Chiefs vs Bengals Preview: 7 To Watch

Not much can truly be gleamed from the first exhibition game of the season but nonetheless the Kansas City Chiefs will host the Cincinnati Bengals at Arrowhead. So which seven players need to shine Thursday night?

1. QB Chase Daniel - If there’s true a weakness on offense on this roster, it has to be the back-up quarterback job. We all know that Alex Smith, contract squabbles aside, will be the opening day starter. What we don’t know is who will back him up.

The candidates appear to be Daniel or second year man, Tyler Bray. There’s no question the better of the two quarterbacks might be youngest in this battle for the back-up job. However over the last week, Daniel has improved his play on the practice field. Still that doesn’t mean anything at this point. He needs a solid game Thursday night to avoid being pushed down the depth chart or off the roster altogether.

2. WR Donnie Avery - We all know what the Chiefs have in veteran receiver, Dwayne Bowe. However, based on the way Avery has preformed in camp to date, I have high hopes he can become a big time contributor on offense.

Though he’s a lock to make the roster, his productivity might be key for the Chiefs offense to find other options on the field. They’re strong at running back and tight end but the wide receiver position has room for improvement. Avery needs to show his status as Bowe’s solid number two. So a few good catches against the Bengals, might be a precursor to greater success down the road.

3. RB De’Anthony Thomas - He’s proven to be a force in the passing game at camp. It will be interesting to see if he can carry that success into a real game. There were a few so-called draft experts that panned the Chiefs decision to draft him. But I can’t see a shred of evidence; those folks knew what they were bantering about in regards to Thomas.

The kid has unreal speed coming out of the backfield. And to this point in camp, I’d put his catching hands on par with All World Running Back, Jamaal Charles. It will be interesting to see how Reid uses him Thursday night.

4. S Daniel Sorenson - I could care less the former BYU standout didn’t get drafted. To me, he’s the third best safety in camp to date. He’s not ready to take over for Pro Bowl Safety, Eric Berry, but he has some serious defensive skills.

Everyone knows how I feel about Berry so anything that Sorenson can bring to the defense will be a he plus in regards to depth down the road. He’s always been one of my roster sleepers. Sorenson is tough, physical and has deceptive speed in the secondary.

5. DE Vance Walker - In camp, he’s already showed flashes of becoming a force on defense for the Chiefs. The former Raiders defender has been a solid addition so far. In fact, on the defensive front, he might be their best overall acquisition.

Walker can play outside or inside on KC’s defensive line. He’s a solid run stuffer who can also put the quarterback down on his backside. To me, that’s his biggest asset. The Chiefs need more sack producers and Walker has the ability to do just that.

6. G Zach Fulton - Next to Right Tackle, Donald Stephenson, the 2014 sixth round pick from Tennessee, has been the Chiefs best offensive lineman in camp. The fact he’s come out of nowhere to claim a starting spot before the first exhibition game, tells me a lot of teams whiffed on his potential.

Now, that could be a mute point if he doesn’t play well, but so far he’s been the most consistent guard this team has on it’s roster. It will be good to see how he fairs Thursday night against the Bengals.

7. WR Albert Wilson - He’s been the talk of camp and many feel this undrafted rookie from Georgia State has a chance to make the final 53-man roster. He along with fellow undrafted receiver, Mark Harrison, will battle it out for the final slot.

To his credit, Wilson has been solid since he was signed back in May. He catches everything in reach and has terrific route discipline. His size is an issue but if the roster spot actually came down to Wilson or Canadian import, Weston Dressler, the south combatant would win the battle.

Photos: John Rieger USA Today Sports - Donnie Avery & Chris Owens (1) Chase Daniel (2)

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