2014 NFL Draft: Kansas City Chiefs Taking TE in First Round Would Be Puzzling

By Kyle Pappas
Sean McGrath
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Since the Kansas City Chiefs‘ season concluded, there have been grumblings from draft insiders and Chiefs’ fans alike that Kansas City should select a TE with the team’s No. 23 overall pick in May’s NFL Draft. Several mock projections have the Chiefs selecting either North Carolina‘s Eric Ebron or Texas Tech‘s Jace Amaro.

I don’t know when or where the idea came that Kansas City has an issue at the tight end position, but it’s absolutely ludicrous. The Chiefs have bigger issues at at least four other positions (FS, CB, DE, WR) that need to be addressed before considering a tight end. Moreover, Kansas City’s so-called debacle at the position isn’t really a debacle at all.

While it’s agreed that Anthony Fasano and his 12.4 percent drop rate shouldn’t see the field as a starter in 2014, Kansas City has two more tight ends on their roster capable of filling the vacancy.

Travis Kelce, seemingly forgotten in the midst of all this fuss, was the Chiefs’ third-round pick and the fourth TE taken overall in the 2013 draft. Unfortunately, Kelce was placed on’ IR in October and missed the entire regular season.

But Kelce should return as the Chiefs’ top tight end for 2014. He’s a magnificent blocker who possesses deceptive speed that makes him a downfield threat as well. He can lead block for Jamaal Charles and create plays downfield for conservative QB-extraordinaire Alex Smith with his size and athletic ability. The potential for greatness is there if he can stay off the injury report.

Additionally, undrafted Sean McGrath did a better-than-expected job at TE in Kelce and Fasano’s absence. In addition to having one of the league’s most impressive beards, McGrath looked like he could be Kansas City’s x-factor after recording 13 receptions for 149 yards and a TD over a three-game stretch early in the season.

His production leveled off considerably when Fasano returned from injury, but McGrath’s worth was already proven. He consistently found space, being habitually overlooked by defenses that were excessively focused on Charles and Dwayne Bowe. While not an elite option, he’s definitely a serviceable choice at the position for the Chiefs.

While Ebron and Amaro are clearly talented prospects who look to have bright futures in the league, Kansas City’s most pressing needs lie elsewhere. Teams must fill their needs before their wants, and for Kansas City, an upgrade at tight end is certainly a want.

Fans haven’t had the opportunity to see what Kelce can do as a professional TE, and until they do it is unwarranted to call for a valuable draft pick to be spent on another. Kelce owns the skill-set to be a successful tight end in the league, so let’s curb the tight end draft talk in KC for at least another season.

Kyle Pappas covers the Kansas City Chiefs and NFL for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @KylePap or add him to your network on Google+.

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