Roster Prediction: Wide Receivers

 

The Kansas City Chiefs wasted no time making their first round of cuts. On Sunday, the team parted ways with 14 players ahead of the NFL’s deadline for paring rosters back to 75 players (today). Among those cuts was ten-year veteran wide receiver Terrance Copper. His release was mildly surprising given few available spots at the position and the consistency of his special teams contributions.

The deadline for trimming NFL rosters to 53 players is August 31 at 5pm (Eastern). With my failed predictions in 2012 behind me, I’m ready to get back on the horse. I’ll spare you a reminder about the two things I completely whiffed on last season. Today’s a new day so let’s look ahead, shall we?

Without further ado, here are my 2013 wide receiver roster predictions:

1. Andy Reid will keep six wide receivers.

In three of the past five seasons, Andy Reid has taken six wide receivers into the regular season. The top three spots will go to Kansas City’s X, Y, and Z receivers. The bottom three slots will go to A.J. Jenkins (who the team is essentially wed to because of his $1.8m cap hit in 2013) and two players who will contribute on special teams. I suspect one of them will be an important member of the Chiefs’ return rotation. One of the bottom three needs to be a reliable pass-catcher. An injury to either Dwayne Bowe or Donnie Avery would leave the receiver corps perilously thin.

2. Four of the six spots are already spoken for.

Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery, Dexter McCluster, and A.J. Jenkins are all safe. Jon Baldwin’s unceremonious exit from Kansas City punched the ticket for both Avery and Jenkins to start the year. McCluster is the incumbent in the slot and ostensibly a favorite of new head coach Andy Reid. Dex’s quickness, speed, and route-running ability are all conducive to him having success inside. Even with a waiver wire signing I expect little change to the top four spots. Unless they’re in the market for a player like Brandon Lloyd, the jobs to be had are at the bottom of the position group.

3. Richardson/Hemingway/Wylie are battling for the remaining two jobs.

Terrance Copper was the only name in the first round of cuts that caught my eye. He’s been such a big contributor to special teams in years past, he been a safe bet to make the team as a 5th or 6th wide receiver. Apparently, Andy Reid (and possibly Dave Toub) had a different idea. It’s possible that the team wanted to get younger at the bottom of the receiver corps. It’s also reasonable to think they may want a bigger offensive contribution. That leaves just three young players to vie for the final two spots: Junior Hemingway, Devon Wylie, and Rico Richardson.

Here are the preseason stat lines for each player:

Wylie – 5 catches, 52 receiving yards, 0 TDs | 10 returns, 237 return yards, 0 TDs

Hemingway – 4 catches, 36 receiving yards, 1 TD | 1 special teams tackle

Richardson – 2 catches, 22 receiving yards, 1 TD | 1 return, 16 return yards, 0 TDs

In terms of sheer production, Devon Wylie has been the most productive. He has nearly 300 all-purpose yards through three games. Wylie is the most valuable player, in the trio, to Toub’s return group. The other two players’ main contributions have been on offense and in special teams coverage. Hemingway and Richardson own two of the three offensive touchdowns Kansas City has scored this preseason. Both touchdowns were meaningful. In Saturday night’s contest with the Steelers, Hemingway saw time with the first team and caught a game-tying touchdown to end the first half. Richardson caught the 15-yard game-winning touchdown in overtime.

Thursday night’s game against the Green Bay Packers should prove dramatic for these three receivers fighting for the final two roster spots at the position. Lucky for them, the starters figure to play little if at all in the final preseason game. There should be plenty of time for them to make one last impression on Andy Reid.

4. It’s possible that John Dorsey will bring another wide receiver in.

Free agents like Brandon Lloyd and Laurent Robinson are just a phone call away if general manager John Dorsey has any reservations about the current group. The Chiefs are a few hundred thousand over the cap, but that figures to change in the coming days. Lloyd and Robinson are unlikely to fetch much more than the vet minimum on the open market. If necessary, Kansas City may be able to move things around to get one of them signed. I won’t be shocked at all to see a wide receiver added to the roster by the weekend.

If it were up to me, my six receivers would be: Bowe, Avery, McCluster, Jenkins, Hemingway, and Wylie. With some luck, the Chiefs will be able to sneak Rico Richardson onto their practice squad.

Am I in the ballpark with these predictions, Addicts? I’d love for you to have your take in the comment section below. As always, we appreciate your readership and support!

