Last week, in an odd swap of disappointing former first-round picks, the Kansas City Chiefs sent WR Jon Baldwin to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for WR A.J. Jenkins. At the time, Baldwin was listed as No. 2 on the Chiefs depth chart, and that spot has now been taken over by Donnie Avery.
The Baldwin-Jenkins trade was mostly about the Chiefs’ disappointment in Baldwin, but Andy Reid’s need for speed in his wideouts also played a factor. The coach who drafted both DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, now has three burners in Jenkins, Avery and Dexter McCluster.
As the first wide receiver taken in the 2008 draft, Avery has yet to fulfill the expectations bestowed upon him. His first two seasons with the St. Louis Rams were mediocre, and he missed all of 2010 after suffering an ACL tear in the preseason. After being cut by the Rams, Avery barely saw the field in his comeback attempt with the Tennessee Titans in 2011.
He bounced back last season with the Indianapolis Colts, racking up 60 receptions for 781 yards — both career highs. Unfortunately, he also led the league in drop percentage.
The Chiefs coaching staff is now making it a priority to get Avery more involved in the offense. Last Saturday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he was targeted a team-high of nine times, mostly on screens and short routes. He was solid against the Steelers, but has been quiet to that point in the preseason.
It’s unclear whether Avery is the best of a bad situation, or a solid and improving No. 2, but Reid is going to give him every opportunity to show us what he’s got.