May 13, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Josh Bellamy (8) makes the catch as defensive back Jean Fanor (42) defends during the Chiefs rookie mini camp at the Kansas City Chiefs practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

2012 KC Chiefs Roster Athleticism - Wide Receiver Group

Consider this an extension of the “Of Combines and Correlations” series if you will.  However, instead of looking at just rookie scores, I’ve decided to take it a step further to see how our entire roster performed in physical attribute testing, whether through the NFL Combine or Pro Days, how those players compare amongst themselves within their position group, how they stack up against their NFL position peers, and then maybe make some assessments as whether they are beating the odds or falling in line with Joe Landers predictive model.  If you’re new to this approach, you can get a better understanding of what this is all about and perhaps why it even matters by simply reviewing Of Combines and Correlations – Part 1.

Today, we take a look at physical attribute scores for the current roster of Chiefs wide recievers as shown below.

As perhaps you may recall from Of Combines and Correlations – Part 4, Landers concludes from his statistical analysis of the 5 year combine database ending in 2008, that wide receivers who exceeded peer average in the 40 yard dash and vertical jump, plus earned at least two EPAs on top of that had the best odds for future NFL success and that 6 EPAs was optimal, again provided that EPAs in the 40 and VJ were among the EPAs earned.

The first thing that probably catches your eyes here is Josh Bellamy’s perfect* score of 7 EPAs (*noting that WRs almost never participate in the Long Shuttle Drill). 7 would seem even better than 6, right? Well, going off of Landers 5 year dataset, only one receiver achieved 7 EPAs, and as of 2008, that player was not a starter but did at least make roster.  So noted, given the small sample size, I personally wouldn’t make any statistical distinction between 7 EPAs and the optimum 6 EPAs.

Breaking it down a little, the current roster is composed of 3 receivers who achieved 6 EPAs or better, Bellamy, Kinnie, and Wylie, all of whom are rookies.  4th round pick Wylie seems to be leading the pack in terms of camp productivity however the undrafted rookies, Bellamy and local product Kinnie, have certainly also made some plays when given the opportunity.  It’s tough to figure out at this point what the Chiefs plan to do with all this fresh infusion of speed and athleticism in the context of a 53 man roster, but it will be an interesting story to watch nonetheless. Also, keep in mind that Landers timeline for determining NFL success (i.e., 1st teamer status) is 5 years or less from the time of being drafted (or in the case of UDFA’s, being signed).

Of these three, I suppose I am most optimistic about Wylie in terms of making the 53 man roster and having an immediate impact as a returner. In the case of Bellamy, he’s definitely garnered a lot of well deserved attention in training camp to date. Similarly, Kinnie has flashed some ability as a big, speedy, physical red zone threat with good hands.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon how one views the situation, the Chiefs are likely to only keep 6 receivers on the active roster and those most likely to make the final cut at this point seem to be Bowe, Breaston, Baldwin, McCluster, Wylie and I’m going to guess Copper (as a special teamer).  In the case of both Bellamy and Kinnie, even if the Chiefs are intending to slate both for the practice squad (and let’s not  leave Jeremy Horne out of this conversation either) I would really hate to see either of those guys get snatched up on waivers while we’re waiting to place them on the practice squad.

Of course, there remains several weeks before the Chiefs have to make that final cut. Things can change, injuries, competition, whatever so perhaps one or more of these guys on the outside develops quickly between now and then and earns (or steps into) an open roster spot? Scott Pioli also needs to think about the long term future of the organization.

Will Bowe be signed to a long term deal? Will he be franchised two years in a row (that second year gets pretty expensive mind you)? There are a number of things going on that suggest to me that this will be Dwayne Bowe’s last season with the Chiefs. Hopefully we get something valuable in exchange for him.

I’m also not all that certain that Steve Breaston will be around much longer either. His contract is not expensive and his production last season was nothing to write home about. I strongly recommend everyone link here to get Football Outsiders evaluation of both Bowe’s and Breaston’s 2011 campaign. Frankly, neither particularly wowed in terms of elite receiver qualifications.

With what appears to be the recent emergence of Baldwin and McCluster, along with the need to develop a receiver or two to replace Bowe, perhaps Breaston suddenly becomes expendable and one or more of these guys on the bubble can avoid the practice team/waiver conundrum and gets a year to develop as part of the regular 53 man squad? It’s also hard to say at this point whether Copper is a lock between now and the final cut.

That my Double Take Addicts.

Let me hear your thoughts on all this. Are you impressed by the physical talent and potential of the Chiefs’ rookie wide receivers this year? Are you at all surprised by what appears to be a less-than-ideal physical attribute skills of the receivers currently on the roster;  especially considering we’re talking about guys that most might consider the mainstays of our receiver corps? Lastly, what do you think holds for the future of this group?

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