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How did the Chiefs roster get put together ahead of Super Bowl 57?

We discuss how the Chiefs have built their roster ahead of playing the Eagles in Super Bowl 57.

Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs passes as he warms up prior to the AFC Championship NFL football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on January 29, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs are heading back to the Super Bowl for the third time in the last four years. General manager Brett Veach has done wonders with the salary cap over the years. Still, Kansas City has also benefitted from developing its players and having everyone play up to their potential. Their roster is poised for another win if they can beat the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Feb. 12.

Acquired via draft

QB Patrick Mahomes (1st round, 2017)
RB Isiah Pacheco (7th round, 2022)
RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (1st round, 2020)
WR Skyy Moore (2nd round, 2022)
TE Travis Kelce (3rd round, 2013)
C Creed Humphrey (2nd round, 2021)
RG Trey Smith (6th round, 2021)
DE George Karlaftis (1st round, 2022)
DT Khalen Saunders (3rd round, 2019)
DT Chris Jones (2nd round, 2016)
DT Derrick Nnadi (3rd round, 2018)
LB Willie Gay (2nd round, 2020)
LB Nick Bolton (2nd round, 2021)
LB Leo Chenal (3rd round, 2022)
CB Trent McDuffie (1st round, 2022)
CB L’Jarius Snead (4th round, 2020)
S Juan Thornhill (2nd round, 2019)

The Chiefs moved up in the 2017 draft to select Patrick Mahomes. At the time, the choice received some scrutiny with guys like Deshaun Watson and DeShone Kizer still on the board. After sitting behind Alex Smith for a season, Mahomes has done nothing but show that he was the perfect choice for the Chiefs.

Pacheco was drafted with the 251st overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and went on to rush for 830 yards and five touchdowns in the regular season. The Chiefs have excelled at developing talents on defense as they have drafted 10 of their current role players on that side of the ball.

Acquired via undrafted free agency

RT Andrew Wylie (2017)
P Tommy Townsend (2020)

Wylie went undrafted in 2017 and signed with the Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Chargers before landing with Kansas City. He has dealt with injuries in his career but has largely been able to stick around and now gets to block for one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Townsend was named to the Pro Bowl in 2022.

Acquired via veteran free agency

RB Jerick McKinnon (one-year deals in 2021 and 2022)
RB Ronald Jones (one-year deal, 2022)
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (one-year deal, 2022)
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (three-year, $30 million, 2022)
WR Justin Watson (one-year deal, 2022)
LG Joe Thuney (five-year, $80 million, 2021)
LB Carlos Dunlap (one-year, 2022)
S Justin Reid (three-year, $31.5 million, 2022)

The Chiefs wanted to get Smith-Schuster in free agency ahead of the 2021 season. He decided to return to the Pittsburgh Steelers on a one-year prove-it deal but struggled with injuries and missed most of the season. Smith-Schuster signed a one-year deal with Kansas City and is still looking for a long-term deal.

The Chiefs traded away former deep threat Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins and brought in Valdes-Scantling to make up for it. He isn’t as dynamic player of a player as Hill is, but he still helps to open up the offense. Kansas City figured out early that they needed to protect Mahomes and invested in the offensive line with a massive deal for Thuney.

Acquired via trade

WR Kadarius Toney (acquired for a third and sixth-round pick in 2023 NFL Draft from New York Giants in 2022)
LT Orlando Brown Jr. (acquired from the Baltimore Ravens in 2021, played under the franchise tag in 2022)
DE Frank Clark (Acquired from the Seattle Seahawks for draft pick compensation and then signed a 5-year, $105.5 million deal)

It became quite clear that Toney was on the outs with New York, and Kansas City was lying in wait. The former first-round pick wasn’t able to capture the anticipated success expected of him, but he is under contract for two more years giving the Chiefs another talented young receiver.

Acquired via waiver wire

K Harrison Butker (2017)

Butker was drafted in the seventh round by the Carolina Panthers in 2017. He was signed off the Panthers’ practice squad after Kansas City kicker Cairo Santos was placed on IR. Since taking over the job, Butker has remained the starting kicker for the last six seasons.

This article can also be found in our Ultimate Guide to Super Bowl 57, presented by Frank’s Red Hot.