Wide Receiver May Be In Better Hands Than We Think

Let’s start with this: It is May and this is rookie minicamp.

Trying to make serious observations about rookie minicamp on some level is a losing cause. You’re talking about mostly undrafted guys, several of whom will never see an NFL roster, and you’re trying to determine what this all means for the 2014 Kansas City Chiefs.

In the words of Allen Iverson, it’s practice. We’re talking about practice.

Knowing the perspective of what we are dealing with it should be noted some of the receivers the Chiefs need to be showing some skills are doing just that.

We’ve talked frequently about wide receiver this offseason, potentially too much. Many of us had the position as a top need in the draft and I have argued receiver is the weakest position group on the team in terms of talent. All of that noted, the Chiefs, armed with a smart general manager and very successful head coach, went the whole offseason without making a significant addition at wide receiver. This is unless you consider Weston Dressler to be a significant addition (we hear your cries that he is significant, Canada).

The receivers on this team are not much to shake a stick at but they do seem to follow a pattern of Andy Reid teams that did not have big name/true number one wide receivers but still put up loads of points.

The pinnacle of the Andy Reid era in Philadelphia was from 2000 to 2004 when the Eagles made the playoffs every year and made four consecutive NFC Championship games from 2001-2004. 2004 is the lone Super Bowl appearance Reid’s team was able to reach in his time in Philly. From 2000 to 2004 the list of leading receivers for the Eagles was as follows:

2000: Chad Lewis (tight end)

2001: James Thrash

2002: Todd Pinkston

2003: Pinkston

2004: Terrell Owens

Not necessarily murderers row of wide receivers, eh? Chad Lewis? I’m not going to deceive you, I had no idea who Chad Lewis was until I looked him up. Turns out he made three Pro Bowls, two of which I’m sure were on accident.

When it comes to the bigger names at wide receiver in Reid’s tenure at Philadelphia you have DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Those two receivers under Reid combined for two seasons with over 1,000 yards receiving (Jackson, 2009 and 2010) and no seasons with 80 or more catches. Interesting or not, the team never made it past the wild card round with both Maclin and Jackson on the team.

Success in Reid’s offense – and potentially in Reid’s scheme of winning football games beyond the regular season – does not rest in having superstar wide receivers. What appears to matter most is to have receivers who are willing to fill roles within the offense, catch the ball consistently, and run the plays they are asked to run.

This gets us back to guys like Dressler and Hammond.

Are Dressler and Hammond bound to be “future number one receivers” or superstars in the NFL? No. Not that I’d complain if they did end up being both of those things but neither is going to happen. What matters is the two of them make the plays that are in front of them as receivers. Silly things like catch the ball (what a concept!) and running the routes the way the Reid has designed them.

On one hand reading tweets from reporters at Chiefs practice saying Dressler and Hammond “ran the routes the way they were coached” means absolutely nothing. On the other hand reading tweets that say Dressler and Hammond “ran the routes the way they were coached” means everything. Success for the Chiefs – success for Reid-coached teams – requires blue collar workers who are not looking to be diva NFL receivers but to be the kind of players who do what they are asked to do within the offense.

Kansas City may have enough blue collar guys between Bowe, Dressler, Hammond, Donnie Avery, A.J. Jenkins, Junior Hemingway, Jerrell Jackson, and Albert Wilson. With Jamaal Charles in the backfield and the Anthony Fasano and Travis Kelce at tight end – arguably two players more valuable than almost any wide receiver in the Chiefs offensive scheme – the Chiefs passing game may be in better shape than we think.

P.S. Two of the top three wide receivers in terms of snaps on the Seattle Seahawks -Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse – were undrafted free agents. Four of the seven wide receivers to accumulate 50 or more regular season snap at wide receiver were undrafted free agents. Percy Harvin played in 20 snaps all season (not including the playoffs). Maybe, just maybe, having a “number one wide receiver” doesn’t mean as much as we think it does. 

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  • barry

    Finally an article written with some uncommon sense! I believe your dead on, great read!

    • Deaudrey Dre-Mac MacDonald

      I agree, you don’t have to have 3 1000 yard receivers to have a winning football team, what you do need is a team!! And I do think that AJ jenkins has found a home in kansas city and will be the #2 reciever this year…I have faith lol

      • htmn74

        I agree whole heartedly

  • Hawthorne

    Dressler and Wilson are probably competing for slot receiver #2 behind DAT. Jerell Jackson, Avery, Jenkins and Hammond Jr. are all in the mix for WR #2, Hemingway will probably back up Bowe again.

  • area

    Personally, I like the “blue collar” wide outs better. Sure you have your freak athletes like Megatron, but the blue collar guys bring an attitude with them. Give me Rice, Chrebet(sp?), or Fitz type players any day over primadonnas.

  • Stacy D. Smith

    I can’t forget that the Chiefs made a play for one of the best free agent wide receivers available. I think they think wide receiver’s an issue. I expect them to be waiting by the NFL trash heap when the last few rounds of cuts happen in a few months.

    • Josh Rose

      I think Sanders just used KC to drive the price up honestly. Who wouldn’t want their QB to be Peyton Manning? ?

