ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- When the Kansas City Chiefs utilized offensive formations that featured at least three wide receivers last season, invariably Dexter McCluster was that first player off the bench as the slot receiver.
They may be able to pick and choose from a variety of candidates for that job this season. They range from traditional smaller, quicker players like Kyle Williams and rookies De'Anthony Thomas and Albert Wilson to a bigger receiver like Junior Hemingway.
All could make the roster and the Chiefs just might fill the departed McCluster’s role with any of several players, depending on their particular needs at the time.
“There’s a possibility,’’ offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said. “It’s hard to speculate going forward. Each week is a different week and what our needs [might be] on offense and defense and special teams. But it can be that way. We can mix and match and put different personnel on the field and that just creates those matchups you like for your offense against their defense.’’
Hemingway is an interesting candidate. He played some for the Chiefs last season in their multiple-receiver formations as a slot receiver, though at 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds, he hardly fits the profile of the typical slot receiver.
But he might play more as an extra receiver than any of the other candidates.
“Because he’s bigger in size, he’s a little more versatile for us, meaning the run game,’’ Pederson said. “We can use him in there as a blocker. He’s big enough to use him over the football where there’s traffic with linebackers and safeties. He’s physical enough to bang guys around and get open in there.
“So we can mix and match the speed with the power guy as well.’’