Wednesday, May 21, 2014
More proof Chiefs have work to do at WR
By Adam Teicher
Bigger is better when it comes to wide receivers. That’s not a secret around the NFL, and it’s not a notion that’s particularly new. Speed matters, but size is generally what wins out.
That’s something all teams, the Kansas City Chiefs included, believe. Bigger, stronger receivers are more capable of shucking physical coverage and making catches in a larger radius, thus giving the quarterback more room for error. That’s accepted fact in the NFL, not opinion.
Now comes my ESPN colleague, Mike Rodak, who covers the Buffalo Bills, with an interesting story. Rodak went through NFL rosters and figured an average height for the wide receivers for each team.
The Bills led the league with an average height of 6-2. Of more interest to you, the Chiefs came in next to last at slightly less than 5-11 1/2. And that doesn’t even count rookie De'Anthony Thomas, who should be playing at least some as a slot receiver but is being listed for the time being as a running back.
Thomas is 5-9.
A height of 6-2 is generally considered the dividing line for a receiver between having the right size and not. Dwayne Bowe at 6-2 is the only Chiefs' receiver who passes the test. Among the others who could or might play a significant amount next season, Donnie Avery is 5-11, A.J. Jenkins 6-0, Junior Hemingway 6-1 and Weston Dressler 5-7.
The Bills, as a comparison, have seven wide receivers who stand at least 6-2.
The Chiefs have some tall tight ends who can help compensate. Travis Kelce, who showed some impressive receiving skills last year before a knee ailment ruined his rookie season, is 6-5, as is Sean McGrath. Anthony Fasano, who caught three touchdown passes last year despite missing seven games with injuries, is 6-4.
But this is an issue for the Chiefs. Their receivers were at or near the bottom of the league in production last year and a lack of size is one reason why.
It’s not just my opinion here. Read what Bills general manager Doug Whaley had to say. The Chiefs may not go on the record as saying so, but they agree, too.