Do The Kansas City Chiefs Have Enough Talent At Wide Receiver?

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?

Dec. 2, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Donnie Avery (11) runs into the end zone to score the game winning touchdown to defeat the Detroit Lions 35-33 at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Topics: Dexter McCluster, Donnie Avery, Dwayne Bowe, Jonathan Baldwin, Kansas City Chiefs

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  • Scott Mahurin

    I guess it’s a wait and see thing…kinda like was it the Qb’s fault and do we have a QB now?

  • Joel Wagler

    LOL. Great question, Scott. I think we are all waiting to see if Smith is for real or was he only successful because of Harbaugh.

    • htmn74

      Alex Smith began really taking off mid 2010 after telling Singletary to kiss his ass.

      • mnelson52

        You’re right. The second half of 2010, he started playing well and.continued getting better in 2011 and even better in 2012. I think he is now, the real deal.

    • Jim Harper

      I hear that too much. I think he became successful in spite of Harbaugh.

  • Guest

    Good Article! I was hoping the Chiefs would aquire a WR with a mid round pick! I think, because we couldn’t deal Albert, that missing 2nd rounder for Smith, didn’t help. If we could have dealt him for a second, I think we really might have grabbed one.

  • Joel Wagler

    I agree. I wanted them to grab a WR when they took Kelce,or at least at that 96th pick.

    • mnelson52

      I felt the same way but after watching tape on Kelce, I think he was a good pick.

  • htmn74

    I think it’s time for Baldwin to break out considering Alex Smith is effective passing to large targets especially the short to medium routes where JB can use his muscle to make the play. Think: slants and short in routes.

    • KCMikeG

      Having a reliable QB and stable, quality coaching will make all the difference.

  • hipnetic

    This is shaping up to be the perfect scenario for Alex. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong, but I’ve watched enough tape of Alex to believe that he’s one of the most accurate QB’s (including the deep pass) out there. I love Vernon Davis, but Alex made Vernon look good. Alex threw perfectly placed passes to VD time and time again. What Alex didn’t have was a good passing OL. The 49ers OL was great for the rush, but not for the pass. Alex was sacked way more often than any QB should be, and most of that time he wasn’t holding onto the ball too long. Now we’ll have Alex teamed up with what looks to be a really solid passing OL. I’m stoked.