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Kansas City Chiefs 2023 Preview – Returning Wide Receivers

This time we preview our returning receivers.

(Photo by: Michael Owens/Getty Images)

This series is covering several areas of the Kansas City Chiefs going into 2023; predictions on each units. I have covered SecondaryLinebackersEdge and Interior of the Defensive Line, Offensive tackles , interior, tight ends and the running backs. This will be a series covering two parts of the wide receiver play in 2023. This will cover the returning receivers.

The Chiefs had let go one of their legends in Tyreek Hill in 2022 where it opened more opportunities for receivers especially the new ones that the Chiefs found to replace him that season.

In this article, I will go into the group of returning receivers led by Marquez Valdes-Scantling and their outlook for the 2023 season.

Marquez Valdes-Sacntling:

Valdes-Scantling is the only wide receiver on the Chiefs with a 600-yard receiving season. He also had 372 more yards receiving than any other wide receiver returning for the defending champion Chiefs. Some would say that MVS has failed to become a consistent producer despite playing with Aaron Rodgers and defending MVP Patrick Mahomes so it’s fair to say it’s not likely to happen. However, the 28-year-old has ranked inside the top 10 wideouts in yards per reception (minimum 25 catches) in each of the last four seasons, so his best ball league ability goes well with one of the best deep ball passers the NFL has ever seen. Last season, he only posted three double-digit weeks during the regular season, but caught six passes for 116 yards and a touchdown in the AFC Championship Game. I expect MVS will have more catches, probably 100 yards more than his stats from 2022 and more touchdowns in 2023 now as he enter’s his second season with Mahomes.

Kadarius Toney:

Kadarius Toney is looking to capitalize on an bigger role in 2023. The former Giants first-round pick was traded to the Chiefs early in his second pro year, and while injuries kept him from making much of an immediate impact with the Chiefs, there’s reason to be optimistic about his outlook for this year and beyond. Through 19 games over two seasons in the NFL, Toney has just 55 catches, 591 yards, and two touchdowns. He has also made a legitimate impact on special teams proven by his epic return that set the Chiefs into a winning position in Super Bowl 57. Toney remains one of the most looked-at players coming into the 2023, as he’s now entering his third NFL season at 24 years old and has two years left on his rookie deal. If he can find a way to stay on the field and put it all together, he has the ability to at least be Mahomes’ WR2, especially with JuJu Smith-Schuster now going to the Patriots. If the Chiefs can use Toney on a snap count of 15-30 snaps a game, he should be able to do the things we’re used to seeing him do on the football field: using his speed, physicality and athletic ability to take over a game.

Skyy Moore:

Moore struggled to see the field on offense during his rookie season as he acclimated to the NFL after starring at Western Michigan. Moore played on just 29% of the Chiefs’ offensive snaps in 2022, finishing with 22 receptions on 33 targets for 250 yards. The rookie receiver played 37% of his snaps from the slot which was the second most behind Smith-Schuster who is now gone. Moore now has an opportunity to see his role expand in his second season. He’s still the same guy who had 1,302 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns in his final season at Western Michigan and got drafted 54th overall last year. If Moore plays at least 500+ offensive snaps and he produces at the same rate as he did last season since Week 12, Moore would be expected to catch about 40+ passes for 500-600 yards and I can easily see 3-4 touchdowns. Moore got better from Week 12 and on that led to him making for his muffled punts in the AFC Championship Game.

Justin Watson:

There are a few under-the-radar guys on the Chiefs. One of those guys is Justin Watson. Last season, Watson tied his career high in receptions with 15 and receiving touchdowns with two, while racking up 315 receiving yards, the most of his career by a wide margin and the fifth-most of the entire Chiefs roster. Beyond that, he played a key role on special teams for the Chiefs. Watson was a surprise last season but don’t be surprised if he repeats the similar performance or not but his main focus will be contributing as one of the main leaders on special teams which is music to Dave Toub’s ears.

Under-the-Radar: Justyn Ross

Ross has played just 10 games of football since 2019 and didn’t look like himself in those 10 games. Still, he’s worth a roster spot for two reasons. One, he’s earning praise for his offseason work with Patrick Mahomes. Two, he had a 1,000-yard, nine-touchdown season as an 18-year-old in the ACC from Trevor Lawrence. It’s an extreme longshot that he’ll regain that form, but the NFL is expected to see that who caught passes from Lawrence catching passes from Mahomes is worthy of a roster spot. Justyn Ross is fully healthy and has participated in the OTAs for the Chiefs. He is ready for training camp, and if everything goes well, he will feature in Week 1 of next season.

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