With all the focus this off-season being on the quarterback position for the Kansas City Chiefs and new head coach Andy Reid, it’s important for the team to also pay attention to some of its other needs, specifically at wide receiver. Kansas City was last in the NFL in passing yards in 2012, and some of the fault for that rests on the wide receiver position, which must be addressed this off-season.
Top receiver Dwayne Bowe appears to be on his way out of Kansas City via free agency, which means tight end Tony Moeaki will be the leading receiver that the Chiefs return next season, making the need at wide receiver even more urgent. The other receivers that will return to the Chiefs include Dexter McCluster, Jon Baldwin and Steve Breaston. McCluster caught 52 passes last year, but had an unimpressive 8.7 yards per catch average; Baldwin had a disappointing year with just 20 catches and one touchdown, when he should have had a breakout year in his second professional season, and Breaston saw a drastic decline in his playing time as the season went on, although he should get a chance to redeem himself with a new coaching staff in place. If this is the group Kansas City is returning at wide receiver, it’s easy to see why there is such a dire need to add to it during the off-season.
For the Chiefs, free agency may be the best way to address their need at wide receiver. However, why would a top-flight wide receiver choose to go to a place like Kansas City with no quarterback in place? The Chiefs would have to hand out a big-money contract if they expect to woo one of the better available wide receivers, like Greg Jennings or Mike Wallace, to Kansas City. Either that, or they would have to settle for a second-tier wide receiver or take a risk on Percy Harvin and all the baggage he carries with him.
Since the Chiefs may not be able to compete for a couple years anyway, they could look for a wide receiver in the draft, with the hopes that he’ll break out in two or three years, although, that hasn’t exactly worked out for them with Baldwin. Plus, with all the other needs the Chiefs have, they may not be able to draft a wide receiver until the 3rd or 4th round, likely missing out on the top choices at that position.
Of the receivers that could be available at that point, the Chiefs would be wise to check out Markus Wheaton of Oregon State, Quinton Patton of Louisiana Tech and Emory Blake of Auburn. If Kansas City does end up taking a quarterback first overall, or finding one via free agency or a trade, they should consider using their 2nd round pick on a wide receiver, as a great wide receiver can be a young quarterback’s best friend, just ask Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton about A.J. Green. At that point, the Chiefs might be able to steal someone with first round talent, but even settling for someone like Cobi Hamilton of Arkansas or Robert Woods of USC would be a great pick up for them.
No matter who and no matter how, the Chiefs need to address their need at wide receiver during the off-season. Their struggles at that position are a significant reason for the woes of their passing game last season, and while they are focused primarily on fixing the quarterback position right now, they can’t lose sight of their needs at wide receiver.