What's Next: Wide Receivers?

Despite cries to the contrary, the Kansas City Chiefs do have talent at the wide receiver position. In Eddie Kennison, Sammie Parker, Marc Boerigter, Dante Hall, Chris Horn and Craphonso Thorpe, the Chiefs have an interesting mix of guys for the new offensive coordinator, whoever he will be, to toy around with.

There will be some changes this off-season, though. Although some of the names will be familiar, there could be some surprise deletions and additions this off-season.

In the Chiefs offensive scheme, the wide receiver has to be able to get off the line quickly, run precise routes, and have great hands. Chief's receivers are also asked to run block quite a bit in this offense. Blazing speed isn't necessary, as long the receiver can get separation from the defender, and find open spots in the secondary.

The Chiefs haven't been challenging secondaries over the top much recently, but that is a dimension they would like to add to the offense. The receivers in this offense catch a lot of balls facing quarterback Trent Green, which limits opportunities to gain extra yards. Still, with the right mixture of guys, the receiving corps could be even more dynamic, particular if they can find that vertical element to put pressure on opposing safeties.

Eddie Kennison gets better with age. Kennison put up his second consecutive 1,000 plus yard season, and although his speed isn't what it was six years ago, he has more than enough to make plays on the football field. Kennison has developed a great chemistry with Green the last four years and will probably return to the Chiefs, although there is a strong possibility that he will not be the number one receiver next season.

Sammie Parker, while slow to develop, showed flashes of his world class speed and good hands as the season progressed. Green was able to depend on Parker to make big catches more and more as the season wore on. Parker has the tools to be the Chiefs most complete receiver, given the time and opportunity, but will need to prove that he can be consistent performer. He will almost certainly be back, probably as a second or third receiver.

The Chiefs may have a star waiting in the wings with Craphonso Thorpe. Interestingly enough, Thorpe didn't make it onto the field this year, but with a year in the Chiefs off-season program could help Thorpe realize his fantastic potential. Questions about Thorpe's toughness and route running were raised last offseason, but look for Thorpe to break out with a bang this year. In time, Thorpe will develop into the Chiefs primary big play threat, that vertical presence that puts pressure on opposing safeties. Thorpe will find his way on the field this season, as the third or fourth receiver.

Return man extraordinaire Dante' Hall is the most intriguing player in the Chiefs' receiving corps. Hall is a serious big play threat, to be sure, but Hall hasn't been the same electrifying player he was in his breakout season of 2003. Without that big play component in his game, Hall is just an undersized receiver and may be in for a fight for a roster spot if he can't regenerate that magic.

Marc Boerigter was a forgotten man this season, finding limited opportunities to get on the field. Boerigter is a free agent now, and will probably not return to the team. With his size and surprising speed, he will latch on to a team, but it won't be in Kansas City. Chris Horn probably won't return to the team, either. A favorite of former head coach Dick Vermeil, Horn more than likely will be asked to take his services elsewhere.

Look for the Chiefs to take a good look at the free agent market to add big time talent to the roster. Colts free agent Reggie Wayne is an option, but may prove too expensive for the Chiefs. Wayne is the complete package, a combination of great speed, fantastic hands and body control. Wayne is the crown jewel of this year's free agent market, and will command top dollar from the team. There is a chance that he could see the franchise tag from the Colts, which would probably remove him from the Chiefs' radar.

Also in the mix could be the ever dangerous Antwaan Randle-El, whose versatility could add a shot in the arm to the Chiefs offense and special teams. Randle-El has the ability to stretch the field, and makes plays in the short and intermediate areas of the field as well. If the Colts franchise Wayne, Randle-El could the next hottest commodity.

Free agent receiver Eric Moulds is a tough, savvy veteran. Despite declining numbers, he still possesses the skills to be a number one receiver, at least in the Chiefs' offense. A dark horse candidate could be the volatile Terrell Owens, who despite his numerous off the field antics, is still one of the NFL's premier talents—the best combination of size, speed and strength since Sterling Sharpe. The Chiefs family atmosphere may prove to be just what Owens needs.

That's it for today guys.


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