What’s up Chiefs Kingdom! We’re in the midst of a packed April 2023 in Kansas City. We’re just about a week away from the NFL draft at Union Station and today the state of Missouri celebrates its first legal 4/20 “holiday.”
I know not everyone will be partaking, but I thought it would be fun to do a 4/20-themed piece to commemorate what is shaping up to be a legendary month in KC.
So I came up with this.
I present to you 4 Blazin’ Hot Chiefs Takes that 20 fans may not agree with. Enjoy!
Maybe the Wide Receiver Position Isn’t as Big of an Issue as it Seems
Well at least not to the Chiefs internally.
It’s been well-documented how Brett Veach gets down in the offseason, he sees his needs and he addresses them. It’s usually quick and there’s usually a decent investment made.
This offseason has been no different. The signings just weren’t as splashy and aren’t at the positions everyone was expecting.
Jawaan Taylor and Charles Omenihu both were plucked by the Chiefs early on in free agency and both got nice paydays. Since then, Chiefs Kingdom has been waiting and waiting for the next splash move at other perceived positions of need.
I’m guilty as well, I’m still waiting for that receiver move (cough,cough D-Hop) but that clearly isn’t as important to the Chiefs as it is to me.
Not only have the Chiefs signings shown us that, the non-signings have as well. Both Juju Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman joined other teams on deals that seemingly would’ve been easy for the Chiefs to match or beat.
From the outside looking in, the Chiefs have a need for weapons for the MVP to sling it to, but everything the Chiefs are showing us says they feel comfortable with where they are or have a plan to figure it out.
Look on the bright side, at least you have some experienced guys at the position and returning production from last season in Skyy Moore, MVS, and Toney. Which leads me to my next point…
Running Back is a Bigger Need than Anyone is Talking About
Okay, let me preface this by saying that I understand the value of the running back position is at an all-time low in the NFL, but hear me out. The Chiefs have two running backs from the 2022 roster still under contract: Isiah Pacheco and Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
CEH was basically a non-factor last season due to injuries and being outplayed by Pacheco, whose rookie season was highly impressive and likely laid a foundation for him as a fixture of the Chiefs’ offense for the foreseeable future.
So, why do I think running back is a need it Pacheco is so good? Because he didn’t do it alone last season and may not ever be a three-down back. He was complemented perfectly by Jerick McKinnon in 2022, who is not back with the team as of this writing. I let myself fall into the trap of assuming a veteran player would be back in KC last offseason with Melvin Ingram, so I’m being more cautious this time around. Until McKinnon is re-signed or another option is added to the mix, running back is a need for this team.
That’s not even mentioning the loss of Michael Burton, who re-joined his old coach Sean Payton in Denver, removing another familiar face from the room. This team needs some depth, and that’s probably still true even if McKinnon is brought back soon.
This is the ACTUAL Rebuilding Year
The “Super Bowl in a rebuilding year” narrative is fun to bring out to taunt other fans and it’s great parade stage material, but as I look at the Chiefs roster right now compared to last year, this feels much more like the rebuilding year roster.
Veterans and mainstays like Khalen Saunders, Mecole Hardman, Orlando Brown Jr., Juan Thornhill, and Michael Burton are in new places and many of these players will be replaced by younger faces.
Last season, the Chiefs leaned into a youth movement, partly out of necessity and partly out of the emergence of the young talent on the roster. It looks like they’re headed toward another step in that direction this coming season.
With so many young and new players being asked to step up and lead, we should expect some growing pains and rough spots as guys get on the same page.
While the Chiefs will be a contender as long as Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes are at the controls, I’m not quite ready to say this rebuilding phase is over yet. A lot of young talent will rely upon this season and the ceiling of the team could be dependent on their development.
TE Should Be a Draft Priority for the Chiefs
This is not headed where you might think. My 4/20 isn’t going well enough to suggest anything other than another elite season on tap for Travis Kelce. However, I think we can all agree that our GOAT TE is entering the twilight of his career. Even he’s been open on New Heights about how much harder it is to maintain his body nowadays.
It’s time for the Chiefs to start making more investments in the other tight ends on the roster.
Travis Kelce isn’t getting any younger and we should want to see him playing football for as long as possible. Adding more talent to the position to lighten his overall load will be vital to extending Kelce’s illustrious career. On top of that, his successor would greatly benefit from having a productive Kelce still in the building.
This draft has some intriguing options to come in and bolster this room right away while being groomed for the future TE1 spot. Keep an eye on names like Michael Mayer, Luke Schoonmaker, and Tucker Kraft. If we see some TEs fall, I wouldn’t be upset at all if Brett Veach scoops up one of these talented guys to complement 87 and be his understudy for the future.