Fear the Beard! This week, the KC Kingdom spotlight is going to shine on the tight end from Henderson State, Sean McGrath. The Kansas City Chiefs plucked the Bearded One off the scrap heap after the preseason, and he is quickly becoming a fan favorite.
Sean McGrath played college ball for the Reddies of Henderson State, in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. He went undrafted (imagine that!) out of college but signed as a free agent after the 2012 NFL Draft with the Seattle Seahawks.
He did not make the team as a rookie out of camp but was signed to the practice squad, off and on, for most of last season. He was on the regular roster for the last two games of 2012 season but never caught any passes for the Seahawks.
At the end of the 2013 preseason, Seattle released McGrath and the Kansas City Chiefs claimed him off waivers. The rest, as they say, is history.
After not catching any passes in the first game against Jacksonville, and with the continuing health issues of Anthony Fasano and Travis Kelce, McGrath has been asked to fill the role as the primary tight end in this offense. He has responded in a very productive fashion.
n the last four games, quarterback Alex Smith has targeted McGrath 19 times and the tight end has responded by pulling in 15 of those passes for 180 yards and a touchdown. McGrath is converting 78.9% of the passes heaved in his direction. The team average in converting targeted passes is 58.4.
With those kinds of numbers, look for Smith to throw to the 6’5″, 247-pounder more often. Both Smith and coach Andy Reid love incorporating the tight end into the offensive scheme. With his performances over the past 4 weeks, McGrath has to be earning more trust from his quarterback and coach. Look for the number of passes coming McGrath’s way to increase over the next few weeks.
Sean McGrath’s underdog story, his path to a starting job in the NFL, and his distinctive facial hair, are starting to endear him to the fans of the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. His wild, grizzled beard is clearly visible through his face mask, and flows out the bottom of his helmet, nearly hides his chin strap, and makes him stand out. His solid, productive play makes him even more noticeable.
He may be an emerging weapon for the Chiefs offense. Kansas City has been winning with a terrific defense and just enough offense but if a player like McGrath can develop into someone Alex Smith and Andy Reid can incorporate into the game plan, the Chiefs will be stronger for it.
General Manager John Dorsey must be commended for grabbing McGrath, and last week’s spotlighted player, Marcus Cooper, from the ranks of the cut players after the preseason. Some diligent homework has really paid off.
Keep a close eye on number 84 this week against the Raiders. Watch to see if he is a good blocker, if he can get off the line easily, and how he runs his routes. All of these things will help determine if he retains his job when Fasano gets completely healthy.
Meanwhile – Fear the Beard!