How Xavier Worthy is set to bury the myths about 'small receivers' for the Chiefs

Will Xavier Worthy succeed in the modern NFL? Let's take a comprehensive look at his strengths, weaknesses, and how the Chiefs are likely going to use him.
Texas Tech v Texas
Texas Tech v Texas / Tim Warner/GettyImages
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Worthy's Future Usage

Xavier Worthy
BYU v Texas / Tim Warner/GettyImages

Brett Veach has made it very clear from his press conferences that the Chiefs see Worthy as a day 1 impact starter on both offense and special teams, but it's important to understand how they envision Xavier Worthy will be used. For that, let's look at what Worthy is good at, what he can't/shouldn't do, and how he can improve.

Top Level Talent

Worthy's generational speed and agility are what caught the eye of Veach and Reid, and that's very apparent on tape. Worthy tortures defenders with the thought that they might end up on a highlight reel, watching a pass fly over their head, and having their coach chew them out on the sidelines. His favorite thing to do is run his route like he's going deep, then make his move off the break.

In the clip below, Worthy lines up in the slot and gets a free release off the line of scrimmage (most likely because they are scared of him beating them deep). The defense is in an inverted Cover 2, which means they have 1 safety and 1 corner deep instead of 2 safeties. This means there is a huge vacancy in the middle of the field. Worthy threatens deep by running his route like a go, shrugs off the contact from the safety, then bends his route back towards the middle of the field for a huge completion.

This play demonstrates two things. The first is that Worthy understands how to beat physical defensive backs. The second is that if Mahomes throws that ball, it adds 40+ yards and a touchdown to his season stat total.


Next, let's look at what he was asked to do in college that probably won't translate to the pros. Below, Worthy lines up in the slot on a goal-line look. His teammate shoots off the ball, makes a block, and tries to set him up for the touchdown. Worthy does his best to run a slant and make a play against multiple defensive backs running downhill.

Playing physically against 6'2" safeties probably isn't the most effective use of Worthy's talents as a pass catcher, especially when his whip route and back-shoulder fade are much more effective. Imagine for a moment that Worthy was the one running Tom & Jerry or Corndog in the Super Bowl. This utilizes both his skills as a pass catcher and his incredible YAC (yards after catch) ability.

Lastly, let's look at how Worthy can improve his game and become the best version of himself in the NFL.

Needs Improvement

Out of the top-11 wide receiver prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft, Worthy placed last in contested catch rate with an unimpressive 23.8%. There's no doubt that some of that poor production is due to the inconsistent quarterback play that has plagued the Longhorns' past two football seasons (22.4% off-target grade per @jagibbs_23), however, most of the blame has to be put on Worthy's lack of ability/desire to go up and catch 50/50 throws.

Worthy's size also becomes an issue, especially when he runs into physical, press-man coverage defensive backs. Worthy faced very little press coverage this year, as most defenses were too scared to do so, but with the improved athleticism and size of NFL defensive backs (as well as the advanced coaching from NFL defensive coordinators) the frequency that Worthy will see these looks is going to increase dramatically.

Final Evaluation

If Worthy can improve upon the worst parts of his game while also getting better at what makes him great, he has the potential to be the best pass catcher on the Chiefs in 1 to 2 years. Worthy brings an aspect to the Chiefs offense that it hasn't had since Tyreek Hill left. His proficiency as a deep threat, combined with his YAC ability, makes him immediately better than Hardman was during his time in KC.

Now pair his talent with Travis Kelce's reliability, Hollywood Brown's adeptness at route running, Rashee Rice's ability to read zone coverages, and Kadarius Toney's playmaking and you have a very competent and effective Chiefs receiving core capable of securing the Chiefs 3-peat.

A conservative estimate for Xavier Worthy's rookie stats would be around 600 yards and 4 touchdowns, however, when you account for a probable Rashee Rice suspension, Andy Reid's desire to throw the ball down the field, and Patrick Mahomes' RPG for an arm, something close to 1,000 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns is far more likely.

Worthy is going to thrive in this offense and personally, I cannot wait to see this man throttle the Bengals/Ravens/Texans in the playoffs and secure his place in immortality as the man who brought unbridled speed back into the Chiefs offense.