2013 season: Kelce never played a snap last season and that was a huge letdown for the Chiefs. He dressed for the season-opening game in Jacksonville but didn’t play. Then a sore knee kept him from practicing and he finally had surgery, ending his season. The loss of Kelce had to hurt the Chiefs' passing game. He was their move tight end, the one they would send in motion or line up in a variety of spots. Kelce, in offseason practice and training camp, showed he could get down the field to make catches more like a wide receiver than a tight end. With Kelce at 260 pounds, they hoped they could find favorable matchups against linebackers who would have trouble staying with Kelce down the field. The Chiefs never identified a player with that kind of ability on their roster after he was gone.
Looking ahead: If he’s healthy, Kelce should get plenty of playing time in 2014. The Chiefs also have veteran Anthony Fasano and Sean McGrath at tight end, but neither is the versatile receiving threat Kelce could be. The Chiefs also have a developmental prospect in Demetrius Harris, who if he shows tremendous progress could steal some of Kelce's playing time. But Harris' skills were raw and he is less reliable at this point. Kelce will need to improve as a blocker in order to remain in the lineup in all situations, regardless of down and distance.