Wide Receiver After Tyreek Hill Is Messy
Of my three main developments from the preseason so far, none will likely foster more debate between fans than this one. That in and of itself proves my point.
The depth at wide receiver behind Tyreek Hill is not clear. Depending on who you talk to about this topic, you will hear the names Mecole Hardman, Byron Pringle, Demarcus Robinson, Daurice Fountain, Marcus Kemp, and Cornell Powell all discussed as guys that should absolutely make the roster. In order for that to happen, the Chiefs would have to keep seven wide receivers. That’s possible, but I think six is probably more likely. So right off the bat, somebody that some Chiefs fans think should make the roster may not.
These questions extend beyond who should make the roster to who should be seeing regular playing time. Hardman is widely viewed as the most talented receiver on the team behind Hill, but views on his play are mixed. Some will point to his great touchdown catch on Friday and how many times he was targeted as reason to believe this is the year he will step up as K.C.’s clear #2 wideout. Others will point to how he and Mahomes often seem to not be on the same page and his inconsistency as reasons to believe he will always be more of a role player than a key part of the offense.
Pringle has probably been the most reliable wideout in this conversation, but do the Chiefs see him as having enough upside to give him starting reps? He’s certainly been part of their rotation, but thus far the Chiefs haven’t seemed willing to commit to him fully. He seems to be splitting time with Demarcus Robinson in that regard. In fact, you could argue that the Chiefs seem to be using a three man rotation of Hardman, Robinson, and Pringle to fill the numbers two and three wide receiver spots behind Hill.
Is this three-man rotation set in stone? Can someone like Hardman clearly become the number two? Can someone like Pringle play well enough to bump Robinson out of that rotation?
Could someone like Daurice Fountain play well enough in the preseason to not only make this roster, but earn his own spot in the receiver rotation? If he does earn playing time, would that bump one of the other guys out of the rotation all together or would it become a four man split of snaps?
Is Kemp a lock because of his special teams status? Is Powell safe because he was a draft pick even if he’s clearly behind these other guys right now? Are you starting to see why I still feel like the receiver situation is messy?
Perhaps the biggest question is if the Chiefs are even happy with their wide receiver depth? They chased multiple free agent wideouts this offseason without landing any of them. Could that be a sign that they may look to add someone after rosters cut down? Could they maybe even look to make a trade with a team that is deep at wide receiver before rosters cut down?
There are a lot of positions on the Chiefs roster that make me feel pretty confident in how they will look in the regular season. The wide receiver position isn’t one of them. I’ll be curious to see if they do anything different in the third preseason game and it will be at the top of the list of positions to watch come final roster cut downs.
Now let’s move on to some positive developments.