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Kansas City Chiefs roster bubble: The battle is on for receiver depth

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Who are the KC Chiefs locks and bubble players at receiver? Nick Jacobs (@Jacobs71) gives his take as we await the start of training camp.

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The Chiefs coaching staff spent a great deal of time scheming ways for receivers to get open in 2013. The hope for 2014 is that the Chiefs have added the pieces who can do just that while relying on development from players already in-house.

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Locks to make the roster

Dwayne Bowe: The Chiefs No. 1 wide receiver isn't leaving this year. Bowe and Alex Smith were in sync during the spring practices. Smith trusts Bowe to go up and get the football if he is covered and he doesn't leave Bowe out to dry. This could be a promising year for Bowe if he and Smith maintain the chemistry they showed during the Chiefs playoff loss to the Colts.

Donnie Avery: Avery showed some positive signs during the Chiefs offseason practices. He was willing to extend his hands for tough catches and he provided a deep threat, gaining a step on most defenders. Consistency has always been the thorn in Avery's side. If he can consistently catch the ball away from his body, there could be a promising jump in 2014.

AJ Jenkins is the player the Chiefs really need to break out in 2014.


Junior Hemingway: Hemingway can become a physical presence over the middle this season. He has demonstrated some ability in his route running and the nuances of being a receiver. He was also the Chiefs best special teams gunner last season and could make the roster based on that alone.

AJ Jenkins: The reason I have Jenkins so high is because I think the Chiefs have high hopes for him. Jenkins could be an important part of the offense if he can become a deep threat and relieve Bowe of extra attention from the defensive backs. It could also give Jamaal Charles and De'Anthony Thomas more room to work from the flats. Jenkins has the speed the Chiefs need; they just need him to show he can do it.

On the bubble

Weston Dressler: Dressler will be an interesting player to watch during camp. He has the speed to compete in the NFL and he made plenty of tough catches during the spring. He is a returner candidate on special teams, too. It will be interesting to watch once the Chiefs go full pads and contact is allowed. The speed and ability to turn it up field is there.

Jerrell Jackson: The Mizzou grad was consistent during camp. Jackson would have occasional drops but he showed solid speed, route running and concentration when going after the football. I'm anxious to see him in game situations.

Kyle Williams: Williams has the speed to make the roster. The question is can he stay healthy? With two ACL injuries in his career, this season will be big in deciding if his NFL career continues. Williams was a spectator for most of the spring so camp will help answer a lot of questions about him this season.

Frankie Hammond Jr: He made a couple of impressive grabs during the offseason. The key for Hammond is two-fold: making plays on offense and showing he has something the Chiefs lack as a returner on special teams.

It will be interesting to watch Dressler once the Chiefs go full pads and contact is allowed.


Albert Wilson: Wilson is a speed slot receiver. If he earns enough reps, he will be able to showcase his ability. He consistently made catches over the middle, got up field and created separation quickly. He could be a good addition to the practice squad to allow the Chiefs coaches to develop him as a slot receiver and returner.

Darryl Surgent: The Louisiana-Lafayette alum made the most of his time with Tyler Bray on the third team. He was one of Bray's favorite targets during the spring. Surgent consistently ran under the deep ball when Bray got it to him. He could make for a great practice squad candidate.

Fred Williams: Williams has a stacked deck against him. He has solid athletic ability but it's hard to see him forcing his way up the depth chart.

Mark Harrison: The late addition from Rutgers has good size but otherwise he is a wait-and-see until camp rolls around.

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I anticipate the Chiefs keeping six  receivers on the active roster and I could see a couple on the practice squad, too. De'Anthony Thomas could be that sixth receiver but the Chiefs may also need insurance in case Thomas has issues in his development. The fifth and sixth receivers will need to be special teams contributors as returners, and gunners.

AJ Jenkins is the player the Chiefs really need to break out in 2014.