      • berttheclock

        His hustler agent was the one playing games.

      • Stacy D. Smith

        No argument there. My point was that the Chiefs brought him in and made it clear they think they need help at that position.

        • berttheclock

          Dorsey has said he is not finished in bringing in another wideout.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            If Denarius Moore really is on the block, I hope Dorsey has a talk with Raiders brass.

        • Josh Rose

          Or they knew the Broncos wanted him and drove up the price

    • Jim Harper

      Once again you are on target Stacy. I absolutely expect Dorsey to be very active.

  • BWrangler

    I think Reid sees Kelce as the receiving threat the offense needs. Fasano is an excellent red zone receiver. I agree with the article that high-priced, high-drama WR is not as big a need as even I believed it was going into the draft. Man, I’m getting antsy for the season to start!

  • berttheclock

    Hammond is six one and ran a 4.4 40. The reason he went undrafted was due to a low production at Florida. Sort of lost in the shuffle as he was grouped with other receivers and in his senior year, he had a first year QB who threw more to their TE. But, he has been with the Chiefs for one year.

    Now, my question for the panel is should the Chiefs try to trade for Denarius Moore of the Raiders? Rumors floating out of the Bay that he might be traded due to inconsistency last season and a falling out with the new coaching staff. Remember, he has had a couple of long TDs against the Chiefs and may need a consistent QB and more focus by the coaches. He was the one Scott Pioli overlooked when he took Gabe Miller and Stanzi. I believe some guy named Richard Sherman was the other one Pioli missed. What I can not understand is how McKenzie could give Mr Dropsy Greg Little a chance, but, try to trade off Moore.

    • Roger Mihalko

      Little, GregWRACT6’2″2205/30/19894North CarolinaDavis, MikeWRACT6’0″193//0TexasGrigsby, NoelWRACT5’10″18510/2/19910San Jose StateRoberts, SethWRACT6’2″1962/22/19910West Alabama19Butler, BriceWRACT6’3″2131/29/19902San Diego State80Streater, RodWRACT6’3″2002/9/19883Temple84Criner, JuronWRACT6’3″22112/12/19893ArizonaGreen, JaredWRACT6’1″1864/1/19891Southern University18Holmes, AndreWRACT6’4″2106/16/19883Hillsdale10Jenkins, GregWRACT6’1″2088/23/19892Alabama State17Moore, DenariusWRACT6’0″19012/9/19884TennesseeJones, JamesWRACT6’1″2083/31/19848San Jose State

  • Roger Mihalko

    Good Article, I agree I think they have the talent they need, but they have to show up.

    On TE’s: Personally I think by performance,(Healthy all year started 9 games, Young at 26, 26 receptions for 302 yards and 2 touchdowns, he needs more opportunity) McGrath is your number one, then Fasano, then Kelce, until proven otherwise. Harris, and Gordon can compete with the others for a spot.

    On Wideouts: we have enough bodies….I think we just need at least one more target 6.2 or preferably taller, good hands and 4.5 40 or faster. I wish they would talk to Vernon Kearney on roster as a DB, but was converted from wideout in college, tall and fast.

    • Jordan

      Don’t get me wrong I like McGrath but he’s still just serviceable similar to fasano but kelce has real potential and should get more time than McGrath.

  • berttheclock

    Even though Harris dropped some passes, I just read at CBS Sports where Dorsey was really high on his progress. He said he had spent a great deal of time in the weight room. I hope so, as it appears Dorsey passed after interviewing Erik Swoope, who signed with the Colts and Pagano is raving about how well he doing in mini camp for them.

  • Josh Rose

    I think the offense as a whole will benefit from our defense being better. Giving us more possessions, keeping the defense fresher for the 4th quarter. That being said it doesn’t mean that the receivers are better, but like the article said they really don’t have to. Also if we get consistent healthy TE play we will be a lot better

  • Daniel Mayfield

    Well done! All of that article just fills it in. I also think Jenkins can be the #2 but if not, it looks like there’s gonna be a few #2 1/2 WR. IMO, that’s the way to put it. lol

  • Pessimisticchiefsfan

    I have always thought not having really good players was the best way to win.

  • Timothy Bell

    I like this article, but having a true number one was what got Reid over the hump when he had Owens. I’d be happy with being a annual playoff type team, but I don’t want to continually get close and keep losing championship games like he did until they had Owens. Unless your defense is playing lights out during the playoffs, you need a real weapon in the passing game also. Someone you know you can go to on 3rd down consistently. We don’t have that proven on the roster right now. Maybe it’s Kelce or Fasano. I hope so!

  • Norman Gunn

    In my opinion Chiefs are in need of one type of receiver and that is one with elite speed. If the opposing defense doesn’t fear the deep ball than that is an extra man in the box who is zoned in on Charles. With an elite speed receiver the defense must keep a safety back to account for him. Are two fastest receivers are Avery and Jenkins. There was absolutely no point in adding a receiver during the draft or free agency because after Beckham Jr. every prospect would have been a speed downgrade (especially Lee). And after Jackson and Sanders, every available free agent would have been a speed down grade. We could have drafted Lee but we don’t have a quarterback with a good enough arm with support two 1,000 yards receivers.