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Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Chiefs position analysis: tight end

By Adam Teicher

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Today begins a nine-part series looking at the roster for the Kansas City Chiefs. I’ll look at one position each day, offering suggestions for what the Chiefs might want to do at each spot.

We’ll begin at tight end, where the season began with such promise before injuries often forced the Chiefs to go with players who joined them after training camp had ended.

Roster (6): Anthony Fasano, Richard Gordon, Demetrius Harris, Dominique Jones, Travis Kelce, Sean McGrath.

Potential 2014 free agent: Gordon.

The position: The Chiefs went into camp with Fasano, Tony Moeaki and Kelce as their top three tight ends, but Moeaki (since released) and Kelce never played an offensive snap all season because of injuries and Fasano was limited to nine games. As a result, the Chiefs had to scramble at tight end most of the season. They plucked McGrath off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks at the start of the regular season and he was a find. Mostly because he played in all 16 games, McGrath led Chiefs tight ends with 26 receptions. Still, the Chiefs initially believed they would get as many as 100 catches from their tight ends, but instead they got just 55 catches at this spot. That number has to increase next season. Fasano if healthy should catch more than the 23 he grabbed this season. Kelce will be a factor in their passing game if he also can stay healthy. He showed during offseason practice and training camp the ability to beat coverage down the field to make catches. Another player to watch is Harris. A standout high school football player in Arkansas, he didn’t play the sport in college. He instead was a basketball player at Wisconsin-Milwaukee. But after spending all season on Kansas City’s practice squad, Harris has a chance to become one of those former basketball players who becomes an accomplished pass-catching tight end.

The Chiefs should keep: Fasano, Harris, Kelce and McGrath. They won’t need four tight ends going into the regular season so they should let Harris and McGrath battle for the final roster spot. Besides, with the injury problems they had this season, it doesn’t hurt to have numbers here.

The Chiefs should dump: Gordon and Jones.

Free agency/draft priority: The Chiefs certainly don’t need to force anything. They have the bodies to make the position work. But as they learned this season, they can never have too much depth, so if a bargain comes along in free agency or they find good value at a particular point in the draft, they should move on it.