The tight end position was a prominent aspect of the Kansas City Chiefs 2014 passing attack, accounting for 96 of the team's 320 receptions and nine of the 18 touchdown receptions. In Andy Reid's offense, the tight end is a primary or secondary read on a majority of passing plays. The tight end is expected to make sight adjustments based on coverages and find voids in zone coverage.
Here's what we saw from the Chiefs tight ends in 2014:
1. Travis Kelce
The second year veteran got his first taste of the regular season in 2014. Kelce was the Chiefs most explosive player with 15 plays of 20 yards or more. Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles were tied in second place at nine. Kelce, the Chiefs third round selection in 2013, was an explosive player coming out of Cincinnati. He was a mismatch that could beat safeties and linebackers off the line or in the slot. Kelce has great size and an aggressive run blocking attitude. The micro-fracture surgery derailed his 2013 season but he showed tremendous promise in training camp. The Bearcat alumnus picked up where in left off before the injury.
Kelce must improve his ball security when running in the open field. He needs to work on his functional strength when performing run blocks near the line of scrimmage. Lastly, he needs to continue working on mastering the playbook. The future is very bright for Kelce to become a dominant force in the NFL.
2. Anthony Fasano
Fasano just completed his ninth season in the NFL at age 30. His first season on the roster he provided the offense a much needed veteran presence. He fit the checklist of the skill set needed in this offense. The Notre Dame alumnus sustained an ankle injury in 2013 and was noticeably hampered by the injury. Fasano came back in 2014 in good health and remained mostly healthy for the entire season. He provided the team a solid run blocker and a reliable pass catcher. The nine year veteran found the voids in zone coverage this season and made proper adjustments on routes. The downside is that Fasano is on the wrong side of 30 and his athletic ability showed a decline this season.
3. Demetrius Harris
Harris sustained a broken foot in Week 10. The second year player grew a great deal from his rookie to sophomore season by increasing his strength during the offseason and becoming more comfortable with the skill set demands of a tight end. Harris still has plenty of work ahead of him in run blocking and understanding the nuances of the offense. The injury was a big setback for his growth in 2014. The Chiefs will have invested two-plus seasons into his development when practices roll around. This will likely be the deciding season.
4. Richard Gordon
Gordon came onto the team late and gave the Chiefs a solid blocking tight end. He has serviceable athletic ability. The four-year veteran's strong point though is his run blocking. Gordon has good strength and maintains blocks well. The Miami alumnus has two years of experience in the offense and is a solid veteran on the roster.
The tight end position doesn't necessarily need an upgrade in the offseason. The Chiefs could go into 2015 with this group and not be limited in their production ability. If an athletic veteran with dynamic playmaking ability and run blocking skills became available the Chiefs should look but it won't make or break their offseason.