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Kansas City Chiefs 2023 Preview – The 3 New-coming Wide Receivers

The newcomers are here… Will Rashee Rice replace JuJu Smith-Schuster?

RASHEE RICE
Rashee Rice #4 of the Kansas City Chiefs poses for a portrait during the NFLPA Rookie Premiere on May 20, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (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 , interiortight ends and the running backs. This will be a series covering two parts of the wide receiver play in 2023. I have covered the returning receivers led by MVS and Kadarius Toney. This will cover the new-coming 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. This season, the player to replace is JuJu Smith-Schuster who put up 933 yards and 3 TDs for the Chiefs in 2022 but is now signed with the Patriots.

In this article, I will go into the group of new-coming receivers led by Rashee Rice and their outlook for the 2023 season.

Rashee Rice:

The Chiefs just drafted an X receiver in Rashee Rice that take advantage of the intermediate areas of the field. He’s a threat inside the 20 on fades and back shoulder throws where he can create strong positioning to body opposing cornerbacks which is good news for Travis Kelce and the other receivers. Rice projects to play the X-receiver role. Rice is a good route runner, especially against press coverage like Davante Adams, and possesses strong hands at the catch point. With Smith-Schuster now playing New England, Rice will have to attempt to fill Smith-Schuster’s role as the team’s X receiver. His physical style of play and aggressive demeanor with the ball in his hands is reminiscent of how Smith-Schuster attacked defenders in the open field. Rice fits the mold of what the Chiefs like in their X receivers and he should hopefully make a sizable contribution to the team in year one with plenty of targets to go around. He’s a guy that absorbs contact extremely well in traffic situations. Strongly contested catch receiver with very good 50/50 ball skills. We drafted a really equipped player who’s been really well-coached. Chiefs fans, get ready for a player who is ready to contribute right away. I predict that Rice should catch 60-70 passes for 800-1000 yards and we can expect to more TDs scored from Rice in 2023 than Smith-Schuster’s 3 TD scores in 2022 proving that Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach is a genius for finding his replacement for a lesser cost.

Richie James:

Richie James signed with the Chiefs this offseason, and he will compete for a role as one of the reserve receivers. At best, he could be viewed as the No. 4 receiver for the Chiefs when the team has Kadarius Toney, Skyy Moore and Marquez Valdes-Scantling as their expected top three receivers, and we’ll see what happens with rookie Rashee Rice, but he will be the No. 2 slot option behind Moore. He recorded 57 receptions, 569 yards, and four touchdowns in 17 games (four starts) for the New York Giants in 2022. The 27-year-old could very well find himself on this Chiefs roster replacing Mecole Hardman as WR3-4 and the main return specialist for the Chiefs in 2023. This move not only gives Patrick Mahomes another weapons but it also helps the Chiefs offense to focus on Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore getting expanded roles this upcoming season.

John Ross III:

On January 9 of this year, the Chiefs signed John Ross III to a reserve/futures contract. The Chiefs now have the ninth and 10th picks from the 2017 NFL draft with their franchise in Ross and quarterback (reigning MVP) Patrick Mahomes. Yes, Ross did not play in the NFL at all during the 2022 season after missing the final four games of 2021 with a knee injury while with the New York Giants. The 27-year-old speedster has been unable to stay healthy for a full season in five NFL seasons, but the Chiefs will take a flier on him. In 37 career games (21 starts), Ross has piled up 62 receptions on 143 targets for 957 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Cincinnati Bengals and Giants. Despite the stats, but going back to his tape we can see how Brett Veach sees that he can do much more than just be an effective deep threat, with traits elsewhere that will allow him to find success in our offense. However, Ross would have to beat out Justin Watson, Justyn Ross and maybe Richie James to have a reserve spot on the roster.

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