Behind the battle at tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs have plenty of intriguing candidates, rookies and veterans alike, for the final tight end spots on the roster.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end coach Tom Melvin has some great talent with which to work. Although the Chiefs have one of the best tight ends in the league in veteran Travis Kelce, they will have four new tight ends competing for the following spots on the depth chart below him and Demetrius Harris.
With the preseason opener only four weeks away, the position battle will be one to watch. Here’s a breakdown of the players fighting for a final roster spot or two.
After being drafted in 2014 by the New York Jets as a second-round pick, Amaro caught 38 passes for 345 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games. He had a great rookie season but suffered from a season-ending shoulder labrum tear in the first pre-season game of 2015. The Jets released Amaro when he didn’t play to their expectations in the preseason during his third year, and the Tennessee Titans didn’t keep Amaro on their roster the following year.
Kansas City took Amaro in and put him on their practice squad. For the first time since his rookie season, this 6-foot-5, 265-pound tight end’s career is looking hopeful.
With the few games Amaro has played in his professional career, he has proven to be good at making last-second decisions to be open for a throw. It also helps Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes that Amaro is a big target and difficult to tackle. Amaro’s size will work in his favor to be a great tight end.
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Wright also had a great rookie year. During the 2013 season, he set the record for the most receiving yards and touchdowns by an undrafted tight end with 571 yards and five touchdowns. Since then, Wright has been on a new team each year and hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2015.
Wright is great at making sharp cuts and has a long reach for Mahomes to take advantage of. This 6-foot-5, 235-pound tight end could use a little more weight to be more of an effective tackler. But this could also work as a double-edged sword because he is quick, and his footwork is impressive.
Since Alex Ellis was an undrafted free agent who signed with the Tennessee Titans in 2016, Kansas City is his fourth team he has been a part of. Ellis has only played in six games, all of which came in his rookie year with the Jacksonville Jaguars after the Titans released him that preseason. He finished the season with three catches for 11 yards.
In the two seasons Ellis played in at the University of Tennessee, he caught 14 passes for 232 yards and one touchdown in 10 games. The Chiefs obviously see some potential in him because his stats don’t stand out as well as the previous two. Ellis walked onto his college team and earned himself a scholarship. If he can show that skill and determination for the Chiefs that won him the scholarship at Tennessee, then Ellis can be an asset to Kansas City.
Mack is the only rookie of this tight end group and his statistics from playing at Arkansas State University are the most impressive. During Mack’s last two of his four seasons at ASU, he caught a total of 82 passes for 1,270 yards and 10 touchdowns in 23 games. In 2017, he was named first-team all-conference.
At 6-foot-3 and 229 pounds, his size for the position is questionable, but he’s been lauded for his quickness. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.72 seconds at his Pro Day, which is close to the fifth fastest tight end at the 2018 NFL Combine. He is great at breaking and turning rapidly to get open for a catch, then running quickly down the field.
Amaro, Wright, Ellis and Mack have their work cut out for them to secure a spot after No. 1 Kelce and possibly No. 2 Harris. Only time will tell.