For any successful team, players emerge from relative anonymity to become important cogs to the machine. Last year for the resurgent Kansas City Chiefs, players like Marcus Cooper, Geoff Schwartz and Sean McGrath seemingly came out of nowhere to help the team make the playoffs.
Coming into this season, there are not many new faces in prominent spots. Outside of Vance Walker and Joe Mays, nobody appears to have been signed for a starting role. The draft still remains and could produce some likely starters, but outside of the first round pick anybody picked is far from a guarantee to see real playing time away from special teams.
For me, I'm looking at a youngster who I believe has some talent to break out. I'm looking at Junior Hemingway.
Hemingway has been with the Chiefs since being drafted out of Michigan in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft. At 25 years old, Hemingway is entering his prime and showed some skill last year. The stats were nothing special, only 13 catches for 125 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Still, the size is there at 6'1 and 225 pounds along with good hands.
I'm in the camp of Kansas City taking a receiver in the first round, but I don't think that shuts the door on Hemingway's opportunities. Many rookies struggle to make an impact, but even if the Chiefs presumed rookie is a gem, there is still room. I expect to see Dwayne Bowe in the slot some this season, taking advantage of his large frame. Donnie Avery is an injury risk and could open a door for Hemingway in that regard.
Nobody is saying Hemingway will have an 1,000-yard season. However, I could see Hemingway having 35-40 catches for around 550 yards and four scores. If he does that, it is a huge boost from a cheap player.
On a side note, my Dad believes Hemingway will be good. This is really good news for all of us. Honest to God, he should have been a pro scout. Years ago, he watched one series of a game involving Penn State. He pointed out a defensive end and said "I hope the Chiefs take that kid, he's going to be great," and walked away. That man was Tamba Hali.
There are literally dozens of examples like that. Old man believes in Hemingway. I believe in Hemingway. We all need to believe in Hemingway.
Who is the guy you think will step up? Give us the feedback below.