Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

What we learn from the Chiefs first pre-season game might depend on the success of a handful of vets and rookies aiming for roster spots.

The Saturday afternoon tilt between the Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks at Arrowhead Stadium won’t likely offer too much intel on the starting units for both teams. However, in regards to the second and third strings, the Chiefs have several veterans and talented first year players, that have the opportunity to make significant noise in 2016.

CB/S Marcus Copper – As one of the surviving members of the Magnificent Seven that found themselves on the Chiefs roster in 2013, Cooper played well outstanding his rookie season, but since, he’s struggled to find a productive place on KC’s defense. In camp, he’s played both cornerback and safety. At this stage, I’m not sure which position the Chiefs will use him in this game, but with Eric Berry’s absence likely to last until the regular season, Cooper has an opportunity to make an impact.

G Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff – Though he’s penciled in as a starter for the 2016 season, he’s my only worry on the Chiefs revamped offensive line. I like Jah Reid much better but he’s the Chiefs emergency back-up at right and left tackle. Though LDT played well a year ago, I’m not sold that the NFL game is something that fits the future Doctor. However, if he can take that next step this summer and put my fears to rest, then he could become a long-term option at guard for the Chiefs – provided he picks the gridiron over his pending medical career.

CB Phillip Gaines – After successfully rehabbing his surgically repaired knee, Gaines is back in the mix for a starting spot opposite, Marcus Peters. Though second year man, Steven Nelson has risen atop the depth chart, Gaines has enough game to challenge him for the starters role come opening day. Either way, his size, speed and skill set offers the Chiefs much depth at a position where they’ll be tested all season long.  

QB Kevin Hogan – If he plays in the pre-season, this is likely the game he’ll get some NFL snaps. Though the Chiefs want to feature back-ups Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray for potential trade options, I’d like to see Hogan get some fourth quarter reps. With Nick Foles on the roster, Hogan has a good shot at becoming the clipboard quarterback for the Chiefs this season. Long term, Hogan could become the Chiefs starting option in 2018.

WR Demarcus Robinson – The rookie draft pick hasn’t received much attention in camp to date. However, he’s not known to be a stellar practice player. Though when the games begin, he’s generally flying all over the field. To me, Robinson was a solid sleeper pick for the Chiefs that allows them to have a down the field threat in their lineup, giving Kansas City one more option on the offensive side of the ball. Though, Tyreek Hill has stolen all of the receiver thunder in camp, don’t rule out Demarcus Robinson just yet.

CB D.J. White – Of all the Chiefs draft Saturday draft picks, I’ll admit it now, White was my favorite third day pick for the Chiefs. How he fell that far is beyond NFL reason. He’s one of those rare athletes that has the physical tools, smarts and desire, that I can’t see his rookie status hindering the opportunity he has this season to making an impact on defense. In my view, he can play cornerback or safety. Either way, I’m interested to see how he does on Saturday.

RB Knile Davis – Though he might be fourth on the Chiefs depth chart at the running back position, the man clearly has some NFL game. His battle out of Andy Reid’s doghouse hasn’t been easy. However, I firmly believe with his running skills and return skills, I’d carry him on the active roster every week. Though Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware have significant game, Jamaal Charles has yet to prove his surgically repaired knee is fit for 25 touches per game. The added insurance of keeping Davis on the roster, especially if Ware and West can’t replicate what they did in 2015, should be a risk I’d take if I were the Chiefs brass.


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