Oct 26, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Demetrius Harris (84) runs and is tackled by St. Louis Rams cornerback E.J. Gaines (33) during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 34-7. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
4. Numer Two Tight End (Demetrius Harris, James O’Shaughnessy)
The Kansas City Chiefs have one of the best tight ends in all of the NFL in emerging superstar Travis Kelce. So why would it be so important for them to find a number two tight end? There are actually two key reasons. First off, Andy Reid’s offense has shown great productivity when they are able to effectively run two tight end sets. If the Chiefs have two tight ends that can both block and catch well it makes them hard to defend. With Jamaal Charles in the backfield teams will be forced to defend the run if KC has two solid blocking tight ends in the game, but if both of those tight ends can also be a threat in the passing game it becomes a serious match up problem for the defense and should create opportunities to be successful with play action passes.
The second reason it is so essential for a second tight end to step forward is to provide insurance should Travis Kelce miss any time. Kelce will be one of three key weapons in the KC offense (along with Charles and new wideout Jeremy Maclin). If Kelce should get injured the Chiefs will need someone who can fill in for him. Even if they can’t produce on his level they need to be able to at least run the same offensive routes and provide KC with some production from the position. Otherwise it would force Andy Reid to completely revamp the offense while Kelce was out. Hopefully this will never be an issue, but the Chiefs still need a player they feel good about there as insurance.
So who has the best chance to claim this spot? The favorite is Demetrius Harris. He’s probably the biggest athletic threat and has experience in Andy Reid’s offense after being with KC the past two seasons. There are two main concerns with Harris though. The first is that he hasn’t proven himself as a blocker yet. The former college basketball player is listed on the Chiefs website as 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds. For comparison, Kelce is listed as two inches shorter but 30 pounds heavier. Now, perhaps Harris could have added muscle mass to bulk up this offseason and give himself a better chance to prove he can be an effective blocker in the run game, but…..
Concern number two is that Harris has a foot issue. His season was cut short last year by a broken foot that required surgery. After four months of recovery Harris had to have a second surgery on the foot in May because things weren’t going as hoped. That makes him a question mark for training camp and could hurt his chances to earn the number two tight end spot. First because he may not be 100% when the competition starts and second because his injury may have prevented him from working out and adding the bulk that the position requires.
While another veteran, Richard Gordon could fill the second tight end spot he is really more of a blocking tight end and doesn’t offer the versatility that KC likely wants. So if Harris isn’t up for the job the other potential player that could step up and claim it is rookie James O’Shaughnessy. While O’Shaughnessy is a little small in size, listed at 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds, his college tape shows a player that was very effective as both a blocker and pass catcher. However, O’Shaughnessy is coming from a very small school and expecting him to make the jump in competition all the way to NFL level and be a key player from day one of his rookie year may be asking a lot.
The tight end position after Travis Kelce is definitely a place to keep your eye on during camp.
Next up, how will the inside linebacker position work out?