Chiefs Promote Rookie, Welcome Back Recently-Cut Veteran: Report

Getty Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.

The Kansas City Chiefs are giving one of their rookie draft picks his first opportunity to play in an NFL regular season game in Week 4.

The Chiefs are promoting rookie cornerback Nazeeh Johnson from the practice squad to the 53-player roster, according to Adam Teicher of ESPN on September 28.

Johnson, a seventh-round pick, was one of five defensive backs drafted by the Chiefs this year, with the others being first-round pick Trent McDuffie, second-round pick Bryan Cook, fourth-round pick Joshua Williams, and seventh-round pick Jaylen Watson. However, Johnson was the only drafted defensive back that didn’t make Kansas City’s active roster at the start of the regular season.

With McDuffie landing on injured reserve on September 13 and an extra roster spot opening up due to the team releasing veteran linebacker Elijah Lee on September 27, it makes sense for the Chiefs to promote Johnson to the 53-player roster ahead of their Week 4 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday Night Football.

Chiefs Welcome Back Veteran LB

Along with promoting Johnson, the Chiefs are also welcoming back a veteran defender, but this time he’ll be joining the practice squad.

Kansas City is re-signing linebacker Elijah Lee to the practice squad, according to Herbie Teope of the Kansas City Star on September 28.

Kansas City signed Lee, 26, to a one-year deal on March 22. As a six-year NFL veteran, Lee was expected to compete for defensive reps behind second-year linebacker Nick Bolton and third-year linebacker Willie Gay. However, the play of rookie third-round pick Leo Chenal and Darius Harris, who is filling in for Gay during his four-game suspension, pushed Lee down the depth chart. That’s why the Chiefs cut ties with him at the end of the preseason and then signed him to their practice squad at the beginning of the regular season.

The Chiefs did promote Lee to the 53-player roster on September 10. Yet, outside of 8 defensive snaps in Week 1, Lee has not earned a snap outside of special teams over the last two games, according to Pro Football Reference.

Lee will now remain on Kansas City’s practice squad as an emergency option for the linebacker room.

Twitter Reacts to Johnson’s Promotion

Twitter users reacted to Johnson being promoted to Kansas City’s 53-player roster.

“Brett Veach continues to deliver in the secondary,” one Twitter user wrote. “Unreal all these young guys are on the active roster. Won’t always be pretty but could pay huge dividends.”

“Have to wonder if this is in response to (Rashad) Fenton’s struggles,” another user wrote. “Fenton has allowed 12 completions on 14 targets and opposing QB’s have a 113.7 QBR against him this season.”

“It’s crazy how Veach is so adept at identifying late-round CB talent despite it being the most volatile position in football,” Adam Best of Arrowhead Addict wrote.

“Special teams help most likely. This also means the entire 2022 draft class is on the 53 man roster,” Conner Christopherson of Arrowhead Report wrote.

“Lowkey excited to see what he does,” Arrowhead Live wrote.

Watch my boy (Nazeeh Johnson) go crazy once the opportunity presents itself,” another user wrote.

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