In the third segment of this series we get into the case of Jonathan Baldwin. As all of you know Baldwin was the 26th overall pick in the draft and is the reason many feel this offense can take it to the next level.Thinking positively, Baldwin is a 6'4'' 230 receiver with great hands, a high vertical jump and speed to burn. While he played with below-average quarterbacks even by college standards during his career, he still was able to put up big numbers and continually make spectacular plays.
Thinking negatively, we've heard a lot of commentary about Baldwin's work ethic and character. Is he part of the "Right 53" or is he a diva receiver who's a disaster waiting to happen? Some feel that Haley's style will be a great influence while others think that Haley will cause Baldwin to push back.
Nobody seems to question the young man's ability however. Many receivers have blazing speed but usually lack size in that case. In this situation, you have a 230 pound player who runs a 4.4. So the question is simple: Does Jonathan Baldwin make the Chiefs (and more specifically their offense), elite this year?
My Verdict: I tend to be very cautious when it comes to rookies and their immediate impact. Just not with Jonathan Baldwin.
Ever since being drafted he has come in with a great attitude. He joined Matt Cassel in Joplin to help the victims and has even stayed at Cassel's house to prepare for the upcoming season. It seems like he's out to prove he wasn't a bad pick, and the Chiefs could benefit greatly from that type of mindset.
Baldwin has all the physical tools. He's a strong kid with leaping ability, which should help Cassel tremendously. Cassel doesn't have a very good deep ball but Baldwin is going to change that. Dwayne Bowe and his new running mate will be a nightmare for teams with small cornerbacks. It's one thing to have a big receiver, it's quite another having two. Kansas City will create mismatches all over the field.
Baldwin's biggest contribution may actually come in the running game. Last season teams could bring eight men into the box, forcing the Chiefs to make a tough decision against better defenses. With Bowe and Baldwin on the field, opponents will have to keep their safeties back unless they go 1-on-1 with no help over the top.
Think of this: If Kansas City have Bowe and Baldwin outside, McCluster in the slot, Moeaki on the end of the line, and Charles in the backfield, what does the opposition do? Either a LB covers Charles or McCluster in a pass play, or a nickel package has to defend a run.
I will go as far as to say Baldwin will be better than Bowe in the near future. I just see greatness written all over this kid, especially with Todd Haley overseeing him.