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August 07, 2007

WR Dwayne Bowe Signs « Kansas City Chiefs »

The Kansas City Chiefs announced on Monday that they had come to terms with their first round draft pick, rookie Dwayne Bowe out of LSU. His signing dispels some rumors floating around, namely that Bowe’s hold-out was related to the hold-outs of QBs Brady Quinn or JaMarcus Russell; Quinn just signed today and Russell remains unsigned.

Bowe’s absence from camp was big news; he was one of the last draft picks to sign a contract, and he’s missed at least 200 offensive snaps according to Head Coach Herm Edwards. Worse, he’ll miss more snaps as he takes time to get in shape, because as Coach Edwards puts it, “The first thing is to protect the player,” Edwards said. “You don’t want to put him in a situation where all of a sudden something could happen. All football players, when they’re not here on time, what happens to them when they do get here and they get on the field, they automatically start competing at a high level. That’s not fair to him…These guys have their training camp legs under them and he does not because he hasn’t been here.” Herm further indicated Bowe would miss his first opportunity to get on the field for the Chiefs, not suiting up until the Chiefs play Miami on August 16th.

All this means Bowe’s development may be delayed. WRs don’t usually contribute very much their rookie year, with a few exceptions like Anquan Boldin of the Cardinals or Maurice Colston of the Saints.

So if we can’t depend on Bowe lighting it up for us this year, what does he bring to the Chiefs? It is obviously good to have your picks signed and practicing; but what will Bowe contribute this year and throughout his career?

Let’s take a look at the WRs currently on the roster:
Kennison, Eddie 6-1 201
Parker, Samie 5-11 190
Webb, Jeff 6-2 211
Hannon, Chris 6-3 205
Gardner, Rod 6-2 219
Randolph, Ean 5-8 173
Bowe, Dwayne 6-2 221
Ekwerekwu, Brad 6-3 216
Little, Brent 5-11 193
Price, Maurice 6-0 197

One thing that jumps out is that last year’s starters, Kennison and Parker, are 20 and 30 pounds lighter, and slightly shorter. An inch or two might not seem like much, but football is a game of inches. And the extra weight is clearly muscle mass that will help Bowe win the physical battles against ball-hawking safeties and cornerbacks jams at the line that Kennison and Parker usually don’t. Bowe gained a reputation for using his strength to break tackles after the catch.

Bowe’s height, weight, strength, and abilities are very similar to another guy already on the roster: Rod Gardner. But that doesn’t make Bowe superfluous. On the contrary, even though Gardner is having a great camp, he didn’t show much after joining the Chiefs last year. Rod’s been trying to revive a career that floundered after four decent seasons with the Redskins. But even if Gardner has revived his abilities, Bowe has much more upside than a 7-year veteran. In any case, there will be plenty of snaps for any wide receiver who produces. As Edwards said, “…when I look at starters those receivers to me are going to play in this system on a rotation [basis] with three or four of them. We want to keep them fresh.” Having two players similar in size and technique able to rotate should only make the Chiefs’ offense more effective.

But what Bowe really brings to the Chiefs is the un-measurable ability to make something happen: 75% of Dwayne’s catches at LSU went for first downs. That’s the sort of production the Chiefs could have used last January in the playoff game against the Colts.

Posted by Nathan at 09:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)