Kansas City Chiefs Season Preview: Projected Depth Chart, Rosters, and Predictions

Our Kansas City Chiefs season preview wonders whether Patrick Mahomes and additions like Jawaan Taylor and Donovan Smith can usher in the NFL's next dynasty.

After winning their second Super Bowl in four seasons, the Kansas City Chiefs are on the verge of morphing into a dynasty. Kansas City has hosted five consecutive AFC title games and has the best odds to bring home the Lombardi Trophy again next season, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. With Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid in town, a victory in the year’s final game will always be the Chiefs’ benchmark.

Let’s take a look back at Kansas City’s offseason moves as we preview the Chiefs’ 2023 campaign.

Everything You Need Ahead of the Kansas City Chiefs 2023 NFL Season

The Chiefs’ core is largely intact, and Kansas City’s roster is full of exciting young players. But general manager Brett Veach still had work to do this offseason.

Kansas City Chiefs Roster Changes

  • Players Signed
    • QB Blaine Gabbert
    • RB Jerick McKinnon
    • WR Richie James
    • WR Justin Watson
    • OT Donovan Smith
    • OT Jawaan Taylor
    • G Nick Allegretti
    • EDGE Charles Omenihu
    • DT Derrick Nnadi
    • LB Drue Tranquill
    • S Mike Edwards
  • Players Drafted
    • EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah
    • WR Rashee Rice
    • OT Wanya Morris
    • CB Chamarri Conner
    • EDGE BJ Thompson
    • DT Keondre Coburn
    • CB Nic Jones
  • Players Lost
    • QB Chad Henne (Retired)
    • FB Michael Burton (Broncos)
    • WR Mecole Hardman (Jets)
    • WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (Patriots)
    • OT Orlando Brown Jr. (Bengals)
    • OT Andrew Wylie (Commanders)
    • EDGE Frank Clark (Broncos)
    • EDGE Carlos Dunlap
    • DT Khalen Saunders (Saints)
    • LB Darius Harris
    • S Juan Thornhill (Browns)

The Chiefs’ most significant offseason additions came at offensive tackle, where Donovan Smith and Jawaan Taylor will replace Orlando Brown Jr. and Andrew Wylie. While Kansas City originally intended to shift Taylor from right to left tackle, those plans changed once they landed Smith on a one-year deal. Taylor is an ascending player, but Smith struggled last season, allowing six sacks and committing a league-high seven holding penalties while missing four games with an elbow injury.

We’ve seen Mahomes get badgered by pressure before, and Kansas City’s dismal OL performance against the Buccaneers in Super Bowl 55 forced them to overhaul their front five after Mahomes was constantly harassed. Offensive line is a weak-link system — if Smith flounders, the entire OL could have problems.

Elsewhere on offense, the Chiefs are hoping second-round rookie Rashee Rice can join holdovers Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore to help replace JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman, both of whom are now in the AFC East. Mahomes clearly doesn’t need an elite wide receiving corps to dominate the league, as evidenced by his Tyreek Hill-less MVP campaign. But K.C. will likely need at least one of its young receivers to step up as a major contributor in 2023.

On the other side of the ball, the Chiefs gave defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo two new edge rushers in free agent Charles Omenihu and first-round selection Felix Anudike-Uzomah. Both Omenihu and last year’s first-round choice, George Karlaftis, have the ability to slide inside in rushing situations, allowing Spagnuolo to design his fronts creatively.

Kansas City Chiefs Coaching Staff in 2023

  • Head Coach: Andy Reid
  • Offensive Coordinator: Matt Nagy
    • Pass game coordinator: Joe Bleymaier
    • QB coach: David Girardi
    • RB coach: Todd Pinkston
    • WR coach: Connor Embree
    • TE coach: Tom Melvin
    • OL coach: Andy Heck
  • Defensive Coordinator: Steve Spagnuolo
    • DL coach: Joe Cullen
    • LB coach/run game coordinator: Brendan Daly
    • OLB coach: Ken Flajole
    • DB coach: Dave Merritt
    • Safeties coach: Donald D’Alesio
  • Special Teams Coordinator: Dave Toub

After spending the past five seasons as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator, Eric Bieniemy departed for the Commanders, leaving Matt Nagy to be promoted to the job he previously held from 2016-17.

In four years as the Bears’ head coach, Nagy made two playoff appearances, but he bottomed out with a 6-11 record in 2021 before rejoining Kansas City’s staff. The Chiefs’ OC role is primarily involved with game-planning, as Reid calls the plays on game day.

