26 days from today, the Kansas City Chiefs begin their journey as the defending Super Bowl champions with the start of training camp. First things first just as a housekeeping note, defensive tackle Chris Jones is still continuing his contract holdout and there’s still no timetable for when he might be back. There’s one specific position everyone should keep their eye on: wide receiver.
The wide receiver group for the Kansas City Chiefs is extremely young and inexperienced for the most part outside of the six year veteran Marquez Valdes-Scantling. There is no clear cut favorite for anyone to be the top receiver on the team as of right now. Many young players have the opportunity to prove themselves through training camp and the preseason along with the veteran experience of MVS. With that said, who will become the number one receiver on the team? (Barring any injuries) Here are a few possibilities.
Moore is in his second season in a Chiefs uniform. 22 catches for 250 yards in his rookie year last year. With Andy Reid having a creative offensive mind, I expect Moore to earn a bigger role and to be utilized in ways that use his speed as his speciality: screen passes, drag routes and reverses. The former second round pick from Western Michigan has his chance to make a name for himself. Let’s see if he can step up.
Rice is a rookie from SMU drafted in the second round. Now, how could I make the case that a rookie could potentially be one of the top two receivers on the depth chart in 2023? Two things stand out in my mind: his work ethic and his skills and traits as a receiver. Rice is 6’2, 204 lbs with a ridiculous ability to shift into a second gear when he gets open. In his final season at SMU, Rice accumulated 96 catches, 1,355 yards and 10 touchdowns in 12 games. If he can pick up on the Chiefs offensive system and the tendencies of Andy Reid, he can stand out among the group and become the go to guy for Patrick Mahomes. Keep an eye on him as in training camp next month.
Toney to me is the wild card receiver that has upside and has shown some glimpses of what he’s capable of. Last year, he was traded from the New York Giants to KC in October and had to transition into learning a whole new offensive system. With a full off-season and training camp this year, he should be able to earn more opportunities and pick up on the playbook quickly. Last year Toney had 14 catches for 171 yards and did score two touchdowns during the year. I think he can be a guy that quarterback Patrick Mahomes can rely on as the season progresses. Let’s see what he can do.
Although there are many other options the Chiefs have at their disposal for a number one receiver, MVS is certainly at the top of the list to be the main guy. Last year, Scantling set a career high in catches with 42 along with 687 yards and two touchdowns. Like the other names I mentioned, staying healthy is the key. In my personal opinion, MVS will separate himself from the pack and become the top guy when the season starts but we will find out sooner rather than later.