According to reporters on the ground at St. Joseph, tight end Noah Gray, who was a fifth-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, is having a strong training camp with the K.C. Chiefs so far. While his potential has fans excited, it’s also important to recognize that he’ll continue to learn from the best in the business in Travis Kelce.
Kelce has long been a fan favorite for his charisma off the field, but his production on the field is what really makes him a star for Chiefs Kingdom. What stands out is just how often the ball seems to find Kelce when Patrick Mahomes is evading pressure in the pocket. Although it’s not the best analogy, Kelce is like the team’s Honda Accord. He isn’t the fastest, the most athletic and so on, but he gets the job done each and every time he steps out onto the field.
Looking at what Gonzalez and Kelce were able to do for the Chiefs, what are the chances that Noah Gray could have a successful career with the Chiefs? It goes without saying that no matter the hype around Gray during the camp so far, for a guy who was drafted in the fifth-round and hasn’t played a in-game snap yet, it’s a unfair statement to think about any “legacy.” However, given the ability to learn from the league’s best tight end so early in his career, it could be a big part to his development.
Noah Gray should benefit greatly from playing next to Travis Kelce.
During the draft, the Chiefs were determined to take a tight end and after trading up in the fifth round, they were able to take their guy. Gray has drawn quite a bit of praise for his great hands and route-running capabilities, and coaches have hailed him as a hard work and smart player, which was the first thing I took notice, too, on the offensive side when watching film. His ability to be an in-line blocker is also something to watch.
When you think about Kelce, you think of a complete player with the hands and reliability to be Mahomes’ go-to target. With the skill set that Gray has, he has the potential for a similar role. When watching Gray play at Duke, he was able to decipher the defensive coverage in the way he was able to adjust his route to hit the seams and get open. Gray was considered a reliable option for the Duke offense as he ran a lot of short/intermediate routes within the route tree. Being able to adjust and learn how to enhance and learn different route techniques will be a crucial part to his development.
While at Duke the way he was commonly used in the offense was limited in the receiving game. It was unclear if he didn’t have the speed to run some of the routes downfield, but he was limited nonetheless. He didn’t display much in the form of route techniques, but with his high level awareness, it didn’t matter at the college level. He was able to use high IQ at the line and find ways to break coverages by finding soft zones or rounding a route out to give the quarterback more room.
There aren’t a lot of problems with his game, but Gray will need to find a way to enhance his ability to create separation with route running. Lucky for him, he will have a fantastic mentor while learning under Travis Kelce.