Kansas City Chiefs: Who will be Alex Smith’s third receiving option?

1 of 4

The 2015 Kansas City Chiefs are expected by many to be a contender in the AFC. Many believe (myself included) that they will finally get the best of Peyton Manning and the Broncos this season and have a chance to finally break their playoff winless streak. The defensive side of the ball appears to be good to go (as long as Justin Houston eventually shows up), but there are still some questions that remain about the offense. There is the ever popular Alex Smith debate (don’t worry, I’m not going there) and then there are those (myself included) that have some concerns about the offensive line. Today I would like to address the other major question that I have about the offense…

Who will be Alex Smith’s third receiving option?

Last season the Chiefs struggled to find quality targets for Smith to throw the ball to. In what may be the most depressing stat of their 2015 season, Junior Hemingway, Frankie Hammond, A.J. Jenkins, and Donnie Avery combined to play more than 1000 snaps at wide receiver for the Chiefs. That’s just not a formula for having a productive passing game. It’s clear now that Jenkins and Avery don’t belong on an NFL roster and Hemingway and Hammond should be special teams/depth players not guys that are getting significant snaps.

The Chiefs landed their number one wide receiver this offseason when they signed Jeremy Maclin and his addition should help the KC offense. They also have an emerging star in tight end Travis Kelce (whom I predicted would lead KC in receptions last week). I think we can all agree that Maclin and Kelce will be the two top targets for quarterback Alex Smith, but a good NFL offense needs more than just two targets to be successful. If the Chiefs want to take a major step forward on offense in 2015 they are going to need someone else to step up and provide a third reliable option for Smith.

Before we look at which Chiefs are most likely to claim that third spot let’s take a second to see what exactly we should expect from a number three target in today’s NFL.

What should a number three target produce?

In order to answer that question I decided to take a look at the stats of all 32 NFL teams from last season. I took down their top three leaders in receptions regardless of position (wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs). I decided to use the number of receptions (as opposed to yards or who has the “title” of number one receiver) to rank each team’s number one, number two, and number three receivers. For example, here are the Chiefs top receivers from last season:

1. Travis Kelce – 67 receptions, 862 yards, 5 TDs
2. Dwayne Bowe – 60 receptions, 754 yards, 0 TDs
3. Jamaal Charles – 40 receptions, 291 yards, 5 TDs

I then averaged all the number ones, all the number twos, and all the number threes together to see what the NFL averages for each were. Here is what I came up with.

Next: Will Kansas City find a solid third option?