Chiefs fans go wild for Tyreek Hill as he signs autographs at training camp
The Chiefs’ first depth chart includes eight players who did not start the AFC Championship Game in January. One, offensive lineman Cameron Erving, has been running with the second team in training camp.
The seven others have replaced some former mainstays, and this season’s results will determine if the collective changes are seen as an upgrade.
Gone are defensive lineman Allen Bailey, linebackers Justin Houston and Dee Ford, cornerback Steven Nelson and safety Eric Berry.
Their approximate replacements include defensive linemen Frank Clark and Alex Okafor, linebacker Damien Wilson, corner Bashard Breeland and safety Tyrann Mathieu. All of these players were brought in, along with a new defensive staff headed by coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, as part of a major makeover.
That wasn’t the case on offense but gone are offensive lineman Mitch Morse and receiver Chris Conley. Austin Reiter, who started four games at center for the Chiefs last season, replaces Morse. Rookie Mecole Hardman, who like Conley attended Georgia, is the newcomer in the wide receiver rotation.
Other newcomers will make an impact, too. In one of the team’s less-discussed offseason moves, tight end Demetrius Harris signed with the Cleveland Browns.
The Chiefs should be able to duplicate Harris’ offensive production. He had just 57 receptions and six receiving touchdowns in five seasons with the Chiefs.
But Harris led the team in special-teams snaps last season, playing on nearly every kickoff and punt unit. Playing his role in training camp is tight end newcomer Blake Bell.
“The plan is to have him be that guy,” special teams coordinator Dave Toub said Bell. “We got a lot out of Demetrius last year. I think he had the most special-teams plays for a tight end in the whole league. He was setting the bar really high.
“We are not going to necessarily ask (Bell) to be that guy, but he’s going to be playing a lot of those same positions.”
Frank Clark (wrist) didn’t practice during Monday’s short workout. “We just held him back — he’s going to be fine,” coach Andy Reid said.
The list of others not practicing Monday remained long: Gehrig Dieter, Tyreek Hill, Damien Wilson, Jordan Lucas, Damien Williams and Alex Okafor.
Emmanual Ogbah, who had missed time with a strained oblique, returned to practice Monday.
The Chiefs have Tuesday off and return to practice on Wednesday (8:15 a.m.) and Thursday (9:15 a.m.). They’ll be off Friday and play their preseason opener Saturday against the Cinncinati Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium. Kickoff is 7 p.m.