Noah Gray could see more of everything in Chiefs offense in 2023

The Chiefs have a plethora of talent at tight end this season.

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Jacksonville Jaguars v Kansas City Chiefs
AFC Divisional Playoffs - Jacksonville Jaguars v Kansas City Chiefs / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The Kansas City Chiefs already boast one of the NFL's greatest tight ends of all time—perhaps the very best—as one of the offensive weapons available for quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Travis Kelce brings plenty of attention to the position in general and the Chiefs offense in particular, but there's another TE forcing his way into some conversations about the team's offense these days, Noah Gray.

Coming into the 2023 season, Gray is going to have a heavier mantle than ever before. Last season, he was already playing on just over 50 percent of offensive snaps—a major leap from the 26 percent of snaps he played the previous season. Now he's being tasked with a hybrid sort of role with the fullback spot given the team's decision not to replace Michael Burton this offseason.

For Gray, he's already stated that he's happy to fill in wherever the coaches want him. That means flexing him into new roles, shouldering him with greater responsibility, and leaning on him for more production. Earlier this week, tight ends coachTom Melvin spoke with reportersfrom training camp at St. Joseph about Gray's trajectory of growth coming into his third season.

"He’s done a great job because we move him around to all the different positions we have, as far as the formations are concerned and he’s able to handle all of those. (He’s a) really smart, instinctual kid and he’s gotten better at knowing what he’s doing and perfecting that, knowing what the defense is doing. Now in his third year, he’s starting to set things up and that’s the progression you look for. He’s doing a real good job in camp right now with that.”

Last season, Gray caught 28 of 34 passes thrown his way from Mahomes—good for an 82.4% catch rate. That's the sort of trust-building season that will earn you more looks in Andy Reid's offense. Coming into his third year, it will be interesting to see how the Chiefs utilize two tight-end sets knowing Gray is capable of more.

Even more importantly, however, is that Gray might be set up this season to finally provide Travis Kelce with some regular season relief. Let's not forget that Kelce will be 34-years-old in October and even the best athletes start to show signs with age. If the Chiefs want to keep Kelce healthy and rested for another Super Bowl run—as they should—then it would make sense to strategically create more rest on the way to the postseason. That's where Gray could come in and spell him as a primary target at TE on particular drives.

Last year, Gray was just short of 300 yards (299). Given his growth trajectory and the trust of coaches, that total might just reach 500 this season. For a second tight end, that's an incredible figure, but Gray has earned more of everything in this Chiefs offense coming into '23.