The Kansas City Chiefs don’t have a single receiver on its roster who’s ever had a 1,000-yard season.
The Chiefs’ receiving corps is an intriguing collection of dudes who have never produced much at the NFL for whatever reason.
Some will blame injuries, while others will lament a lack of opportunity.
Bottom line: Quarterback Pat Mahomes is so gifted, and Andy Reid’s scheme is so superior that general manager Brett Veach has decided widgets work at receiver.
Of course, he and Reid can do that because Travis Kelce is one of the best tight ends in NFL history.
Let’s be clear, though, Mahomes is the epicenter of the offense with his uncanny ability to create big plays from chaos and complete passes from the weirdest arm angles. It’s why the Chiefs were able to trade a dynamic receiver like Tyreek Hill to Miami for a trove of draft picks.
Mahomes responded with a career year, passing for 5,250 yards with 41 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His yards and touchdowns led the NFL.
Clearly, the Chiefs are putting his ability to elevate average receivers to the ultimate test this season as the Chiefs try to join Dallas and New England as the only NFL franchises to win three Super Bowls in four seasons.
“When you have a lot of guys that can rotate in, and I trust to make the right play and make the play when they’re called upon, that’s when you know you’re in the right spot,” Mahomes said. “I feel like that now. You look at our depth chart at receiver; I’ve always said all of these dudes can make the football team.”
Kansas City Chiefs believes Patrick Mahomes will elevate receivers
The reality in today’s NFL is every player can’t have a huge contract. Mahomes signed a 10-year, $450 million extension before the 2020 season.
Part of the reason Kansas City felt comfortable with the deal is they believed he could elevate receivers around him.
Great quarterbacks can do that.
In the last decade, only guys like Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers have come to mind. Of that trio, Rodgers is the only one still playing.
Kadarius Toney, acquired at the trade deadline from the New York Giants, has the most talent. The 2021 first-rounder produced virtually nothing with the Giants while struggling to stay healthy, so they got rid of him.
He scored a touchdown, and his 65-yard punt return was one of the critical plays in Kansas City’s win. He tore the meniscus in his knee in the first training camp practice. The Chiefs hope he’s ready for the opener.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling has a much more significant role this year after catching 42 passes for 687 yards and two touchdowns.
They signed free agents Richie James (New York) and Justin Wilson (Tampa Bay), who were role players last season.
Kansas City invested a second-round pick in Skyy Moore last season and another second-round selection in SMU’s Rashee Rice.
“We have a nice mix of some smaller guys, some bigger guys, some faster guys, and some guys with strong hands,” offensive coordinator Matt Nagy said. “It’s a balanced group.”
Mahomes wants guys to take advantage of the opportunity.
“I just want guys to be themselves. I think you’ve seen this offense; it can be run in a lot of different ways,” he said. “When Kadarius is in there we run it a certain way because of his talent and what he can do.
“When he’s not in there, we can run it a different way to accentuate the other guys’ talents. Guys like Skyy Moore and Rashee Rice will step up, as well as guys like Marquez and Justin.”