The ultimate wide receiver tiers for the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2024 draft

Everyone agrees that the Kansas City Chiefs need to take a wide receiver in the 2024 NFL draft, but here's a comprehensive and different take on who they should target.
California v Washington
California v Washington / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
2 of 6

Tier 2: The Wide Receivers The Chiefs Should Target at the End of Round One

Part of the reason I am in favor of a massive trade-up for one of the top three prospects in this class is because I don't think there are any prospects in this draft class worthy of a mid-first-round pick. After the top three guys, there isn't anyone I would want the Chiefs to trade up more than a few spots for. Jumping in front of the Buffalo Bills, who pick at 28, would be as high as I would be in favor of moving up. I just don't believe any of the rest of the wideouts are worth gambling more than a first-round pick on.

4. Troy Franklin - Oregon - 6'1" - 176 pounds

At the end of the college football season, it wasn't unusual to see Troy Franklin as the fourth wideout in rankings or mock drafts. Since then, other wideouts have tested better at the NFL Combine or have generated a lot more "buzz" in draft conversations. However, I liked Troy Franklin's tape better before the Combine and I still like it better now.

Not only does Franklin's speed consistently show up on tape (unlike another popular first-round name), but he also runs a wide variety of routes. Franklin is very lean, but he has an NFL-caliber frame in terms of his length (which I think is more important) and room to add some bulk without slowing him down. While he did have a few too many drops this season, he is a hands catcher who was trusted to be the focal point of Oregon's passing offense.

Some of the names I hear talked about for the Chiefs in the first round are guys that I worry wouldn't be able to get on the field a lot as rookies, but Franklin is a guy with the route-running pedigree to play sooner. He could be moved all over the field, and I think his speed would thrive in Andy Reid's offense with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback.

I think Franklin's combination of speed, length, and route-running separation at all levels of the field gives him a higher chance of becoming a true number-one receiver than many of the following prospects who have dominant traits in one specific area.

5. Brian Thomas Jr. - LSU - 6'3" - 209 pounds

While I have Brian Thomas Jr. one spot lower in my rankings than the consensus and don't believe he's worthy of a top 15 pick like many others do, I still love his potential. Guys his size with that explosive straight-line speed don't come around very often, even in the NFL. I think his floor is a much better version of Marquez Valdes-Scantling and his ceiling is a DK Metcalf type of physical mismatch nightmare for opposing corners.

My slight reservation about Thomas is that I didn't see enough on his college tape to make me confident that he'll become a reliable route runner who can be deployed all over the field. He certainly wouldn't be the first wideout to get pigeon-holed into the "wind sprint" role where all he does is run deep routes to keep the defense honest. Even if he's brilliant in that role and has several big catches every game, "that guy" isn't as valuable as a true number-one receiver who wins all over the field.

6. Ladd McConkey - Georgia - 6'0" - 186 pounds

Ladd McConkey would be my last consideration for a first-round wide receiver for the Chiefs. While his ceiling isn't as high as Troy Franklin or Brian Thomas Jr., his floor is the highest of any receiver in this class outside of the big three. In fact, if McConkey was 2 inches taller and 20 pounds heavier he would probably be a top 15 pick.

McConkey is a fantastic route runner with very reliable hands. He has just enough size and speed to play on the outside, but physical corners will give him problems. He'll be fine working out of the slot or on the outside in a system that can create ways to get him in space. Lucky for the Chiefs, their system would work great for McConkey. While he may never be an All-Pro, I think he could consistently catch 100 passes in an Andy Reid offense with Patrick Mahomes at the helm.

I know a lot of you may not agree with those three being the only wideout prospects worthy of a late first round pick. I'll explain more why I feel that way in the next tier.