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

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Dec 21, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Albert Wilson (12) runs after a catch as Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback William Gay (22) and inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons (94) chase during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Albert Wilson

Perhaps the second most likely candidate to fill the number three receiving spot is probably also the player most overlooked by many national “experts”. That player being Albert Wilson. The second year undrafted wide receiver quickly ascended the KC depth chart as a rookie. He started training camp battling for a roster spot and by the end of the season he was clearly one of the two best receivers (if not THE best) and worthy of a starting spot at the time.

Pro Football Focus credited Wilson with playing 223 snaps last season with 199 of them coming in the last four games of the season. In those four games Wilson totaled 12 receptions for 209 yards. If Wilson were to average those numbers over a full 16 game season it would total 48 receptions and 836 yards. Keep in mind that doesn’t even account for Wilson improving in his second year. Now, the addition of Jeremy Maclin could also take some of those opportunities away but Wilson’s performance during his limited playing time last season does make him an intriguing player to watch when training camp begins. If Wilson can up his game and earn significant playing time he could make a name for himself this season and claim that number three receiving target spot for himself.

Nov 15, 2014; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Chris Conley (31) can

Chris Conley

While Albert Wilson may be the most likely wide receiver to lock up the third receiving target role I don’t think anyone would say he’s the most physically talented. That title goes to third round draft pick Chris Conley. It’s been well documented since the draft, but it’s worth saying again, Conley is a physical freak of nature. The 6-foot-2 and 213 pound Conley is definitely the fastest wide receiver on the team and may be the fastest player on the KC roster period. In addition to being big and fast he’s also strong (18 bench press reps) and had a freakish 45 inch vertical jump at the combine.

The question with Conley is if he can earn Alex Smith’s trust enough to be more than just an occasional deep threat or big play target. If Conley wants to earn the number three receiving target role as a rookie he’s going to have to prove three things early on. First, can he learn the playbook well enough to be on the field enough to catch 50 passes. Second, if he’s on the field and gets balls thrown his way will he be sure handed enough to catch them and give Smith the confidence to look his way again.

Third, can he use his physical prowess to beat NFL corners who are jamming him at the line of scrimmage. That’s a lot to ask of a rookie third round pick, but if Conley can prove those three things he could not only earn a significant role in KC’s offense, but could become a true break out star.

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