The Kansas City Chiefs have twelve wide receivers presently on their roster. Outside of Dwayne Bowe, none of the remaining 11 receivers have much of a track record of success. Is this corp of receivers good enough to provide the production needed to challenge for a playoff spot in the AFC?
Of the remaining receivers, off season acquisition Donnie Avery is the most accomplished but nothing about his career stats stand out. In his five seasons in the NFL, with three different teams, Avery only has 163 catches for 2089 yards with 12 touchdowns. These numbers include sitting out the entire 210 season due to a knee injury and making only 3 catches all season in 2011, all of which came in the last game of the season with the Tennessee Titans. His best season came this past season in Indianapolis. He 60 grabs for 781 yards. After Avery, Dexter McCluster has the most catches with 119 in 3 seasons with 989 yards and only 3 receiving touchdowns. Jonathan Baldwin has been a complete bust through 2 years with the Chiefs thus far, catching only 41 passes for 579 yards. The rest of the receivers on the roster just haven’t been productive in their careers.
Can the Chiefs really count on Avery, McCluster, and Baldwin to step up their games enough to relieve the pressure on new quarterback Alex Smith or his primary target, Dwayne Bowe? It just isn’t clear where the needed production will come from. Chiefs fans can hope that McCluster, or maybe a Devon Wylie, can turn into a DeSean Jackson. Andy Reid features a pass happy offense that tends to run off the pass. It just isn’t obvious that he has the tools here right now that he had in Philadelphia. It will be interesting how he game plans here with less talented receivers.
One thing that is encouraging is that Reid has also featured the tight end in his offense. Over the past 4 seasons, the Eagles’ Brent Celek has averaged nearly 60 passes a year. The Chiefs seem to be stronger there with Tony Moeaki and Anthony Fasano. Kansas City added Travis Kelce in last week’s draft, and he could prove to be a threat to the middle of the field. Still, will this be enough talent for the Chiefs throw the ball as much as the Eagles did?
With Branden Albert now apparently back at left tackle and number one overall draft pick Eric Fisher slated, for now, to play right tackle, the Chiefs offensive line is in good shape. Jamaal Charles, newly drafted Knile Davis, and returning Cyrus Gray make up a strong running back squad. Dorsey has also accumulated several options at fullback. These components are certainly strengths for Kansas City. The wide receivers after Bowe, are much more question marks than probably more than any other unit on the team. Two or three, even four, of the guys from the group which includes not only Avery, McCluster, Baldwin, and Wylie, but also Josh Bellamy, Terrance Copper, Mardy Galyard, Junior Hemingway, Jamar Newsome, Tyler Shoemaker, and Jerheme Urban, have to step up and take control. Someone needs to excel opposite Bowe. It will be hard for the Chiefs to have an effective passing game if only Dwayne Bowe can be counted on.
Reid is known for his offensive mind and his game planning. He has enough experience in the NFL for fans to believe he can come up with a successful offense that will best use the tools he has at hand. Let’s hope he can develop some of these receivers into productive players. At this point, though, that receiving corp does not lend itself to much confidence.