The 2022 Kansas City Chiefs offense will feature an entirely rebuilt wide receiving corps without its former spark plug. Tyreek Hill’s absence, however, doesn’t necessarily make the group any less threatening than it was before.
An argument can certainly be made that any offense stripped of its most dynamic playmaker will inevitably take a step—or two—backward, but this is an isolated instance. The supporting cast around Hill in Kansas City, specifically considering wideouts, was underwhelming throughout the majority of his tenure. Sammy Watkins, Chris Conley, and Jeremy Maclin all helped to fill out the roster but never stepped into the limelight outside of their designated roles, and while there was consistency displayed by the likes of Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle, there was never another stud alongside Hill.
What the Chiefs have going for them in this 2022 campaign is a receiver room that is as well-rounded as anything we’ve seen in the Patrick Mahomes era. There may not be a single wide receiver with 1,000 yards or 10 touchdowns—not to say there can’t be—but there will be such diversified skill sets among the players at the position that the stats may go unnoticed.
Mahomes had the NFL’s Swiss Army knife in Hill for his first four years as the starter, but in 2022 he will have all of those components and tools spread evenly across the field.
What does MVS offer?
Marquez Valdes-Scantling came to Kansas City in March via free agency, and he was ushered into town with plenty of questions. His signing came a day after the Hill trade, and many fans were concerned with the idea that his signing would be expected to fill the void of Hill’s absence.
Valdes-Scantling has never had a 700-yard season, and he has never hauled in more than 6 touchdowns in any given year, but he has spent the entirety of his career in Davante Adams’ shadow. He was a quality supplemental piece in a Green Bay WR room led by the best in the business, and he has been living off of scraps since 2018.
What Valdes-Scantling brings to the Chiefs is electrifying vertical speed. He doesn’t possess the same level of twitchiness as Tyreek, and he has never received nearly the volume that Hill did on an annual basis. However, he does present this offense with a threat to take the top off of opposing defenses. In 2021, MVS was clocked at 22.09 MPH on a reception, which was the second fasted recorded player speed of the season (second only to Jonathan Taylor’s 22.13). As long as he holds his own in terms of his catch percentage, there is no reason why he can’t emerge as a Tyler Lockett type of deep threat for the Chiefs.
With no pressure to keep up with or to lure targets away from the best wideout in the game, Valdes-Scantling and his blazing speed are presented with the best opportunity he’s seen for a breakout season in Kansas City in 2022.