NFL Draft Profiles: Chiefs Need One More Tight End

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Aug 9, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) against the New Orleans Saints during a preseason game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Chiefs 17-13. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft begins four weeks from today, so we are breaking down some of the different prospects the Chiefs may have their eye on during draft weekend. Today we take a look at the tight ends in the 2014 class.

In the midst of the losses along the offensive line and the weakness of the wide receiver position, it may escaped many Chiefs fans that arguably the most important position in Andy Reid‘s offense – aside from quarterback – is the tight end position. Reid relies heavily on tight ends in both the passing and running games, using them as weapons to create mismatches against safeties and particularly unathletic linebackers. Want to create better wide receiver production? The best answer may be to draft a tight end.

Andy Reid recently spoke at NFL Coaches symposium and Mile High Report took down some notes from what Reid said. Very interesting stuff here, so I encourage you to read the who thing, but here the key quote that is relevant to what we are talking about here.

The real change was that instead of a one tool full back it’s shifted to tight ends and H-backs who can block and receiver, the full back isn’t dead, it’s just merged with the receiving tight end. If you talk to the tight end and line coaches of the teams with the most running success they all use their tight end as an iso blocker. Doesn’t matter what scheme they run for blocking, even zone blocking. This only works with smart tight ends, if they can’t properly identify who to block, they can make it worse, but the iso blocking scheme is still alive and well, don’t be afraid to study to see if it would work with your team, discuss it with your coaches. Especially if you have two quality tight ends, this leads to an extremely flexible system that is potent as both run and pass formation.

Take that quote and apply it to something Herbie Teope wrote at the beginning of the month.

Fingers will likely continue pointing to the wide receiver production. But tight ends Fasano, McGrath, Kevin Brock, Richard Gordon and Dominique Jones combined for 53 catches for 541 yards and five touchdowns.

To put that production in perspective, the last time a Reid-coached offense didn’t do well at the tight end position came seven seasons ago in 2007 when the Eagles tight ends totaled 49 catches for 522 yards and three touchdowns.

Kansas City went into the 2013 season with three tight ends: Anthony Fasano, Travis Kelce, and Tony Moeaki. Two of those three – Kelce and Moeaki – missed the entire season due to injury, and Fasano missed several games due to injury. The result was Sean McGrath playing all 16 games and starting nine of them. A position this important to the Chiefs cannot afford to be filled by a guy picked up off the street the week before the start of the regular season.

Good news is the Chiefs should see the full return of Kelce and Fasano, but the Chiefs need to add a third tight end as both insurance for the 2014 season and as a future replacement for Fasano.

Here are three things a tight end needs to be in Reid’s offense in order for him to fit within the scheme.

Smart. Pulling from the Reid quote: “This only works with smart tight ends, if they can’t properly identify who to block, they can make it worse.”

Athletic in space. Reid’s tight ends need to be weapons in the passing game. This doesn’t just mean having good hands, but being able to create mismatches against safeties and linebackers in one-on-one situations.

Balanced. It isn’t enough to just be a good receiving tight end or just a good blocking tight end. In order to be successful in Reid’s offense a tight end has to be both.

Want a good example of what we are looking for? Watch this video before moving on to the prospects. (Note: NSFW language in the video.)

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Prospects Featured Kansas City Chiefs Popular

  • Stacy D. Smith

    I’m sure Smith would like to have a Vernon Davis type here in Kansas City.
    If it were me, I wouldn’t look that way until probably I got to my R4 and R5 picks.
    There are bigger fish to fry.

  • Tyler

    Moeaki is a Bill, we’re not seeing him back.

  • WTF, Dave!?!?

    Moeaki? He was cut last year and signed with the Bills, i.e. he’s long gone. Anyone heard any news on Demetrius Harris? How’s he progressing? Wonder if he’ll still be around and have a shot at being on the roster.

    • berttheclock

      The Mash units in Buffalo are setting aside gurneys for him.

  • Kisersosay

    That Kelce highlight film reminded me of how good he could be if he can stay on the field. Great at finishing blocks and getting open. Hopefully we will see a lot of him this year. But we will need a backup with some skills just the same.

  • berttheclock

    So, where are you going to find a TE who can block? This group of 2014 TEs coming out are not in that class. Oh, they like to get open and catch passes, but, asking any of them to block appears to be beneath them.

    BTW, if this offensive line is not solidified, expect to see the KC TEs have to stay in to help block. That is not what any West Coast offense wants from their receivers.

  • berttheclock

    Yes, both a healthy Fasano and a healthy Kelce would help immensely.

    In 2011, Alex Smith had his best year with the Niners and came with a whiff of going to the SB. His top target was the wide out Crabtree who caught 72 passes. The second favorite target was Vernon Davis who hauled in 67. There was a major drop off to other receivers and RBs.

