KC Chiefs: Three reasons for optimism at wide receiver
By Matt Conner
For those who are wanting the Chiefs to trade a mid-round pick for a wide receiver, don’t forget that they already did that within the last several months. Before the early November trade deadline during the ’22 campaign, the Chiefs flipped third- and sixth-round picks to the New York Giants for the chance to employ Kadarius Toney.
The trade for Toney didn’t just happen as some random acquisition. No one looked at Mecole Hardman’s injury and thought, “Let me give up two picks to make up for his absence.” Instead, the Chiefs had a specific vision for Toney and how to use him, and it sounds as if that vision has everything to do with recapturing the dynamism of the passing game that was there when Tyreek Hill took the field.
Remember that NFL reporter James Palmer stated the Chiefs view Toney as their No. 1 wide receiver. Let’s repeat that: Toney will be the top wide receiver. If you already have Travis Kelce as the top pass-catcher and offensive weapon and then you have Toney as the top WR, then how much more does a team really need? We’re asking through a very optimistic lens here, but it’s a realistic slant based on what the team is really projecting (and depending on) from Toney in ’23.
If that sounds silly, just recall the way in which Toney would physically churn for more yards despite being the smallest guy in the pile. Recall how he can break his own ankles because his moves are so unexpected. Recall how it seems he can do absolutely anything with the football in space. It feels like watching Tyreek or Dante or Jamaal at times.
The concerns are still there of course. Toney has never handled such a burden on a consistent basis and injuries are always going to be a threat here given his history. But if there’s something that can be done there (better training or conditioning work or staff?) then Toney staying healthy might be all the Chiefs really need to stay just fine at wide receiver.