The final preseason game is upon us, and with that comes one of the toughest weeks for an NFL organization. The week where they have to cut their roster down to 53, meaning 27 guys will not be on the roster by the time all is said and done. There's been a lot of impressive performances in camp and in preseason games, but I want to talk about 3 players to watch with intent as we draw closer to final cut day.
Isiah Pacheco: The rookie 7th round pick out of Rutgers has impressed both during camp and during games, notching a few good runs and catches under his belt. However, the deep running back room of the Chiefs have could spell trouble. Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerrick McKinnon are my locks, with even McKinnon being a bit shaky due to his age and wear and tear. This leaves Ronald Jones, Derrick Gore, Tayon Fleet-Davis, and of course, Pacheco fighting for those 3rd and 4th RB spots. With Ronald Jones getting quite a few carries in preseason without really a ton of consistency, I could see him and Fleet-Davis being the cuts, but also we have to wonder if Pacheco has done enough to impress not only Andy Reid and Eric Bienemy, but Special Teams Coordinator Dave Toub as well. I believe he's done enough and has impressed the people he's needed to impress, and will secure that roster spot, but will more than likely be that 4th back unless Ronald Jones doesn't perform well this last game.
Make or Break: Make
Shane Buechele: Shane spent the '21-'22 season on the practice squad for the Chiefs. The Texas/SMU product has shown flashes of production, but has also shown his youth and inexperience. This being said, Chad Henne is aging, and having Buechele in there as a backup may prove beneficial towards both him and the organization. HOWEVER, Henne is a proven backup that has a good relationship with the coaches, players, and fanbase. Henne came in during the 3rd and 4th quarters of the 2021 AFC Divisional Round against the Browns and led the team to a win, topping it off with a great scramble and throw to Tyreek Hill to seal it. It'll be hard to show up that kind of fan favorability and experience. I think Buechele may have to wait another year or two...
Make or Break: Break
Josh Gordon: Here's where things are at their hairiest. Josh Gordon is on a comeback tour, a tour that has had its ups and downs. He stands now at near the brink of being cut, and with how deep the wide receiver room is as well as the renaissance of Justin Watson, there may not be a spot left for Gordon to have. I think what determines Gordon's roster spot is what he does in this final preseason game and if it's better than guys such as Corey Coleman, Daurice Fountain, and Cornell Powell. He's right on the brink, and I think organizational trust and dedication may also play a factor, which is why Josh Gordon, at least in my opinion, makes the roster alongside either Daurice Fountain or Corey Coleman to take those final two spots.
Make or Break: Make
You may notice that I did not include any defensive players. I think the Chiefs defense is pretty solidified in terms of who makes the roster and who doesn't. A few notable guys who may find themselves in a starting/rotational position (that wasn't basically guaranteed at the beginning of camp) I think are Khalen Saunders, Deon Bush, Joshua Williams, and George Karlaftis. We could see a couple tweaks, but I think the Chiefs know who they want out there and who Dave Toub wants off those second and third team guys. We may see a few surprises, but unfortunately with cut day approaching tough decisions will have to be made, and we may see a couple fan favorites or guys who impressed not make it. Professional sports is a truly cruel mistress, which is why I'm glad I don't play. (The pay would be pretty nice though...)
Burn Notice: 10/10 This Bushman guy is on fire!