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Chiefs Market Movers: Pre-OTAs eidition

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By: Matt Stagner

Photo by Kara Durrette/Getty Images

As the team prepares for its organized activities, let’s see which Kansas City players are trending up and down.

As the Kansas City Chiefs prepare for the beginning of its organized team activities (OTAs) — which will begin on Monday — it should be the quietest time of the year. Most of the team’s players are in their usual routine: training and making early impressions on the staff. While we don’t have much new information, we can still speculate based on vibes and reports.

Here are some Chiefs who may be trending right now.

Bulls

Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs
Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images

Linebacker Curtis Jacobs: He was voted the UDFA most likely to make the 53-man roster for good reason. A highly-touted high school prospect, he demonstrated great athleticism during his NFL Scouting Combine testing — and showed enough on film to make us believe in his upside. With the departure of Willie Gay Jr., there is at least one linebacker job available. Jacobs could earn himself a roster spot for special teams and as a second-level depth player.

Wide receivers Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney: Stick with me here. The Market Movers series is about trends. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’re talking about who will be incredibly good — or incredibly bad. It means we’re discussing players who are rising (or falling) from where they stood in our last update. After last season, many fans (myself included) were ready to move on from both Moore and Toney. But the team doesn’t seem to agree. Coaches (and general manager Brett Veach) have consistently said that both will have significant roles this season — and the team still hasn’t aggressively addressed the wide receiver position; there hasn’t been another veteran acquisition. Given the uncertainty around Rashee Rice, that’s an even more powerful gesture of support than anything said to the media. Just look at the depth chart. If the season started today, these guys are No. 3 and No. 4 — and if Rice is suspended, No. 2 and No. 3.

EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah: The second-year player is someone else with an opportunity — in this case, because the incumbent starter had ACL surgery. We don’t know the exact timeframe for Charles Omenihu’s return, but his absence from the offseason program will open the door for 2023’s first-round pick. In part because of Omenihu’s presence, Anudike-Uzomah had a quiet first season. But with a full offseason of training (including work with the legendary Tamba Hali), he can now show off his development. If he can take the next step, it’s a huge deal for this team’s future.

Others trending in the right direction: tight end Jared Wiley, running back Isaiah Pacheco, wide receiver Xavier Worthy and offensive tackle Kingsley Suamataia.

Bears

Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
Photo by Perry Knotts/Getty Images

Wide receiver Rashee Rice: We shouldn’t allow rumors or reported investigations to make us rush to judgment. But there’s no getting around it: in this offseason, the vibes around Kansas City’s No. 1 wideout have not been great. Already facing a probable suspension for the original incident, there are new reports about an alleged assault in a club. Rice has proven to be a great talent on the field — but to stay there, he must find a way to keep a lower profile off the field.

Offensive tackle Lucas Niang: In 2024, where does this fourth-year player fit? Jawaan Taylor is entrenched at right tackle. On the left side, we expect a competition between second-year player Wanya Morris and second-round rookie Kingsley Suamataia. There’s also undrafted free agent Ethan Driskell, who was almost selected in the draft. If the team decides more stability is needed, they’ve already hinted that Donovan Smith could return, too. It feels like Niang is the forgotten man; as things stand, he’s certainly no lock to make the roster.

The interior defensive line: This will be a position to watch during training camp in St. Joseph. Kansas City elected to bring back nearly the entire group from last season — Derrick Nnadi, Chris Jones, Tershawn Wharton, Neil Farrell, Isaiah Buggs and Mike Pennel — and didn’t draft an impact defensive tackle, opting to sign Fabien Lovett as a UDFA. Chris Jones will retire as a Chief — and should again be a dominant player. Except for Wharton, there are several similar players on the inside — and the team won’t be able to keep all of them.

Others trending in the wrong direction: punter Matt Araiza, defensive back Kelvin Joseph and tight end Irv Smith Jr.

Value (sleeper) pick: Running back Louis Rees-Zammit

2024 NFL Draft - Rounds 4-7
Photo by Luke Hales/Getty Images

It isn’t likely that the former rugby star will immediately become an impact player — and it might even be less than a 50% chance he’ll make the roster. So we should keep our expectations low. Still, the Chiefs continue to talk about featuring Rees-Zammit — and they seem happy with his early progress. Even if it’s only for a special teams role, he’ll be an easy guy to root for — and when training camp starts, he’ll be among those who are the most fun to watch.

Originally posted on Arrowhead Pride