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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  • vbchief

    Lets say this scenario happens…. What of bowe signs his tender and gets traded THIS YEAR!!! and then say…in week three baldwin goes down with an injury and is out for the year. What happens then?;

    • DoubleD

      We can do what if’s all day long. What if both Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson go down? See what I mean?

  • Jim Harper

    Reports on Bellamy have been gloing, but not have heard much about Kinnie. God, I hope they do not give a spot to Copper. He drops too many balls and I am tired of hearing he so so valuable on special teams. I am sure that Pioli will know early on this season what to do about Bowe. My inclination tells me that Dumb-Bowe needs to find a new circus, and he is not nearly as irreplaceable as he thinks he is.

    • DoubleD

      I’ve read that Kinnie has had some moments in red zone drills, fade routes and so on. I tend to agree with you on Bowe – I won’t say that his presence doesn’t help the offense but I’m not so sure he’s what I’d call indispensable. He’s never really been a deep threat and it seems to me we have several receiving options can be just as productive, either individually or collectively, in the manner that Bowe has been used. Couple that with the fact that the Chiefs offense is built on the run (which I have every reason to think will be even better than what we witnessed in 2010) and Bowe’s value diminishes even more. I could go on but I’ll stop.

    • DoubleD

      Let’s play a little game, shall we? First we decide which receivers will not make the team. In no particular order, I’ll say Hemingway (too far behind d/t groin injury), Newsome (hasn’t done much to stand out), Markshausen (camp body), & Weaver (ditto Markshausen).
      Second, let’s agree on who we think definitely will make the team. Based on this camp, I’ll just go with Bowe #1, Baldwin #2, and McCluster for the slot at this point. That probably leaves 3 roster spots to fill unless the Chiefs get aggressive at the position. If I’m the Chiefs, I’m looking for some blend of immediate talent (starters), sufficient depth, versatility, development, and maybe even leadership. Just to make things fun, let’s also assume this is Dwayne Bowe’s last season with the Chiefs.
      In this scenario, I’m left with the following players to fill my 3 remaining roster spots: Bellamy, Breaston, Copper, Horne, Kinnie, and Wylie. I’m also going to try to get at least one of these guys onto the practice squad.
      The first guy I go with is Breaston to interchange with Baldwin or Bowe. The next guy I think go with is Wylie to develop behind McCluster and for special teams. For me, the last slot right now probably goes to Bellamy, again to interchange with Bowe/Baldwin.
      That means in addition to the clear cuts, that Copper, Horne, & Kinnie briefly hit the waiver wire. I’m guessing Todd Haley will want to grab either Copper or Horne if he gets the chance. Kinnie will be the unknown of the bunch and I believe he’s the one most likely to make the Chiefs practice squad.
      This gives us playmakers at all three starting positions, a combination of solid depth and veteran presence in Breaston, a combination of speed, talent and development players in both Wylie and Bellamy. In Wylie’s case, we’ll also have some special teams skills because not only can he be a returner, he can also be valuable as a gunner.
      Sound reasonable?

      • Gregg Keppler

        Markshausen is our nephew and we are just hoing for the best! Enjoying the road trips from New Yawk.