The Kansas City Chiefs intend to defend their Super Bowl LVII title in 2023 and are in the process of determining which players belong on their 53-man roster ahead of the new season. Preseason exhibitions are an ideal time for younger athletes to make their case for a spot on the team, and several Chiefs will have something to prove ahead of Kansas City’s kickoff on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
Guys like Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Creed Humphrey, and L’Jarius Sneed have nothing to fear heading into the highly anticipated preseason matchup, but others will be fighting for their jobs in the Big Easy. Expectations are high for the Chiefs, and they can’t afford to keep anyone who hasn’t proven to be the best of the best if they want to win a second straight championship.
Here are 10 players who have the most to prove in Kansas City’s tilt against New Orleans on Sunday:
The hype behind Ross would be unsustainable if not for the exceptional highlight reel he has put together in St. Joseph. He has been a reliable target for quarterbacks in training camp but is unproven against opponents in live-game action. If Ross can’t replicate the success he has found at Missouri Western State University against the Saints on Sunday, the momentum he has built may fizzle out.
Kaindoh has been a non-factor for Kansas City in the past, and as a former fourth-round pick, his time to make an impact is quickly running out. The Chiefs have made significant investments in their defensive line, and Kaindoh seems poised to be an odd man out when cuts come in later in August. If he can’t show something special against New Orleans, his career in Kansas City may be cut short.
Prince, like Ross, has been a training camp darling but his work in practice won’t mean much if he can’t duplicate the success he has found in camp against opponents in the preseason. He has done everything right to this point but is unproven. Prince should get plenty of opportunities to show that he can cut it in Andy Reid’s offense on Sunday.
Jones is another training camp standout who could make or break his chances of actually becoming a contributor for Kansas City’s defense in 2023 with a strong preseason showing. A seventh-round pick back in April, Jones wasn’t expected to show as much promise as he has in St. Joseph. His ball skills and sticky coverage have impressed fans and coaches alike, but if he gets burned against New Orleans on Sunday his stock could take a tumble.
Buechele has been impressive in the preseason since joining the Chiefs in 2021 as an undrafted free agent but has to prove that he deserves a look for Kansas City’s backup quarterback role against veteran Blaine Gabbert. Chad Henne’s retirement after Super Bowl LVII seemed to be a sign that Buechele would be a shoo-in for the backup spot this season, but without an excellent performance against the Saints, he could be relegated back to the third spot on the Chiefs’ depth chart.
Kansas City’s linebacking corps is headlined by consistent starters but lacks depth. Enter Jones, who has a chance to make the Chiefs’ final roster if he can show competency in Steve Spagnuolo’s defense in the preseason. Jones is an athletic backer with some grit to his game, but without an impressive outing against New Orleans, he could see his opportunity fade in favor of veterans Jack Cochrane or Cole Christiansen.
Kinnard has the potential to be a valuable piece of Kansas City’s offensive line but hasn’t seen much action to this point in his career. The Chiefs’ decision to draft Wanya Morris in April could spell disaster for Kinnard’s future if he can’t put together a solid preseason. Watch for Kinnard to play with an extra edge against the Saints to solidify his role as a backup on Kansas City’s depth chart.
Shelton is a former first-round pick who may be at the end of his career if he can’t catch on in Kansas City next season. The Chiefs need as much beef as they can get on their defensive line with Chris Jones continuing his holdout, and Shelton is in a prime position to sneak onto the roster if he can show some spark in the preseason. If Shelton stands out against New Orleans, don’t be surprised if he works into more playing time in the coming weeks.
Remigio seems to be the best player that Kansas City is likely to cut later in August. The Chiefs’ depth at receiver will make it hard for the team to justify keeping seven or more wideouts, but if Remigio can make some impressive plays on special teams against the Saints it could make him too valuable an asset to give up.
Boye-Doe was an excellent player at Kansas State but faces an uphill battle to make Kansas City’s 53-man roster. A college teammate of Chiefs first-round pick Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Boye-Doe seemed to catch Brett Veach’s eye on film and has stood out with impressive performances at training camp practices. If he can put together a solid game against New Orleans he may be able to climb the depth chart heading into Kansas City’s next two preseason games.