Predicting the Kansas City Chiefs Depth Chart

Kansas City Chiefs Season Preview: Projected Depth Chart, Rosters, and Predictions

Offensive Depth Chart

  • QB: Patrick Mahomes, Blaine Gabbert, Shane Buechele, Chris Oladokun
  • RB: Isiah Pacheco, Jerick McKinnon, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Deneric Prince
  • WR: Kadarius Toney, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Skyy Moore, Rashee Rice, Justin Watson, Richie James, Justyn Ross
  • TE: Travis Kelce, Noah Gray, Jody Fortson, Blake Bell
  • LT: Donovan Smith, Wanya Morris
  • LG: Joe Thuney, Nick Allegretti
  • C: Creed Humphrey, Austin Reiter
  • RG: Trey Smith, Darrian Kinnard
  • RT: Jawaan Taylor, Lucas Niang

Defensive Depth Chart

  • DT: Chris Jones, Derrick Nnadi, Tershawn Wharton, Keondre Coburn, Danny Shelton
  • EDGE: Charles Omenihu, George Karlaftis, Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Mike Danna
  • LB: Nick Bolton, Willie Gay, Drue Tranquill, Leo Chenal
  • CB: Trent McDuffie, Jaylen Watson, L’Jarius Sneed, Joshua Williams, Nazeeh Johnson, Dicaprio Bootle
  • S: Justin Reid, Bryan Cook, Mike Edwards, Chamarri Conner

Special Teams Depth Chart

  • K: Harrison Butker
  • P: Tommy Townsend
  • LS: James Winchester
  • KR: Skyy Moore
  • PR: Kadarius Toney

2022 Results and Standings

The Chiefs were 4-2 after a devastating Week 6 loss to the Bills, but they only lost one more game (Week 13 against the Bengals) over the rest of the season. Kansas City led the NFL in scoring and offensive yardage while securing the No. 1 seed with a 14-3 regular-season record.

Mahomes survived an injury scare in the Wild Card Round during a close win over the Jaguars, while the Chiefs barely escaped Cincinnati in an AFC Championship Game rematch. A late unsportsmanlike penalty on Bengals defensive end Joseph Ossai allowed Harrison Butker to line up for a game-winning field goal in the game’s closing seconds.

Super Bowl 57 was just as close. After Jalen Hurts and the Eagles tied the score at 35-35 with just over five minutes remaining regulation, Mahomes ripped off a 26-yard scramble that put the Chiefs in field goal range. After benefitting from another late defensive penalty, Butker hit a 27-yard field goal to give Kansas City its second title in four seasons.

2023 Power Ranking and Season Outlook

Unsurprisingly, the Chiefs rank first in Dalton Miller’s post-draft power rankings. They’ll be in the Super Bowl conversation for as long as Reid and Mahomes are around.

There’s no reason to expect Kansas City’s offense to take a step backward. Losing JuJu Smith-Schuster, who led all Chiefs wide receivers in yardage last season, will hurt. But Mahomes still has All-World tight end Travis Kelce on the roster and can make a star out of at least one of his other pass-catching options.

The Chiefs’ offense is so dominant and consistent that it’s almost boring at this point. However, K.C.’s defense still has room for growth, especially given how many young contributors litter the depth chart. After finishing 17th in DVOA a season ago, the Chiefs’ defense has the talent to become a top-10 unit in 2023.

Defensive tackle Chris Jones is the club’s best defensive player and should be motivated in a contract year, but he’s far from the only contributor. Omenihu, Karlaftis, and Anudike-Uzomah could give Kansas City a better pass-rushing rotation than they had in 2022, while their three second-year corners — Trent McDuffie, Jaylen Watson, and Joshua Williams — all thrived during their rookie campaigns and are on upward trajectories.

Another postseason trip feels inevitable for the Chiefs, even if improvement by the division-rival Chargers and Broncos makes the AFC West less of a cakewalk than in previous seasons. But the AFC is still incredibly difficult, and teams like the Bengals, Bills, Jaguars, and Dolphins could stand in Kansas City’s way.

Anything less than a Super Bowl victory will likely feel like a disappointment for the rest of Mahomes’ career with the Chiefs. Another Lombardi would put Kansas City on a path to compete with Tom Brady and the 21st-century New England Patriots as the best set of teams of the past 25 years.

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