Until next time, Addicts!

Topics: Kansas City Chiefs

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  • Deaudrey Dre-Mac MacDonald

    Great story I would like Rico to win a spot but we will see

  • tm1946

    We will all have our favorites at the bottom of the WR rosters. But we need on the field production. Maybe Dorsey grabs one more free agent WR. Unless anyone thinks Jenkins will be an answer by the 3 game

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I expect nothing from him at all.

  • Chris Tarrants

    Yeah but I really want to see Rico make this team. That kid has something special, Victor Cruiz escke if you will. Good hands, blazing speed and learning his routes very well. I do like Wylie but to me he just hasn’t had that spark that this team needs. Hemmingway to me is the answer we have been looking for to sit opposite of Bowe as a big bodied number two. It is a win, win situation for Reid but in the end Rico Richardson would be more of a feel good story

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I don’t know that teams will be knocking Richardson’s door down if he gets cut.
      Guys like Steve Breaston, Brandon Lloyd, and Laurent Robinson will still be availabe Monday.

  • berttheclock

    I believe the league has taken notice of Rico Richardson and he would not last very long on the KC practice squad.
    What I really like is behind Bowe is a list of receivers with speed. Although, Dexter would probably play in the slot more than most, he has speed for the outside such as DeSean Jackson of the Eagles. But, there is no true “just a possession” receiver in the group. That is what really hurt the Chiefs in the past. No speed to the opposite side of Bowe and most of the group were made up of possession types. Speed combined with hands will keep defenses honest.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • scomstock55

      no speed opposite Bowe? Are you aware that Avery is one of the fastest players in the NLF?

      • berttheclock

        I was talking about the past, not the present. Avery is this year. He was not with the Chiefs before.

  • Priest4Prez

    No one for Hemmingway? First off that’s an awesome last name; but this guy has been with us for a couple years I believe.

    • cd3382

      I like Hemmingway too! He showed he can make plays last game and he seems like he can be a possession receiver, nice size, not to much speed , runs pretty good routes, and can actually catch the ball.

  • Jason Mickey

    I see no reason to hold onto Wylie. Just fails the eye test to me. He’d be great in the arena league

    • Stacy D. Smith

      As a receiver or overall? Seems to me that he has value on ST.

  • Calchiefsfan

    I think you’re spot on Stacy. As much as I want to see Rico make this squad and become one of those great NFL stories, realistically Reid has to go with who is making plays. Wylie can be a great return guy. Hemingway I’m not so sure about though he did have 2 good catches last Saturday. Hopefully after Thursday there will be no doubt. I don’t think Richardson will last on the practice squad, somebody will grab him.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Based on what though, 22 receiving yards in 3 games?

      • Harm Williams

        I believe that stat is false, Stacy. Rico is 3 targets and 3 catches for 37. Wylie is 5 targets and 5 catches for 52 yards and Hemmingway is 8 targets and 4 catches for 36 yards. I like junior making it for no other reason that his size and strength, but what sealed it for me to put Hemmingway as a lock was him reading the D correctly and finding space for the TD catch Saturday. It’s gonna be down to Rico and Devon. Lets put Rico back there to return a punt or two Thursday and see how he does. That may be the deciding factor! I really like both kids and wish KC could keep both and trade AJJ for a BBQ lunch for Coach Reid.

        • Shelia Chatman

          I’m pretty sure Rico had 5 targets (6 if you count the one throw-away intended for Rico that Stanzi made under pressure) with 3 catches for 37

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Yep. I stand corrected. 3 catches for 37 yards.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          Touche. I missed Rico Richardson’s first preseason catch (15 yards).

      • Calchiefsfan

        Maybe you’re right but there is something about Rico. If the Chiefs believe he’ll be safe on the practice squad then I believe that is where he will end up with Wylie and Hemingway taking the last 2 spots. Unless something happens in the Green Bay game that is a game changer.

      • superman_25_58

        He has shown that he has the ability to get open and make plays when called upon IMO. We have a lot of good returners and a few better than Wiley…..don’t we? So …. I can’t remember the last time Wiley has scored a TD in any game can you? I’m drawing a blank…. If this is the case the fact that Rico can get open when it counts in the red zone is a huge advantage right?

        • Stacy D. Smith

          Thing is, Wylie has been the most productive wide receiver of the three in terms of catches and yardage. He’s also been the most diverse member of the return group. No other player has made a significant contribution on both punt and kick returns. From where I stand, I’d say he’s probably the safest best of the three to make the team.

