Cornell Powell was a notable recruit for Clemson University who somehow got swallowed up by the competition both above and below him for most of his tenure. Despite clear physical gifts, he not only had to wait his turn for the Tigers with pro-ready receivers older than him, but he also had a hard time staving off the younger recruits as they came on board. In fact, it wasn’t until his final season at Clemson that he broke out to any great degree.
When Powell turned it on in 2020, he really looked the part as an impressive physical receiver with separation skills and a solid catch radius. After ignoring two straight draft classes known for their abundance of receiving talent, the Chiefs finally grabbed Powell in the fifth round this spring with the hopes that his late bloomer status could make him a sneaky find.
So far in training camp for the Chiefs, Powell is looking like a late round rookie. It should be noted that Andy Reid’s system is hard for all first-year receivers to pick up everything demanded of them and Powell is proving to be another example. Eric Bieniemy affirmed Powell’s talents in comments to the press last week from training camp while simultaneously acknowledging that he’s behind where they’d like him to be.
In the team’s first preseason game, Powell did have a beautiful leaping catch from Shane Buechele, but the most telling aspect here is that it was late in the fourth quarter. By that time, the Chiefs were playing the players at the bottom of the depth chart, which shows that Powell still has quite a ways to go to even earn looks before others on the roster bubble.