It was considered a priority position. Judging by the offseason actions of the Kansas City Chiefs and the new front office led by general manager John Dorsey, the tight end position was among the greatest points of need for the team outside of quarterback. Whether it was a lack of talent or a point of offensive emphasis, the Chiefs dramatically re-made the position this past offseason.
The team had limited high draft assets given the trade for Alex Smith with the San Francisco 49ers. However that didn't stop the Chiefs from investing their first of two third round picks in Travis Kelce, a prospect from Cincinnati. The team grabbed Kelce just weeks after signing free agent Anthony Fasano to a four-year, $16 million contract. With holdover Tony Moeaki in place, the Chiefs seemed stacked at the position.
Fast forward 12 weeks into the regular season and Sean McGrath has as many starts as Fasano, who has dealt with a number of injuries to his knee and ankle in addition to a recent concussion. Moeaki was released after an injury threatened to keep him out yet another season. Kelce made a brief appearance in a single game before being placed on Injured Reserve in mid-October.
Here's a quick snapshot of the Chiefs snaps taken at tight end:
Anthony Fasano: 469
Sean McGrath: 453
Kevin Brock: 76
Now the Chiefs are bringing Dominique Jones off the practice squad this week if they need a body at the position.
This definitely wasn't the plan.
Given the team's incredible success this season, each and every problem area feels a bit less needy than it would if the Chiefs were in the basement of the division. However that doesn't change the need for tight end production in 2014. Looking ahead, the Chiefs will no doubt hope for better health and impact, but the question is whether or not they will make a move to do so.
Fasano returns next year and will count just under $5 million toward the cap in 2014. Kelce will hopefully rebound and bring his all-around talent to the field after one year of at least learning the schemes and playbook. But can the Chiefs count on both to remain healthy?
SB Nation's Dan Kadar doesn't think so. The NFL Draft analyst predicts the Chiefs will take North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron in the first round. He writes:
Anthony Fasano and Sean McGrath have played about an equal number of snaps at tight end for the Chiefs this season and both have been equally below-average. Ebron may be only a receiving tight end, but he's a good one. He'll likely be the fastest tight end in the draft and can make spectacular catches.
Would the Chiefs pick two tight ends that early in back-to-back drafts? That's hard to believe, even if Ebron is sitting there. Then again, the Chiefs need another option at receiver and if Ebron is the highest graded among them all by the front office, then perhaps they make that movie.
It will be interesting to see how the Chiefs bolster the offense this offseason after a full season under Andy Reid and his coaching staff.
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