Rashee Rice has been a revelation for a disappointing Chiefs' wide receiver group, shining as a beacon of light amongst uninspiring performances.
We're the self-proclaimed conductors of the "Rashee Rice Hype Train" here, but we may not have been ringing the bells loud enough.
Even we didn't expect Rice to have a case as one of the NFL's most effective receivers already. To our surprise and glee, one key stat shows he's among the NFL's elite receivers and he's just getting started.
Rashee Rice Among NFL's Elite WRs in Key Stat
Do you see the names on that list? Tyreek Hill, Brandon Aiyuk, AJ Brown, Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb, DeAndre Hopkins, Stefon Diggs, etc.
Rice is right there with the best receivers in the NFL, routinely generating yards at an excellent rate that ranks among the league's elite.
Puka Nacua of the Rams is the only other rookie on the list and he's quite possibly having the best rookie wide receiver season in history. That's pretty good company to keep! That being said, a deeper look shows Rice's performance is even more impressive than it initially appears.
Essentially, that means Rice is doing an exceptional job of creating something out of nothing.
He's averaging a ridiculous 8.3 yards after catch per reception, leading ALL NFL wide receivers. Players like Deebo Samuel, DJ Moore and Tyreek Hill are known for being dangerous after the catch, but Rice outpaces all of them.
Averaging 12 yards per catch on the season with nine red zone targets (second-most on the Chiefs), Rice is a weapon at every level. He can beat you behind the line of scrimmage, over the middle AND in the end zone, giving Andy Reid a unique, versatile skillset to develop.
There are obviously still ways Rice needs to improve. His 12.8% drop rate is the worst among all qualified receivers but I don't expect that issue to persist. He caught 223 passes over four years in college, routinely displaying soft, dependable hands.
The best is yet to come. Rice is still only 23 years old and I can't wait to see him continue to grow into one of the NFL's elite receivers.
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