With just under a week until the Chiefs open up their preseason schedule in San
Francisco, here is a quick look as to who will be fighting for a roster spot during these
three exhibition games.
— By Jack Johnson, Sports Radio 810 Contributor
1. G Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
After sixth-round pick Trey Smith dominated through the first few weeks of training
camp, Duvernay-Tardif is now battling for a depth spot with Kyle Long, who is still
recovering from a leg injury. However, Duvernay-Tardif is dealing with a hand injury
himself, which has prevented him from practicing the last few days.
When it comes down to it, the decision between Long and Duvernay-Tardif is based on
the severity of their injuries. If the organization chooses Duvernay-Tardif, it’s possible
that Long’s fracture doesn’t heal fast enough. On the other hand, if the club chooses
Long, maybe Duvernay-Tardif’s hand is a lingering injury. Either way, Smith appears to
have the edge on both veteran options as the starting guard.
2. RB Darwin Thompson
Thompson is another name that hasn’t gotten a full training camp, as the 24-year-old
missed the first handful of practices after being placed on the COVID reserve list. The
former sixth round pick is coming off a season in which he rushed for 97 yards and one
touchdown on 27 carries (3.6 YPC). At the conclusion of the 2020-21 season,
Thompson had a shot of becoming the team’s third string running back, but with the
addition of Jerrick McKinnon, it’s not such a lock anymore. Not to mention that
McKinnon has received tons of praise for his performance in the offense, so far.
In all likelihood, Thompson and McKinnon’s position battle weighs heavily on their
ability to shine in the passing game. McKinnon is notorious for being a pass-catching
running back, but injuries are a concern. If Thompson loses the battle with McKinnon, a
spot on the practice squad wouldn’t be out of the question.
3. WR Antonio Callaway
If there was one sleeper in the current wide receiver group, it would be Callaway. After
hauling in 43 catches for 586 yards and five touchdowns for Cleveland in 2018,
Callaway has played in nine games over two years. On January 13, 2021, Callaway
signed a reserve/futures contract with the Chiefs.
There had been flashes of Callaway rediscovering that potential in training camp, but he
was carted off a few days ago. Fortunately, the diagnosis was just a bone bruise for the
The problem for Callaway is how crowded the wide receiver room is becoming. Tyreek
Hill, Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, Byron Pringle and Cornell Powell all have
strong cases of making the roster. The question, however, is if there’s a spot for