Chiefs Need a Downfield Threat

As it's now officially a transition year for the Chiefs, the offseason begins this morning. The defense is clearly better, and will only improve with an infusion of talent, but the offense needs some major changes – especially in the receiving department.

Eddie Kennison picked a bad night to come up with a case of the dropsies in the Chiefs 20-9 loss to the San Diego Chargers. He's the best receiver the team has and that's something that has to change if the Chiefs are going to get more production from their wideouts in 2007.

Kennison isn't a number one receiver but he's been forced to play that role because the Chiefs don't really have anyone else that's NFL caliber. Samie Parker has decent speed and nice hands, but he's a third-down receiver at best. He's not starting material.

Kennison would be more productive as a number two receiver if the Chiefs had another threat in the passing game. They don't need much, but they need a solid number one receiver that can keep defenses honest.

There might be some help on the way, but it'll be very unproven. Sixth-round draft pick Jeff Webb has the skills to eventually unseat Kennison as a solid possession receiver. He could take Parker's reps on the field next year.

But the sleeper could be former Tennessee wide receiver Chris Hannon. He's 6-foot-4, 200 pounds and runs routes like Andre Rison used to in Kansas City, according to one of the Chiefs scouts I talked with last week.

The Chiefs have quietly stashed Hannon somewhere in the bowels of Arrowhead stadium. I hope they don't send him to NFL Europe. If Hannon or Webb go overseas they won't be fresh for the NFL regular season. This offense needs both of them on the field in week one.

Instead, both of them should move in with wide receivers coach Charlie Joiner this winter and learn from the master. They should catch 150 footballs every day and fall asleep every night to film of the NFL's greatest receivers.

The free agent market may include some interesting names at wide receiver. One that stands out is Jerry Porter. If motivated, he's capable of torching any NFL secondary.

The Chiefs never tried to lure a top wide receiver in free agency and missed the boat last offseason when they were unwilling to trade for Javon Walker. He's paying huge dividends in Denver for the cost of only a second round pick. There will not be a better wide receiver in the second round than Walker this April, and it's a move the Chiefs should have made.

They can rectify that this offseason by going after Porter. The Raiders will certainly cut him. The Chiefs need to swoop down like vultures and grab him.

Porter would love nothing more than to play the Raiders twice a year and he still has plenty of game.

Rumor has it that he'd welcome a chance to play for Edwards and the Chiefs. In fact, the Raiders were paranoid that if they put him on waivers Kansas City, desperate for a big-play receiver, would snatch him up.

Another wide receiver to keep an eye on is current Jets wide out Justin McCareins, who isn't happy being New York's third receiver. He's been relegated to the second team because of the emergence of third-year man Jericho Cotchery, who will be a restricted free agent.

It's too early to look at the NFL draft because so many underclassmen have yet to declare, but you can find a solid wide receiver anywhere in the draft. Look at the New Orleans Saints, who plucked Marques Colson in the seventh round. To date, he has 66 catches and seven touchdowns. The Chiefs need that kind of production from both of their starting wide receivers if this offense is going to evolve into one that can put up points down the stretch.

Everything the Chiefs do in the offseason has to be predicated by what happened in Edwards' first year as head coach. Sunday night he learned that his defense isn't all that bad anymore, but the offense needs some work. A good place to start is at wide receiver.

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