          • superman_25_58

            Well after seeing the game it’s going to be a tough decision for the FO. I can see Hemmingway and Hammond Jr sticking around leaving Richardson to PS and Wylie being let go. What you think? Was Hammonds Jr reception TD, and a few good returns which looked promising and Hemmingways consecutive games with a TD with 80+ yards receiving in the game against the packers enough to earn a spot on the 53?

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Hemingway and Wylie make the squad. Hammond gets walked. Richardson gets walked, but makes the practice squad.

  • Gene Yuknis

    wouldn’t surprise me if front office goes after braylon edwards, just released from ny jets

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Why? He hasn’t done anything in the NFL since 2010.

      • Harm Williams

        I think the front office is gonna go after a 5th CB from Seattle’s cuts and maybe a D lineman. Other than that, this team is set…

      • Gene Yuknis

        look who his qb’s where since 2010!!!!

        • Gene Yuknis

          or were, oops

        • Stacy D. Smith

          He won’t be served by coming to Kansas City then. Alex Smith was his quarterback in 2011.
          He had Russell Wilson to start 2012. Sanchez stinks, but Clyde Gates was more productive than Edwards with fewer starts.

          He just doesn’t have it anymore.

          • Jeff Grasser Jr

            I agree…I don’t see Dorsey wasting his time bringing in Braylon Edwards…

  • gonzangkc1

    Stacy D. Smith –

    Great write up & Thanks for the STATS
    Wylie – 5 catches, 52 receiving yards, 0 TDs | 10 returns, 237 return yards, 0 TDs
    Hemingway – 4 catches, 36 receiving yards, 1 TD | 1 special teams tackle
    Richardson – 2 catches, 22 receiving yards, 1 TD | 1 return, 16 return yards, 0 TDs

    John Dorsey – Please, sign my good friend, Brandon Lloyd – he’s hungry & will be a GREAT mentor to the WR’s. Sign him to the VET salary min and load up the contract with incentives. Envision, Bowe, Avery, Run DMC, B. Lloyd w/Charles in the backfield and one of the Chiefs TE. Lastly, for the peeps that don’t know Brandon was born in KC, 385 catches, 5695 receiving yards, 35 TD’s.

  • Jim Harper

    I also think you are spot on Stacy. I think you have to give Wylie the edge based on performance, but I do have some injury concerns with him though after last year. Like everyone else I am rooting for both Richardson and Hemmingway. Not that many receptions but both TD’s were in clutch situations. That looms large with me.

  • Lyle Graversen

    I’d love to see all 7 make the roster, but that’s probably not realistic. I think your prediction is probably going to be spot on. Great write up Stacy!

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Thanks, man!

  • tomflex

    I still think the best hands wins this particular job and I would not bet a whole lot on Wylie getting the nod. Not saying he won’t but he’s been known to drop a few and injury problems could be an issue. Also I would not bet on Rico making it through waivers.

    • berttheclock

      In a perfect world, you would be correct, but, when considering keeping the bottom of the roster, money plays a major part. That means if one player can only play wide out, while, another can also play special teams, that 2nd player will, usually, be kept over the first one.

      • tomflex

        You are probably right Bert but do we know Rico can’t do special teams? From what I’ve been hearing the chiefs have been trying to keep Rico under the radar and slide him to the practice squad but that is pretty risky now so who knows what they will do…

        • berttheclock

          BTW, I agree with you about the problems of the dropsies and injuries. They were part and parcel of scouting reports coming out of college and nothing appears to have changed.

          • tomflex

            Ideally Rico goes to practice squad to get better and maybe add some weight.

        • berttheclock

          In college, RR had 26 punt returns and 4 kickoff returns.

          • tomflex

            Interesting….Thursday’s game is shaping up to be interesting also.

  • berttheclock

    Just read Stanzi has been picked up by the Jags. Possible player or “spy”?

    • Stacy D. Smith

      They’re just going to squeeze him for information.

  • berttheclock

    I wonder with the injury to Moeaki and the soreness to the knee of Kelce, if Kelce will be pulled from Special Teams? I have seen him in several photos of special teams as well as on the field with them. Isn’t he too valuable as a TE to be used by Toub on his teams?
    However, Toub may well have a very large voice in the final 53 decisions.

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