Who has shown promise during the 2021 Kansas City Chiefs training camp?
The Kansas City Chiefs are back in training camp. St. Joe is buzzing with visitors and hope springs eternal.
So who is taking advantage of the opportunities?
I know, how much more impressive can he get, right? Apparently there is still room to grow if early indications are correct. Mahomes, entering his fourth year as a starter, is also entering the prime of his career.
Mahomes will turn 26 years old this September.
That means he’s still, according to typical NFL QB development schedules, an ascending player. Over the next four years (at a minimum), his mind and body should both be reaching their peak maturity and performance.
His understanding of Andy Reid’s offense has become ingrained. His ability to play without thinking is complete. He can instantly read defenses at the line. And he has perhaps the most talented offensive line and group of skill players he’s ever had entering this season.
Can Mahomes be better than an MVP and two Super Bowl appearances in his first three years at the helm?
The answer is as emphatic as it is unbelievable. Yes.
I’m sure most of you saw 5th rounder Noah Gray – a lanky TE from that football factory known as Duke – as the surefire impact player coming out of the draft.
Early reports are off the charts for the potential impact Gray may provide this season. His route running, awareness, hands, and grit are lauded daily by observers both on and off the field. On June 17th, Louis Riddick – a keen observer of the Kansas City Chiefs- said the following on Twitter:
Since Reid became the head coach for the Kansas City Chiefs, he’s been searching for a second tight end who could line up anywhere on the field to confuse and stress opposing defenses. In Gray, Reid appears to have finally found him.
Gray’s emergence gives the offense another significant wrinkle that (assuming the new offensive line gels and gives Mahomes just a little more time) makes the Chiefs nearly impossible to defend.
The sixth rounder with second round talent is turning out to be the steal of the 2021 draft for the Kansas City Chiefs. Teams passed on the talented guard based on health concerns with blood clots.
The truth is that Smith hasn’t had any issues in over two years.
When the veterans joined the rookies at camp this week, Smith was running with the first team – ahead of LDT and other veteran options. That’s impressive and indicates the offensive line may be even deeper than the most positive estimates.
Most expected second round pick Creed Humphrey to claim the starting center spot. It appears he’s doing that. But few thought Smith would be this impressive this quickly. With Smith stepping up, the Chiefs have potentially found another anchor along the offensive line that can grow with Mahomes over the years.
Willie Gay Jr.
We know Willie Gay is fast. We know Gay loves to hit. What we needed to determine was if Gay had absorbed the nuances of Spag’s defense and the ability to be in the right spots at the right times.
Early indications are that Gay is starting to do just that.
When Anthony Hitchens, the Mike linebacker and quarterback of the defense, went down with a hamstring tweak, Ben Niemann stepped into the position and took the reins. Bolton slid in at the Will LB and Gay moved to SAM.
Some were disappointed that top pick Nick Bolton wasn’t the choice. Not me.
Bolton has the experience as a Mike from his days at Mizzou, but the NFL is an entirely different animal.
It will take a year or two for Bolton to take control of the defense. Getting Bolton on the field with the first team in camp will accelerate his development and allow him to learn the terminology and schemes in “live” action.
This year is not the year Bolton shines. This is Gay’s time to step forward. He knows it and it looks like his play reflects it. His ability to move positions across the line means Spags has options and can use Gay more effectively.
More surprises will undoubtedly emerge. The Chiefs need to find a diamond-in-the-rough in the secondary. They also need Danna, Ward, or Kaindoh to separate themselves from the pack and become a reliable, every-game, player at DE. I think Mike Danna could be that guy, but time will tell.