Packers vs. Chiefs Preview: Diamond Search

Junior Hemingway

With one pretend game remaining for the Kansas City Chiefs, there are a handful of players that could benefit from a solid outing against the Green Bay Packers. With many prime time participants watching this game in street clothes, five players need to make a statement for new head coach, Andy Reid.

1 WR Junior Hemingway- He was one of the stars of the game last weekend at Pittsburgh. In practice this week, he spent some time with the first team offense. That means this one time roster long shot has quickly risen up the depth charts.

That's a good thing for the Chiefs because they need to continue to be strong at the wide receiver position. Quarterback, Alex Smith, did a solid job last weekend against the Steelers spreading the ball to all his receivers. Hemingway was one of them who took full advantage of the illness that feel on fellow receiver, Dexter McCluster.

Head Coach, Andy Reid, praised Hemingway this week in practice. But he also indicated firmly, there was room for improvement in his game. In other words, he could have been more productive in KC's offense had he run better routes to the ball.

The fact he's already surging up the depth chart, tells me the former Michigan standout, intends on making the Chiefs final 53-man roster.

2. RB Cyrus Gray - If the Chiefs carry six or seven wide receivers, they may debate keeping three or four running backs as well. One of those roster bubble guys (another Scott Pioli draft pick) is former Texas A&M running back, Cyrus Gray.

A year ago he showed flashes of brilliance but he's in a roster dog fight sitting behind, Jamaal Charles, Knile Davis and Shaun Draughn. So it's doubtful he'll make the roster, but he does have enough talent to make plays at the NFL level. However, should one of the backs in front of him get injured, Gray could squeak on the roster Saturday.

3. G/T Geoff Schwartz - He was my MVP last weekend against the Pittsburgh Steelers. When starting guard, Jon Asamoah, injured his leg, Schwartz came in and solidified the interior of the Chiefs offensive line.

Based on the performance alone, Schwartz should be the Chiefs starting right guard when the season begins one week from Sunday at Jacksonville. He was one of the most unheralded but important free agent acquisitions the Chiefs made this offseason.

So I'm perplexed as to why he's sitting behind right tackle, Eric Fisher, on Andy Reid's current depth chart. He's clearly one of the Chiefs five best offensive linemen and should be playing guard not tackle.

4. CB Jalil Brown - He's another roster bubble player that must have a big game on Thursday night against the Packers. Though the Chiefs are a bit thin when it comes to secondary depth, Brown, who has been given every opportunity to show off his abilities, has to deliver the goods in the preseason finale.

For the most part of his Chiefs two-year career, he's been more miss than hit. But right now the Chiefs don't have a fourth cornerback that has the skills of Brown. That means his Packers performance could be the difference between making the roster and the Chiefs claiming another cornerback off waivers.

5. LB Nico Johnson - It doesn't appear the former Alabama standout is going to crack the starting lineup. Unless he suffers an injury veteran, Akeem Jordan, will start at inside linebacker for the Chiefs. But Johnson is going to be a key component to KC's defense this season.

In fact based on his enormous abilities and football IQ; I'd be surprised if Nico doesn't move to first team defense mid-season. Johnson has a world of talent and tremendous instincts to play at this level. In going with the veteran Jordan, the Chiefs are very wise to bring this future starter along very slowly.

Will the Chiefs learn anything from Thursday nights contest?

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