Let the battles begin for all those looking to make the Kansas City Chiefs’ final 53-man roster.
We are only a few days into camp and it is clear there a number of obvious positional battles going on. Seeing Sean Smith work with the second teams everyday has many fans scratching their heads. Seeing both Eric Berry and Dwayne Bowe exit with early injuries will not comfort them.
It is too early to say who the real winners and losers are from camp, but it is not too early to see who looks to provide competition throughout the camp, period. Here are a list of winners so far from camp.
Donnie Avery: I have never been too thrilled with Avery running the number two receiver position, but we are a few days into camp and that spot is firmly in his hands. A.J. Jenkins is out there and has been back and forth, having a few dismal drops and a few nice plays. Jenkins has the raw physical ability to overtake Avery, but has not stepped up yet. Stay posted on him.
Another guy that has more of a slot reputation but nonetheless will be in competition is Junior Hemingway. Hemingway is looking to be more of the starting slot receiver, but any which way, seeing Hemingway go down with an apparent hamstring injury will give Avery extra insurance. The injury should not be serious, but in a tight competition missing any time at all is crucial.
The Canadian football league hero Weston Dressler has not played badly, but hasn’t been overly spectacular. Dressler is coming into a new league and completely new system so time is of the essence for him, give him a little extra leeway before writing him off.
It is not the overall play by Avery which has made him a winner so far, just the overall lack of play by everyone else. This is only a few days into camp, wait until the pads are on regularly and we get a little deeper into camp before making final judgments.
Late side note: keep an eye on Frankie Hammond. This guy is a dark horse who is creeping up on everyone and has been quite impressive.
Jamaal Charles: The cornerstone of the Chiefs’ offense gave every Chiefs fan a mini heart attack. Charles’ brief holdout had everyone on the edge of their seats; this came to a close as quickly as it arrived. Both sides won and Charles received what he wanted and it is back to business for him.
Ron Parker: Parker is a 4th-year guy that went undrafted and has played sparingly. Don’t tell him that though because it is him and not Sean Smith receiving all the first team reps at the cornerback position. This move might be a little game Andy Reid and Bob Sutton are playing with Smith to let him know after last season’s average play and this season’s arrest he is not guaranteed anything.
Whether or not Parker is a real threat to Smith or Cooper, to get first team reps everyday means that Sutton sees something in him. Do not look for Parker to go away, he is going to compete and has said all of the right things so far regarding his first team reps.
All of the tight ends: Each tight end has been hand wrapped a present from Sean McGrath. McGrath, at the age of 26, has decided to hang up the cleats and walk away from the game. Between that and Travis Kelce being held out of a practice, Anthony Fasano has the most to gain from these two missing. Demetrius Harris is the other guy who benefits the most, the ex college basketball player was fighting an uphill battle, but that battle just got a whole lot easier.
Harris is raw, as raw as they come, so being the 4th guy trying to work his way up was going to be a chore and a half. With McGrath now gone that takes a lot of pressure off of Harris and now he can go out and play freely.
Yes Kelce was held out, yes that is a problem and a concern, but he is still the best answer for the Chiefs moving forward at the tight end position if he can stay healthy. That is a big if and if he continues to miss practice and be tender on that knee, the Chiefs will have an unproven raw talent in Harris and the veteran Fasano to do the heavy lifting.