A year ago the most notable undrafted contributor to the Kansas City Chiefs roster was Wide Receiver, Albert Wilson. In training camp, everyone could see he had significant skills. However, jumping from small college to the NFL is a daunting task even for a drafted player.
Despite the long odds, he found a niche in the Chiefs offense, and was one of the teams’ better offensive contributors the last quarter of the season. Though 16 receptions and 260 yards receiving aren’t going to bring Wilson any hall of fame votes, he averaged nearly 17 yards per catch.
Last May, Wilson came to the Chiefs from Georgia State and immediately began to show flashes of his receiving abilities in KC’s rookie camp. He displayed terrific hands and the ability to run crisp routes.
The down side, and the reason he went undrafted, rests solely on the fact he was raw in regards to the NFL game and would need significant time to develop at this level.
Again, that wasn’t unexpected, considering he played at a small division school. However, scouts wondered, with his 5’9” frame, if he could handle the physical aspects of the position at the next level.
Head Coach Andy Reid and General Manager, John Dorsey, both gave Wilson glowing remarks when the off-season workouts began last month. The good news for Wilson, as he enters his sophomore season in the NFL, the Chiefs made solid upgrades at the position that could ease Wilson’s transition to an increased role in the offense this season.
When the team signed, Jeremy Maclin and re-signed, Jason Avant, at the onset of free agency, Wilson enters the season with a pair of seasoned NFL veterans to work under. A year ago, it was ironic the moment Avant signed, Wilson suddenly began grasping the offense allowing the coaching staff to get him on the field.
In my view, Wilson is a slot receiver but the Chiefs might play him outside opposite Maclin. If that’s the case, he will have some competition in 2015 draftee, Georgia Wide Receiver, Chris Conley.
If you add De’Anthony Thomas into the mix, suddenly this group has the makings of a terrific and productive unit. In fact, I’d have to say from a talent and potential standpoint, this might be the best receiving class we’ve seen in Kansas City since the Dick Vermeil era.
Further, if I add Tight End Travis Kelce, into the group, the Chiefs have the receivers that can make plays on any given snap. That’s always been the design of the head coach, but until this point in Reid’s tenure in Kansas City, he’s been missing the horses to execute his entire playbook.
Granted the emphasis of this offense still revolves around Running Back, Jamaal Charles. Yet for Wilson, if he can expand on his efforts from a year ago, suddenly he’s another option for Quarterback, Alex Smith.
What Wilson gives the Chiefs is a down the field target that can explode off the line of scrimmage. Granted he doesn’t have the size but don’t let that fool you because he has deceptive power at the point of attack.
Speed is an amazing thing and Wilson understands how to use it on the field. On the flip side, he has to earn his playing time. That means Wilson must do whatever it takes to avoid the sophomore slump that can swallow up young players.
Wilson won’t sneak up any opponents this year. There is enough film to show what he can do in open spaces against opposing defenses. Still, the fact we’re mentioning his name at this point, tells me his potential is more than an intriguing option for this offense.
Though KC’s offensive fortunes rests squarely on the shoulders of the offensive line, the Chiefs have playmakers at all four offensive positions for the first time under Reid.
For Wilson, he has an opportunity to rise above all expectations and become one of the best stories of the season. In that light, something tells me he’s going to make the most of this opportunity and guiding the Chiefs franchise to it’s first division title since 2010.