When discussing rookie wide receivers on the Kansas City Chiefs, Rashee Rice is often the first name that comes to mind, and understandably so. However, it's crucial to recognize another promising player in the mix: Nikko Remigio from Fresno State.
Before joining Fresno State for the 2022 season, Remigio spent the initial four years of his college football career at Cal. In his final collegiate season, he showcased his skills with impressive statistics, including 74 receptions, 852 receiving yards, and a total of eight offensive touchdowns in 14 games. Additionally, he excelled in the return game, accumulating over 700 total return yards and scoring two touchdowns, one of which was in the Mountain West Conference Championship Game.
Remigio possesses numerous qualities that make him an exciting prospect, such as his ability on special teams, his skills after the catch, and his reliable hands. As one of the most explosive returners in college football last year, he earned the fifth-highest overall kickoff/punt return grade (among 91 qualified players) from Pro Football Focus ($). Furthermore, his remarkable elusiveness contributes to his exceptional yards-after-catch ability.
With Remigio's diverse skill set, Andy Reid can design creative offensive schemes for him. He could potentially fill Mecole Hardman's role in the offense, particularly with screens, jet sweeps, and other similar plays. Once Remigio has the ball in his hands, opposing NFL defenses have a problem on their hands. Notably, over his final two college seasons, Remigio only dropped five passes out of 149 targets ($), while Rashee Rice had nine drops on 156 targets in 2022 alone ($).
Will Nikko Remigio make the Kansas City Chiefs final roster before the regular season?
Despite Remigio's promising attributes, there are certain concerns that might hinder his chances of making the team. First, his size is relatively small, suggesting that he may be limited to the slot receiver position in the NFL. Second, his straight-line speed is not exceptional, making him less effective as a true deep threat, although his ability to track balls down the field is very good. Additionally, there is stiff competition ahead of him at wide receiver, making it difficult for him to secure a spot on the final roster.
Interestingly, Remigio shares a similar skill set with Richie James, a more experienced receiver already on the Chiefs' roster. Both players lack blazing speed but excel in generating yards after the catch and contribute significantly to the return game. They are also better suited for the slot position rather than playing on the outside.
In conclusion, although the odds may seem stacked against Nikko Remigio in terms of making the final roster after training camp, he could be precisely what the Kansas City Chiefs need. His ability to serve as the primary returner would allow other receivers like Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore to focus more on their offensive roles. Moreover, Remigio's skills make him a valuable gadget weapon for the Kansas City offense, particularly due to his exceptional playmaking after the catch. If Remigio wants to secure his spot on the team, he will likely have to prove his worth through special teams, specifically in the return game. If he can convincingly establish himself as the best option for the Chiefs in the return game, it will be challenging for the team to let him go.
In my opinion, among all the undrafted free agents in Kansas City's 2023 class, Nikko Remigio has the highest chance of being a hidden gem.