The Kansas City Chiefs top need entering the 2014 NFL Draft was receiver, according a series of polls we ran asking KC Chiefs fans the team's top needs. Exiting the 2014 NFL Draft, receiver remains one of the Chiefs biggest needs.
Let's examine the Chiefs current receiver situation, before the draft and after the draft.
What the Chiefs did (or didn't) do at receiver in the draft
The Chiefs did not draft a true receiver, a position Chiefs fans thought they would be addressing not just in the draft, but high in the draft. Fourth round pick De'Anthony Thomas out of Oregon will play all over, including some at receiver.
There were four receivers off the board when the Chiefs picked at No. 23. My favorite pick for the Chiefs, Oregon State's Brandin Cooks, went off the board three picks before KC. Kelvin Benjamin and Marqise Lee were picked after the Chiefs.
There was a run on receivers in the second round but the Chiefs didn't have a second round pick and didn't have a desire to trade back into the second to get one.
What happened to the "deep receiver" class?
That the Chiefs didn't draft any receivers makes me go back to what GM John Dorsey said on multiple occasions entering the draft -- that this is a deep receiver class.
Dorsey in March: "I think this draft is deep in terms of wide receivers with skills."
Dorsey in April: "As you look at the wide receiver position, every round there's unique value at that position to be had all the way down to the seventh round."
What would Dorsey say about not drafting a receiver in this deep class? "You have to let the board talk to you." He's going to say he's taking the best player available. Even though I do think the Chiefs should have drafted a receiver, Dorsey's philosophy is a good one for the long-term viability of the Chiefs roster. Short-term pain for long-term gain, or at least that's the goal.
Realistically, it's unlikely any non-first round receiver would have a significant impact this season so I don't buy that this hurts the Chiefs in 2014. Maybe it comes back to bite them down the road though.
Are the Chiefs disappointed they didn't get a receiver?
As you'd expect, Dorsey said no. He indicated that there were more opportunities coming to potentially add a receiver.
"It's not over yet," Dorsey said. "There are still some things going on and you've still got training camp and there are still opportunities to acquire those types of players that you're looking at if in fact you want to go in that direction."
The next best player acquisition time will be roster cut down weekend near the end of training camp. Not just young players, but some veterans will become cap casualties around that time.
Candidates to step up: AJ Jenkins, Junior Hemingway, Weston Dressler
Dwayne Bowe and Donnie Avery are the top guys while AJ Jenkins, Weston Dressler and Junior Hemingway, among others, will be competing for playing time.
The Chiefs have said they're excited about Jenkins, who was brought to KC last year in the Jon Baldwin trade. Matt Conner recently wondered if Jenkins could be a late bloomer. Now would be the time to show us that, AJ.
Hemingway, in particular, is another player who I believe has a shot to be a legit contributor next season. Dressler, the slot receiver from Canada, is another option. I could see a combo of him and De'Anthony Thomas replacing that McCluster role (with better results).