After cutting down their roster to 85 players earlier this week, the Kansas City Chiefs are turning their attention to a preseason clash with the Arizona Cardinals on Friday. The Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers last week, 19-16, so momentum is on their side.
With that being said, Friday's preseason game isn't just about winning. More roster cuts need to be made by Aug. 24, so the matchup against the Cardinals could be the last opportunity that some players have to prove why they deserve a spot on the 53-man roster.
Here's a look at three Chiefs who are fighting for their jobs in Friday's preseason game.
Kansas City Chiefs Players to Watch
1. Daurice Fountain, Wide Receiver
Wideout Daurice Fountain was one of the players to watch last week as the Chiefs took on the 49ers. After all, Kansas City is still assessing the team's wide receiver depth order beyond Tyreek Hill. Well, Fountain ended up having a decent showing as he led all Chiefs players in targets (6), receptions (4) and receiving yards (38). While those aren't mind-blowing stats, they are impressive for the limited action that he saw. Considering how Foutain's NFL career up until this point has been unremarkable, he certainly needed a showing like he had last week. Now, the 25-year-old needs to convince the Chiefs to keep him around beyond the next roster cuts. With several other wideouts vying for an opportunity, Fountain's fate is in his own hands Friday.
2. Darwin Thompson, Running Back
Chiefs fans hoped that 2019 sixth-round pick Darwin Thompson would become a useful piece of the team's offense when he was initially drafted. However, he hasn't really done anything noteworthy over his first two seasons. While he has 225 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns over 26 career games in a depth role, his 2.5 yards per carrying is far from ideal and he struggled with pass-catching last season, hauling in just 63.6% of his targets. Even as a backup's backup, those aren't encouraging numbers. With Darrel Williams and Jerick McKinnon ahead of him on the depth chart, things aren't looking good for Thompson. After an unremarkable performance last week, he'll need a strong showing Friday or else he may have to consider looking for a new team to join.
3. Tim Ward, Defensive End
Second-year defensive end Tim Ward was impressive in the Chiefs' victory over the 49ers, finishing the contest with 4 total tackles and a team-high 2.0 sacks. While that performance got him some points in the coaching staff's good books, a roster spot is far from guaranteed for the 24-year-old. Ward is competing with guys like Chris Jones, Frank Clark and Alex Okafor at the DE position — all players with more seniority and a better resume than the sophomore. The Chiefs certainly won't cut one of them to make room for Ward, so he needs a performance against Arizona that'll force the staff to think about cutting someone else. Nevertheless, even if he doesn't make the next round of cuts, Ward has shown that he could probably be a part of someone else's defense if it doesn't work out in Kansas City.
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