be a great playmaker at the linebacker position. Willie Gay is widely considered to be one of the bigger steals of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Ben Nieman

As an undrafted free agent out of Iowa, Ben Nieman has shown the ability to play consistently solid football. He is not a guy that is going to wow you every time he’s on the field, but he does his job. Last season was by far Nieman’s best, as he recorded 56 tackles as opposed to just 10 his rookie season. The improvement shown by Nieman, and the Chiefs lack of depth at this position is why Nieman is likely to make the 53 man roster once again.

Damien Wilson

Damien Wilson started all 16 games for the Chiefs last season and racked up 81 tackles along the way. He also tallies 1.5 sacks. There is no reason to believe the Chiefs will give Wilson the walking papers this year. Look for him to be a pretty safe bet for the Chiefs’ 53 man roster.

Dorian O’ Daniel

Even if Dorian O’ Daniel does not impress the Chiefs enough to make it as a linebacker, he is somebody that has shown the ability to be valuable on special teams. The Chiefs have proven over the years that if you can play on special teams you have a good chance at making the roster. Isn’t that right Terrance Copper? O’ Daniel has shown flashes at linebacker too but a little bit too inconsistent yet. He is still young, and given that youth and the ability to play special teams well, Dorian O’ Daniel is likely to be a part of the 53 man squad come cut day.

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September 6, 2020

Great insight and awesome article! And Tershawn Watson = surprise pick! ❤️❤️❤️

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