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April 28, 2005

The Chiefs' WR Corps « Kansas City Chiefs »

The only real objection I have to the Rand article I linked in the previous piece is when he says the Chiefs have done little/nothing to groom replacements for Eddie Kennison and Johnny Morton.

Okay, Dante Hall isn't the answer. His best talent is returning kicks. He can score from anywhere, yes, but the percentage of success when attempting to do so from the WR position just isn't worth the attendant drop-off in his return game. So he should be used sparingly as a WR.

But aside from Hall, KC has:
-Kris Wilson. Technically a tight end, he is fast for his size and has extremely good hands. With Tony Gonzales on the field, one of the functions of KC's WRs are to be credible-enough threats that the defense can't double/triple team Tony on every play. Kris Wilson is good enough to do this, especially since he is also a credible blocker, as is Tony Gonzales. A formation with Gonzales, Wilson, and Dunn plus any semi-fast WR is going to give a defensive coordinator headaches, if not nightmares. He should be fully recovered from his broken leg by mini-camp, much less training camp.

-Mark Boerigter. He had a serious knee injury and might not be absolutely 100% at the start of training camp, or even by the start of the season. Other than that, though, he's tall, strong, and deceptively fast. There should be no reason he can't supplant either Morton or Kennison at either WR spot, and is still young enough that there is still room for improvement. He should be starting-caliber for the next several years, although that must be caveated with the observation that he hasn't yet demonstrated starter-level ability through a full season yet.

-Samie Parker. He's got track-star speed, but football-player hands and moves. From what he did late in the season, it seems clear that he didn't make a significant impact earlier was due to Oregon State's late class schedule that prevented him from getting the benefit of rookie mini camp, followed by a hamstring injury that kept him from getting any real work during training camp. When he did get on the field, he made things happen. He's in his 2nd year. If he plays a full season like he did the last few games, he could replace Kennison without any drop-off.

-Chris Horn. He's a lightly-regarded player from a small college. But he gets better every year and gets enough separation to make catches and run with it well once he's got the rock. He made one excellent play or tough catch in each of the games that he's gotten on the field. He'll probably never be better than a #3 receiver...but such a receiver gets significant playing time in Vermeil/Saunder's offense. This is a Ricky Proehl-type player, and Proehl won a few games for his teams, didn't he?

-Richard Smith. An undrafted RFA last year, he excelled in the pre-season, but couldn't do the same thing during the regular season. Then again, lots of rookies don't excel in the NFL, do they? I still think this guy has some potential to start within a few years. Even if he doesn't improve to that level, he should be a strong #3 or #4 receiver for several years.

-Craphonso Thorpe. (All the info in this paragraph is based on reading reports about his college career; I must disclose that I don't pay attention to college football, so I had never heard of him, nor have I ever seen him play, so take this review as a 3rd-hand recoupnting) An excellent WR his junior year in college, he broke both bones in his lower leg in the final game of that season. He had a sub-par senior season. It might be because his leg hadn't totally recovered. One report I saw said that his production dropped off because the quality of his QB dropped off, which is a good point. How can you catch a ball that isn't thrown to you, or isn't catchable? The reports I've seen says he's regained his track-star speed; and everyone seems to agree he's got good hands and runs decent routes. Most revealing is that he performed quite well against 3 top college CBs, two of which were the top 2 drafted, and the 3rd which was drafted late in the 1st round. He had 5 catches against each of them, which isn't bad for college. He may not contribute as a rookie, but he has the tools and abilities to be starter-quality by next year.

That's five WRs good enough to play anywhere from a #1 to #4 receiver. That doesn't even include if KC signs Az-Zahir Hakeem is signed as a FA or Jerys MacIntyre improves enough to make the team (he was drafted as a project, then was hampered by injuries).

Posted by Nathan at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)
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