The 2024 tight end class isn't strong enough to groom a Travis Kelce replacement

Travis Kelce isn't going to last forever, but the Chiefs would be wise to avoid reaching for a TE in the 2024 draft.

2023 Big 12 Championship - Oklahoma State v Texas
2023 Big 12 Championship - Oklahoma State v Texas / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages

The Kansas City Chiefs could go a lifetime without finding a tight end as great as Travis Kelce. After once again proving to be an integral part of a championship roster and earning his third Super Bowl ring, the future Hall of Famer has more hardware than he knows what to do with.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.

This offseason, Travis saw his brother, Jason, permanently step away from the game of football. An NFL legend in his own right, Jason finishes his Hall of Fame career at the age of 36. Now Chiefs fans have to wonder how much more Travis left in the tank.

While Travis Kelce does not have plans to retire, the long-time Chiefs star will turn 35 years old during the 2024 season. When he does decide to leave, it's going to be quite the adjustment for Patrick Mahomes, and Kansas City needs to start thinking about grooming his replacement.

This isn't the year for Chiefs to draft a Travis Kelce understudy

Ideally, it would be perfect for the Chiefs to get their future starting tight end on the roster and start developing him behind Travis Kelce -- one of the best to ever play the game. However, when you look ahead to the talent in the 2024 NFL Draft, it doesn't look like there will be a suitor worthy of taking the reigns from Kelce.

The best of the bunch, without question, is Georgia's Brock Bowers. Since his freshman season in 2021, Bowers has taken college football by storm. Unfortunately, this blue-chip prospect is going to be long gone before the Chiefs are on the clock with the 32nd overall pick.

This is where things get dicey.

Outside of Bowers, the 2024 tight end class is not a strong group. There are several players with traits and upside, but none will be worth a gamble this early in the draft.

The best of the rest is Texas' Ja'Tavion Sanders. After rarely seeing the field as a freshman, Sanders was able to string together back-to-back seasons of over 600 receiving yards for the Longhorns in 2022 and 2023. However, he projects as a second-round pick and he likely won't be available when Kansas City is on the clock at pick 64.

There are a few projects the Chiefs could take a flier on later in the draft. Penn State's Theo Johnson is flying up draft boards after an incredible performance at the NFL Combine. But Johnson is coming off a down season, and the 23-year-old tight end isn't the most natural pass-catcher. Ben Sinnott is another great athlete with underwhelming college production.

If the Chiefs are looking for an offensive playmaker in Round 1, they would be much better off going with one of several uber-talented receivers who will still be on the board in a remarkably strong WR class.

The last thing we want to do is push Travis Kelce out the door, but eventually, the Chiefs will need to address the tight end position. This just isn't the year to do so in the NFL Draft.