One of the first things I did in my Madden 25 franchise with the Chiefs was draft a receiver. I had just barely made the playoffs and lost in the divisional round, and felt like we needed some more depth there to help balance out the running attack with Jamaal and Knile. With my next pick, I took a free safety, someone to play over the top while Eric Berry played up in the box and created havoc. Both those picks worked out for me, and have been a blast playing with throughout the game years in my Madden franchise.
All the way up through the draft, I swore this was a route the Chiefs would take. Pick up a coverage safety to complement Eric Berry and get ourselves a solid number two receiver who could potentially take over the number one role. Unless you have paid absolutely no attention to any happenings in the Chiefs’ offseason, then you know this wasn’t the case.
Instead, Dorsey and Reid took an entirely different approach, yet I feel as if our draft was successful, specifically looking at long term success for this team. While wide receiver and safety seemed like must haves, delving into the roster shows that we have some people in place who could step up. At safety, people have contemplated that Sanders Commings could make the transition from corner to safety, and we have lots of receivers on the roster who have shown flashes of play making.
While finding that over the top safety is still important, everybody is wanting to know what the team is going to do at the receiver position, and for good reason. I am STILL pissed at Dwayne Bowe, both for the “alleged” marijuana incident and also that last play. Bowe wanted the big bucks, he got it. Bowe wanted to be the number 1 guy, he got it. And when we go to him in crunch time…. He doesn’t have it. He can’t keep his feet in to save his life on a great throw that would have resulted in the win. Granted, it would have been a tough catch, but not impossible. It was very catchable, and those plays are what we pay him for. After being so pessimistic about the seemingly lone bright spot in our receiving corps, how can I honestly tell anyone to have faith in our passing game? The answer is simple: Tony Gonzalez.
Now, now. Don’t get your hopes up, Tony G isn’t coming back (as far as I know, but one can dream, can’t they?). What I’m saying is that during the time I’ve been a fan and can actually remember games (i.e 2000 season on) the Chiefs haven’t had a good 1-2 punch at receiver. For most of that time, it was a combination of Tony Gonzalez and our number 1 receiver, namely Eddie Kennison and Dwayne Bowe. While both Bowe and Kennison had over 1000 yards receiving in that time frame, and our offenses had periods of great success. The biggest piece of information to take away was that after those two, the next leading receiver was often a no name receiver, or, more commonly, one of our running backs.
To start off, we all know how great Jamaal is out of the backfield (that Oakland game? Ah, the memories). The problem is that when glancing over the roster, we don’t seem to have that solid number 2 guy. However, given Alex Smith’s known love for his tight ends, I truly believe that a combination of Anthony Fasano and Travis Kelce could fill that void for us.
Last year, Kelce went down with an ACL tear and Fasano was plagued with injuries all year, so we weren’t able to see them together on the field; on the plus side, the glimpses we got of Fasano were very positive. He was successfully able to give us a big target over the middle, and while he had a couple drops early on in the season, his hands seemed much more sure once he came back late in the season. Throughout the rest of his career, he has been healthy and a consistent force for each offensive he has been a part of.
What really gives me hope for our air attack is Travis Kelce. As Chiefs fans we haven’t seen him have an impact here at the pro level, but the athleticism he showed in college is incredible. Not only that, but while playing a more hybrid position, Kelce showed a mean streak and never shied away from contact. I’ll post a link here for the highlight video his older brother Jason posted of him, I highly recommend watching it.
Not only is Kelce a strong asset to the run game, he also showed off great speed and agility. Some of the jukes and cuts he made in the open field were as smooth as some running backs, and his top end speed to run away from members of the secondary was surprising. That speed sets up nicely for our offense. While both Fasano and Kelce will be able to go over the middle, Kelce can open up some out routes and quick options for Alex to get the ball to. Some of our deadliest passes could come out of two tight end sets with Bowe on the outside: the obvious screen game, quick timing routes such as slants, and of course play action.
I don’t think that Kelce will be the next Tony G. Honestly, I don’t know if we’ll see another tight end do the things Tony Gonzalez did over his career for a long time. But I do know that Kelce is a natural athlete who can make some plays for us in space, and Fasano is a reliable veteran over the middle. Even though we weren’t able to land that big time receiver opposite to Bowe, we may have a more than good enough replacement (or replacements) in the middle of our offense already.