We preview the group with the most swag….The Tight Ends
This is all part of a multi-part series covering several areas of Kansas City Chiefs going into 2023; predictions on each units, The Secondary, Linebackers, Edge and Interior of the Defensive Line, the Offensive tackles and interior covering different aspects in general. This will be a series covering several areas of tight end play in 2023.
We all know that because of All-World tight end Travis Kelce, the Chiefs have the best tight end group in the NFL. However, an injury to our star player would be very worrisome. But that shouldn’t take away from the other players that could be ready to fill the void if such a thing where to occur. I will preview the other guys who fans know about but each player could a vital role in the Chiefs success in 2023.
This man needs no introduction. Travis Kelce is the best tight end in NFL history and he is still one of the biggest receiving threats in all of the NFL. With the Chiefs moving on from Tyreek Hill before the start of the 2022 season, Mr. Kirk Lightening himself was asked to take on an even bigger role in the Chiefs’ passing attack, getting a career-high 152 targets. Will Kelce continue to defy age regression in 2023? It’s hard to bet against someone who has been dominate in six of the past seven seasons. It also helps that he’s tied to an explosive Chiefs offense that finished first in total yards and points scored per game last season. I expect Kelce to again be the number one tight end in the NFL, and have another 100-plus receptions with the same or maybe fewer touchdowns than last season, especially with Mahomes passing the ball around and not wanting to force Kelce to do it himself.
— Brad Henson Productions (@BradHensonPro) June 23, 2023
Jody Fortson appeared in 13 regular-season games for the Chiefs last season and caught nine passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns. He spent time on injured reserve with an elbow injury at the end of the season and missed the playoff win over Jacksonville. Fortson returned for the final two games of the team’s Super Bowl run. One thing that fans should know about Fortson is that he has the best hands of any Chiefs pass catcher in 20+ targets according to PFF. He’ll likely be working to continue his role on special teams as he was one the main blockers for Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney in the postseason and as the team’s No. 2 or 3 tight end in 2023. It’s possible that Fortson can help be that guy that’s a red zone threat to worry about besides Kelce.
Jody Fortson for 40 yards ‼️ #ChiefsKingdom
— NFL (@NFL) November 21, 2022
Gray was drafted by the Chiefs in 2021 and is now familiar with the system. I expect him to make a major contribution in 2023, considering over the past few years he has only 35 receptions and two touchdowns. He has made a few clutch plays in his career, and has shown exceptional athleticism, such as when he made that circus like catch against the Titans on Sunday Night Football. I expect Gray to again be the number two tight end, and have 40-plus receptions with a few touchdowns, especially with Kelce leading the group. Gray also played more than half of the offensive snaps in his final eight games. While Gray isn’t Kelce, the Chiefs’ could make use of Gray’s skill set in the event Kelce misses time.
This Noah Gray catch from Patrick Mahomes isn't being talked about enough! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/A9GYSNmQ92
— Brad Henson Productions (@BradHensonPro) May 12, 2023
While playing in just 3 regular-season games last season due to injury, Blake Bell was limited to two receptions for 20 yards and the first regular-season touchdown grab of his NFL regular season career. Bell is known for his ability as a blocker (which is why he’s been the TE2 behind Kelce since 2019), and he plays a role in the Chiefs’ willingness to run 12- or 13-personnel looks with multiple tight ends on the field at the same time. On special teams, Bell served as an interior gunner on the Chiefs’ punt and kickoff coverage units and was also used as a right side blocker in front of the return guy in the kick return game. At 6’6”, he’s could be tall for a fullback role, and Bell might never stand out on the stat sheet, as evidenced by his 65 total career touches, he will continue to play the role the coaching staff asks him to play at a high level.
Mahomes to Blake Bell for six! @Chiefs retake the lead!
— NFL (@NFL) January 1, 2023