    In 2013, Alex Smith had to have a RB, Charles, lead the way with 70 catches, while Bowe came in a distant second with 57. Then, it really was spread out among several different players With Fasano missing so much action, Kelce out and McGrath learning his way in the NFL, not much happened with the TEs.

  • BWrangler

    KC just can’t keep a TE healthy enough to contribute. I think Kelce has off the chart potential, won’t know until he plays. I’ve always been high on Fasano since his college days at Notre Dame, but his injuries are starting to stack up and become a stumbling block. He’s got great red-zone awareness and is a decent blocker, but he won’t pancake too many people. I agree with Stacy, if KC gets to the 4th, 5th, or 6th and there’s a decent TE still available, go for it. Otherwise, I’d rather see OL, S, WR, or CB taken.

  • Roger Mihalko

    Fasano, AnthonyTEACT6’4″2554/20/19849Notre Dame
    Gordon, RichardTEACT6’4″2686/7/19874Miami (Fla.)
    Harris, DemetriusTEACT6’7″2307/29/19911Wis.-Milwaukee
    Kelce, TravisTEACT6’5″26010/5/19892Cincinnati
    McGrath, SeanTEACT6’5″24712/3/19872Henderson State

    I thought TE was one position that wasn’t very good at all in this draft. Why the no love for McGrath?? he was durable, made over half the yards and touchdowns for the position. Fasano and Kelce were sickbay commando’s. If Anything, McGrath should be number one, and given the shot in a full camp to excel, which I think he will.

    the other two TE’s are sizeable fellows, but really didnt get playing time. They should get to compete.

    I just dont see where we another TE in the mix.

    • berttheclock

      Interestingly about McGrath in that he developed a reputation in high school for pan caking opponents when he played line backer.

    • Daniel Mayfield

      True about not needing a 3rd TE, just keep McGrath
      As for #1?? That’s gonna be hard for him to do. He’s not as athletic as the other 2. Just have all 3 compete is the best way

  • Lyle Graversen

    While I’d be happy with any of these guys I think with other more pressing needs I’d wait until late to take a TE. A sleeper TE I REALLY like is Jake Murphy of Utah. He’s the son of MLB’s former Atlanta Brave Dale Murphy and is a really nice pass catching TE that isn’t expected to go until the later rounds. There’s a video on Youtube of his highlights from last season and he runs good rounds and shows good hands.

    • berttheclock

      Nice read about the possibility of him dropping to the sixth round and the view he could be compared to Pitta of the Ravens, of whom the writer said was, also, overlooked. Interesting view about his blocking skills, where it was said he had improved his skills, but, was used more as a “move TE” and used his athleticism more than power to block.

    • Ben Nielsen

      I believe he is either 24 or 25 years old already. That’s why he didn’t make the list. Same for Joe Don Duncan.

      • berttheclock

        Yes, he did his missionary work in Australia and Boston just out of high school, then, redshirted his first year at UofU. The reason he decided to declare early for the draft is due the fact he is married and has a child and needs the money. Several articles at the Deseret stated how often he had been the one to bail out the team. Great in the Red Zone.

      • Lyle Graversen

        That is true, but I’m fine with spending a 6th round pick on a TE that could still give you 5-6 years of prime production. Late picks are crap shoots so if you think a guy can produce for you I’d take him at that point of the draft regardless of age.

  • Christopher Chance

    Man this guy is nasty when he gets his hands on people blocking to. Plays ALL the way until the whistle EVERY play big and athletic and on special teams Holy SCHNIKES.I think his route running and hands will need work of course but he’s ready to open holes for Charles TODAY RIGHT NOW after lunch if needed.Reid and Fasano will make this guy a beast if he can stay healthy.CHIEFS NATION

  • Christopher Chance

    Yeah I hope we pass on a TE and just see what a HEALTHY Fasano and Kelce can bring to this team. With McGrath sticking around for the 3rd guy, I think if they stay healthy those 3 will be enough. Maybe 1 more for special teams and some insurance, but just sign someone for a 1 year contract.This Kelce guy brings some grit and toughness to the offense that we need. Kelce,Sherman/Fasano,Bowe those are 4 really good run blockers for Charles and none of them are O linemen.This team gets better with Kelce and Fasano healthy like instantly.The O line will take a step back I am sure but they can handle it. Time for Fisher and Stephenson to step up BIG time those 2 players will make or break our season.Charles is going to get his regardlessso will Smith. Who is going to step it up in the receiving game also? Possibly Kelce here as well.I say we need to sign Miles Austin and Anthony Spencer after the draft. Maybe even another veteran Safety like Gregory or Adams even Wilson. Greer,Thomas,Florence are still out there to after the draft I see Chiefs signing a few players.

  • Stan Colbert

    Andy does love his TE’s! That o-line is probably going to need help as well. ASJ probably won’t fit our draft but the kid from Iowa might. I wouldn’r be surprised either way.