The vast majority of mocks for the 2014 NFL Draft had the Kansas City Chiefs selecting a wide receiver in the first round. It was a good guess as Kansas City’s wideouts were the least productive in the league last season, but the Chiefs’ brass decided against it in the real draft.
The team did add a potential slot receiver in De’Anthony Thomas with their fourth-round choice, but he’s not expected to have a big immediate impact in the receiving game. The Chiefs also have hope for youngsters A.J. Jenkins and Junior Hemmingway, but it’s important to temper expectations for Kansas City wide receivers with Alex Smith under center.
This is no knock on Smith’s ability as a quarterback. He is a great leader who knows how to get wins – he just doesn’t use wideouts to get the job done very often. No wide receiver has ever had a 1,000-yard season with Smith at quarterback. Michael Crabtree came the closest in 2011 with an 874-yard effort.
As a conservative quarterback who spreads the ball around, Smith isn’t going to have a lot of big seasons from wideouts. The two most productive years from his pass-catchers were both by tight end Vernon Davis, who had seasons with 914 and 965 receiving yards.
Last season, running back Jamaal Charles led the team with 693 yards, though Dwayne Bowe and Donnie Avery were right on his heels. Smith is the type of player who takes what the defense gives him in lieu of forcing things. Neither he nor his receivers are going to have eye-popping numbers.
The Chiefs’ wideouts are not as devoid of talent as the 2013 stats suggest. The position just isn’t as high impact on a Smith-led squad. The Chiefs’ offense was starting to make big strides as the season wound down in 2013, averaging 36.3 points per game in the last six contests.
It doesn’t matter who brings the ball down the field as long as it gets there. It was the defense that fell flat during crunch time last season, not the offense. The numbers do lie sometimes. Kansas City does not desperately need another quality wide receiver.