Training Camp Battles, Part 2 – Wide Receiver

Last week we opened this series with a look at how the right tackle competition is shaping up. Barring injury, or an amazing turn-back-the-clock revolution by Kyle Turley, that battle will be confined to two players. Today we look at a different kind of battle – a free for all. With only one veteran on the roster and a host of unproven players, the battle for wide receiver will be intense.

Wide Receiver – Dwayne Bowe vs Chris Hannon vs Jeff Webb vs Samie Parker

As stated in the introduction, Eddie Kennison is the only true veteran receiver on Kansas City's roster at the moment. Samie Parker is entering his fourth season, but has started only one full year. Behind those two players is a muddle of rookies, un-drafted free agents and one journeyman (Rod Gardner).

The Chiefs currently have eight receivers on the roster under the age of 25. They haven't had that sort of inexperience in years – there's always been a couple of guys around like Derrick Alexander or Chris Horn. But they also haven't had as much talent as I believe they do right now.

Chris Hannon, Jeff Webb, Dwayne Bowe and Brad Ekwerekwu all stand at least 6-foot-2 and run in the 4.4 range. Hannon has run in the 4.2's at times. The Chiefs have a roster filled with big, fast receivers brimming with potential. That's a big change from the days of stocking the roster with diminutive, limited talent receivers like Horn, Dante Hall, Snoop Minnis and Chris Thomas.

Who's going to emerge from this group as a starter opposite Kennison? It could be anyone, and not necessarily Bowe, but it's exciting to know some of this young talent, with a little luck, might develop in step with Brodie Croyle over the next few years.

For now, we'll name Bowe as the odds-on-favorite to win the other starting job. He clearly brings a pedigree to KC's roster they haven't had in quite some time among wide receivers – a latter day Sylvester Morris (not to curse Bowe with the injury bug).

He'll be pushed by second-year receivers Jeff Webb and Chris Hannon, but I'd be surprised if those two players weren't battling for the third receiver position. The Chiefs will want to give Bowe every opportunity to get up to speed in training camp, and than means more reps.

The odd man out in all of this is Parker, who disappointed over the last two seasons in a failed bid to become Kansas City's future star wide receiver. I'd be shocked if the Chiefs gave him many starting reps in River Falls, but I suppose it's not out of the question he could have an amazing training camp and win the job outright. Strange things happen in the NFL – remember when a middle-round rookie named Jared Allen outperformed Vonnie Holliday and stole his job in 2004?

Bringing up the rear are a host of unknowns such as Maurice Price, Ekwerekwu, Brent Little, Ean Randolph and Titus Ryan. Look for Ekwerekwu to catch on with the practice squad. Randolph has been mentioned as a punt-return candidate, but the Chiefs will only keep five wide receivers at most. Three players (Parker, Randolph, Ekwerekwu) might end up fighting for the last roster spot – unless Hannon or Webb disappoint.

Here's an early shot at the wide receiver depth chart in Houston on opening day.

1. Eddie Kennison
2. Dwayne Bowe
3. Chris Hannon
4. Jeff Webb
5. Ean Randolph

Notable cuts – Samie Parker, Rod Gardner

Saturday: Training Camp Battles, Part I - Right Tackle

Coming Thursday: Training Camp Battles, Part III – Defensive Tackle

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