The following is a guest post by FanSided partner SeatCrunch.
Is Devon Wylie the Answer to the Chiefs’ Struggling Passing Game?
Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker doesn’t exactly fit the mold of a prototype wide receiver. Standing at 5″9′ and weighing in at 185lbs, Welker is clearly undersized when compared to many of the NFL‘s elite receivers.
That being said, Welker has consistently posted stats that rival those of the best receivers in the NFL. After a less than dazzling tenure with the Dolphins, Welker was traded to the New England Patriots, where he has accumulated 1,100+ yards in all but one of his season. This includes a 14-game 1,348-yard effort in 2009, and a 1,569-yard display in 2011. The only wide receiver that was more productive than Welker in 2011 was the 6’6″ freak of nature from Detroit, Calvin Johnson Jr.
In recent years, with the exception of Dwayne Bowe, the Kansas City Chiefs receiving corps have failed to impress. This year, however, the Chiefs may have found an answer to their struggling passing game. In the 4th round of the draft, the Chiefs selected wide receiver Devon Wylie. Many have been drawing comparisons between Wylie and Welker, and with good reason. Wylie stands at 5’9″, and weighs in at 185 lbs.
Like Welker, Wylie plays in the slot, and is actually more explosive than the Patriot’s vet. Posting a 4.39 at the NFL Combine, Wylie’s 40-yard dash time tied for second among wide receivers, making him a very viable threat for the deep ball any time he’s on the field. The only players who posted faster times than Wylie were Travis Benjamin ( Cleveland Browns), Stephen Hill ( New York Jets) and Chris Owusu ( San Francisco 49ers).
The Chiefs have been experimenting with the slot position lately, but have found little success. Will Devon Wylie become the Chiefs’ version of Wes-Welker? It may be too soon to tell, but as members of the AFC West, the Chiefs face some mediocre pass defenses. The Raiders, for example, allowed 251 passing yards per game, and the Broncos allowed 231.
If any rookie has the potential to make an unexpected impact on their teams’ success, it’s Devon Wylie. While the opposing defense focuses on stopping Jamaal Charles, Wylie will slice and dice through the secondary for those short and unstoppable Welker-like catches that drive defensive coordinators nuts.
Wylie has a long way to go before reaching elite status, but don’t be surprised if you see him make a big impact on the productivity of the Chiefs offense and kick return game. And who knows? Maybe in the near future Arrowhead Stadium will be home to the league’s new most-dominant slot receiver.
Be sure to catch Wylie and the Chiefs in their opener against the Falcons on Sept. 9. In the preseason, the Chiefs will face off against the Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks and Packers.