Noah Gray, TE
Chiefs fans have been clamoring for a better number two tight end in this offense ever since Travis Kelce became a featured star player. That’s why the buzz around rookie Noah Gray has so many fans excited. Earlier this offseason I wrote a full piece about Andy Reid’s use of a second tight end and what that might mean for Gray this season. I won’t recap that entire piece here, but there are a few highlights from it that I’d like to touch on.
Throughout his 20+ years as a head coach Andy Reid has primarily used his second tight end as a blocker first and pass catcher second. That role isn’t a great fit for Gray. Gray has fantastic potential as a route runner and pass catcher, but his blocking is the weakest part of his game coming out of college. Now, do I think Reid will have a few plays each week that get Gray and Kelce on the field at the same time? Sure, but I don’t think he’s suddenly going to stop wanting a strong blocker on the field at the second tight end spot.
That is why I am expecting Blake Bell to out-snap Gray almost every game, even if Gray does flash some nice offensive upside. This one isn’t about me not believing in the player as much as not believing the team’s use of the player will match fan expectations. Do I think Gray could be second on the team in tight end receptions this season? Yes, but I’m imagining that total being in the 15-20 range, and I think a lot of fans are expecting two to three times more than that.
I hope I’m wrong and Gray looks so impressive in camp that Reid feels pressure to make him a bigger and bigger part of the offense each week, but that seems like a lot to expect from a fifth-round draft pick. My advice for fans is to not set the expectations bar too high for Gray in his first season.
Next up, an offensive lineman that seems to be getting less and less buzz the closer we get to camp.