Kelce will likely serve the Shockey-like role in the Chiefs offense and he embraces that opportunity.
“I would like to think I’m a different breed of player, someone that can get after a guy in the run game, but at the same time catch a ball and go 80 to the house,’’ Kelce said. “I think the Chiefs are going to get someone who is very versatile and if I had to possibly choose one guy (to compare himself to), I would choose Jeremy Shockey just the way he plays with passion and energy. I think that would be an awesome comparison.”
With fellow tight end Tony Moeaki sidelined until training camp while he recovers from his injuries, Kelce will have every opportunity to continue to impress his coaches.
Many other 2009 draftees are facing the same kind of evaluations, and there is a good chance many will be on new rosters next year. The 2009 draft has already been looked at as a disappointment for the past couple of years. Four of the top 11 picks — tackle Jason Smith, linebacker Aaron Curry, wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, defensive lineman Aaron Maybin — are no longer with the teams that drafted them.
Smith, Curry and Maybin are making the NFL minimum with their new teams. Mark Sanchez, the fifth pick in the 2009 draft, has his New York Jets career on life support. If Sanchez does make the roster this year, it’s almost guaranteed he won’t be back in 2014. Defensive end Tyson Jackson, the third pick in the 2009 draft, has had to take pay cuts from his rookie contract the past two years to stay with the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s a free agent next year.
Alex’s response, following an OTA practice, to the Ault hiring, spoke further to the professionalism he brings each and every day to the practice field and locker room.
“Excited,” Smith admitted. “He was here a few weeks ago. He came in and spent a few days with us. It’s a wealth of knowledge. For me, being exposed to it, playing with Colin (Kaepernick) and the little bit we were doing back there in San Fran, I got a little bit exposed to it, and then a few days with him, got me excited. I think it’s a great addition.”
Regardless if Smith is operating out of the Pistol or taking snaps from under center, his wide receivers will be a vital part of the offense in 2013.
“It’s a talented group,” Smith said. “For us, it’s a group. We work hand-in-hand as QBs and receivers. We work with each other; can’t have one without the other. We have a big group, a lot of talent and a lot of guys with different strengths is what kind of jumps out at you at first.”
The Chiefs defense, which has been flying all over the field during recent OTAs, now has a better understanding of what exactly Smith brings to the table.