8. Deon Yelder
The Kansas City Chiefs appear to have a philosophy of not investing very much in their number two tight end spot. While Travis Kelce is arguably the best tight end in the NFL, his primary back ups simply haven’t been a big part of the offense. The Chiefs let Demetrius Harris walk after the 2018 season and then his replacement, Blake Bell, was one and done in Kansas City after last season. The Chiefs did sign Ricky Seals-Jones in the offseason, but Seals-Jones is primarily a pass catcher and K.C.’s second tight end under Reid has primarily been a blocker first and pass catcher second.
That pretty much makes Deon Yelder the second tight end in 2020 by default for the Chiefs. Nick Keizer could challenge Yelder for the role, but Yelder has been with the Chiefs longer, knows the offense better, and beat out Keizer for a job last season.
Despite Yelder’s limited playing time, he is the only “experienced” option that has the size and blocking ability to fill the role of K.C.’s primary second tight end. Yelder has a whopping three career receptions, so if he’s going to contribute on offense this season, he’ll have to earn it. Bell only had 8 receptions in that role last season and Harris had 12 the year before that, so the bar isn’t set very high in terms of offensive production.
Fans have been clamoring for the Chiefs to add a more dangerous second tight end to the offense for years. Maybe Seals-Jones can be that weapon, but he doesn’t fit the profile of what the Chiefs typically look for in a second tight end. If a tight end is going to be their primary blocking tight end and produce on offense, it is going to have to be Yelder. He has one year left contractually, so this could be his only chance to prove he is up to the job.
Next up, a starting offensive lineman that many want replaced.