Much could be said about the Kansas City Chiefs 17-16 loss to the hands of the Seattle Seahawks that could be viewed as negative and ugly. Still despite the head scratching play calling of defensive coordinator, Bob Sutton on the game’s final drive, the Chiefs defense found a few surprises that could shake up the final roster.
DE Dadi Nicolas – The rookie defender has so much to learn at the NFL level that most roster projections have the Chiefs sixth round pick finding a spot on the practice squad in September. However, with one official sack on Saturday against Seattle, the young pass rusher displayed some game. So much so, that he out performed, third year man, Dee Ford. I’ll probably never be convinced that Ford is anything but a back-up, but Nicolas could be a pleasant surprise in the Chiefs final trio of exhibition games. With Ford a no show on the field Saturday, Justin Houston and teammate, Tamba Hali, battling injuries, Nicolas could be the roster shocker this team could build upon into the regular season.
DT Chris Jones – Since he arrived in town, people have been raving about his work ethic in training camp. On the field Saturday, Jones was a man among boys against a solid Seahawks offensive line. Though only credited with two tackles, he shot through gaps like a seasoned professional. Further to highlight his first NFL game, he broke up a screen pass sliding off his defender and devoured the Seahawks running back before he could receive the pass. As a solid second round pick, Jones gives the Chiefs another inside thumper and adds to an already impressive Chiefs defensive line.
CB D.J. White – I’ve already spoken glowingly about the Georgia Tech cornerback. He reminds me of Kevin Ross. Both were drafted in the sixth round and the 2016 version has enough talent to become the Chiefs top nickel corner this season. With Marcus Peters and Steven Nelson atop the depth chart, the development of White is important for the Chiefs defense to gain its footing this season. With virtually no pass rush at the moment, Kansas City is going to be forced to play press coverage and use their athletic skill in the secondary to ward off some high flying offensive units.
WR De’Anthony Thomas – With Tyreek Hill getting all the training camp love, DAT had a solid game for the Chiefs. With three catches and 46 receiving cards, he led the team in both categories. Thomas has world class speed and he has value to the Chiefs or another NFL team. The question for the Chiefs, what to do with Thomas should he continue to excel during the pre-season? After one game, he appears up for the challenge on making the final 53-man roster and giving Hill a run for his money.
TE Ross Travis – For a former basketball player, the Penn State product made a solid debut with the Chiefs on Saturday. Sure he missed an easy catch in the third quarter but was solid enough in the first half, that he could be the Chiefs third string tight end on opening day. Should Travis make the roster, the completion will be fierce for playing time but he more than held his own in his NFL debut.