Many Kansas City Chiefs fans were appalled when the Chiefs did not select a wide receiver in the draft. It was said by many of the experts that this draft was particularly deep at multiple positions, including wide receiver. According to several mock drafts around the web, it seemed to be that the Chiefs were eyeing Brandin Cooks or maybe Odell Beckham Jr. Unfortunately, these two guys were already off the board by the time Kansas City was on the clock, but there was still some talent left to take a look at in Marqise Lee and Kelvin Benjamin. The Chiefs opted for a different route, obviously.
The Chiefs did end up picking Oregon star De’Anthony Thomas, and the jury is still out on where he will be seeing playing time the most, WR or RB. He is listed at running back on the team’s website, but there are still people who expect to Thomas to fill the absence of a slot receiver that Dexter McCluster left on this roster. Aside from Bowe and Thomas, people are wondering how much playing time the other receivers may see.
The Chiefs’ leading receiver in 2013 wasn’t even a receiver; it was Jamaal Charles. Dwayne Bowe struggled mightily most of the season, but ended up surpassing the 50 receptions mark and ended up with 57 catches on the year. The next guy closest that is still on the roster right now is Donnie Avery, who showed flashes of excellence, but overall struggled with drops and was just inconsistent. The next three leading players in receptions were two tight ends and then a full back. The glaring need is obvious.
The Chiefs need that number two guy that they can go to when Dwayne Bowe is receiving double, or even, triple coverage from opposing defenses. Jamaal Charles was the security blanket for Alex Smith throughout last season, which is not a bad thing at all, but sometimes Charles needs to take a break from getting tackled. The Chiefs have five guys that are going to be thrust into a position battle when training camp opens, Donnie Avery, Junior Hemingway, A.J. Jenkins, Frankie Hammond Jr., and Weston Dressler.
Donnie Avery averaged 2.5 receptions per game as the number two wide receiver on the depth chart, however he continues to be plagued with dropping easy passes to him which is what Chiefs fans are growing more tired of as Bowe has had the same problem throughout his career. Avery is a veteran in this league and made some huge plays for this team in 2013, yet there is still a lot to be desired from Avery. I doubt this will happen, but I would not be surprised at all if we see Avery’s name on the cut lists at some point in training camp. He needs to prove to everyone that he can be a viable target in this team’s offense.
The Chiefs front office and coaches seem to believe that former first round pick A.J. Jenkins can be the number two guy. The Illinois product never really got his shot in San Francisco and wasn’t on the Chiefs roster all season last year so may have been still adjusting to everything even when he was on the field. With a year under Jenkins’ belt, I strongly believe that after this year we will know what we are going to get out of Jenkins. Jenkins accumulated eight receptions, six of which came in two of the team’s 16games. Watching his college highlights, I can tell that the talent is there, obviously since he was taken in the first round, but it has yet to be seen on an NFL field. Jenkins is going to have to show some of that same skill that he showed in college if he wants to remain on this team when the 2015 season rolls around.
Junior Hemingway is a guy I am big on. He is a straight gamer when it comes to playing special teams and has shown flashes of skill when he has been on the field as a receiver. Hemingway gives the Chiefs another big body alongside Bowe which is becoming more and more important in this league as big receivers are becoming the norm. Hemingway has decent speed to go along with that size and is a good redzone target when he plays in the slot. I really hope to see him get more of a shot on the field in 2014. In Week 17 when the Chiefs were playing their second stringers, Hemingway was the leading receiver with five receptions and went for 45 yards. Let me remind you, he was playing against the Chargers first team defense since they were playing for a playoff spot so that tells me that Hemingway can play in this league when backup QB Chase Daniel is throwing him the ball so just imagine what he can do for a full season with Smith throwing the ball to him.
Hammond Jr. and Dressler may be just guys on the practice squad at the end of the day. I loved what I’ve seen out of Hammond Jr. in last preseason and can see him as a wildcard guy to come in and steal someone’s spot on the depth chart. He is another 6’1 guy, but possesses great speed so that tells you why he was kept around all last season despite being an undrafted free agent signing. Dressler is an unknown to me as I have watched very little tape on him, but my mindset on him is that he’s small so what role will he play on this team when we already have a small guy on this roster in Thomas now? I see Dressler as a possible cut or put on practice squad when training camp is all said and done.
The two guys I think that can impact this team the most are Jenkins and Hemingway, but it’s only a matter of time before we see if that is true or not. This team has several targets on offense outside of the receiver position, Charles, Thomas(?), Fasano, McGrath, Kelce, and even Anthony Sherman, but receiver is an important position in almost every offensive scheme so we need to see something out of these guys in 2014.