The Kansas City Chiefs desperately need help at the wide receiver position. They have been so desperate for wideouts the last couple of years that they have been consistently turning over the scrap heap looking for a diamond in the rough.
They may have found one in Verran Tucker.
Tucker went undrafted out of Cal and spent the first half of the season on the practice squad until another undrafted WR, Jeremy Horne, was injured and released by the team. The Chiefs eventually re-signed Horne to the practice squad while Tucker got called up to the active roster.
Tucker’s first NFL catch was an 11-yard TD pass against the Oakland Raiders. The Chiefs would go on to lose that game in OT but Tucker’s catch in the back of the endzone was one of the game’s best highlights.
Tucker finished the season with 6 catches for 114 yards. He split time with Terry Copper and Chris Chambers.
While Tucker’s influence on the passing game was very minimal, his impact on special teams was fantastic. Pro Football Focus lists Tucker as tied with 5 other players as the 8th best special teams player in the NFL.
8th out of 1100 players!
I believe Tucker also recovered a fumble at one point
I have decided not to go too in depth with Tucker’s receiving numbers from Pro Football Focus. When looking at these numbers it is important to remember that Tucker played less than 25% of KC’s offensive snaps. He was in for 211 snaps in the regular season so his sample size is very small.
He ended up with an overall grade of +1.5, thanks mostly to a good day run blocking against the Seahwaks. Tucker really only played a handful of snaps on offense and was never in for more than half the plays in any game he was active. His impact really was as a special teams player.
I am going to go ahead and rank Tucker as an ascending backup.
Tucker went undrafted for a reason. The scouting reports on him claim he has suspect hands at times and can have difficulty with his route running. He has average height and size (6-1, 204) and poor speed (4.65 40 at his pro day). He also lacks some lower body strength and isn’t really a threat once he catches the ball.
Tucker does seem to make the occasional spectacular catch, mostly thanks to his excellent leaping ability. The scouts say he also does a pretty nice job shielding his body from defenders when trying to make a catch.
Tucker looks to probably be a younger version of Terry Copper with perhaps a smidge more upside. He’s a team guy that will to whatever it takes to help out and stay on the pro roster. That includes playing fearlessly on special teams. He also demonstrated this team first attributes with his down-field blocking performance against the Seahwaks.
That isn’t to say that Tucker couldn’t still develop into a decent receiver. He is very young and with some work could increase his speed and route running. I don’t know that he’ll ever be a star but there are a lot of receivers who end up being late bloomers who come out of nowhere. What is working in Tucker’s favor is that he is more than a project. He has actual talent on special teams that will keep him on the 53-man roster for the Chiefs. If he develops into a decent possession receiver it will be a bonus for KC. They got him for nothing and he is already their best punt/kickoff coverage guy. Anything more from Tucker is gravy.
As far as receiver goes, the Chiefs had better not put any of their eggs in Tucker’s basket. Even if he ever does develop, it isn’t likely to happen for a couple of years. KC needs, at the very least, 2 very good receivers to pair with Dwayne Bowe because at this point, they can only afford to put about one egg in Dexter McCluster’s basket.
What do you think Addicts? Will Tucker ever develop into a serious receiving threat or is he more of a back end special teams guy?
Chiefs Roster Evaluation: