I came across this article from NFL.com on the league’s best free agent fits so far Friday morning.
This particular piece uses “Next Gen Stats” to evaluate the best moves from 2018. In case you’re wondering, NFL’s “Next Gen Stats” capture real-time location data, speed and acceleration for every player, every play on every inch of the field, according to the official website.
The Chiefs’ signing of wide receiver Sammy Watkins made the list, highlighting the fact that Watkins will be paired with Tyreek Hill.
“The Chiefs wide receivers unit struggled finding a number two option on the outside to pair with dynamic wide receiver Tyreek Hill, as no other receiver recorded more than 25 targets when lined out wide. With the addition of wide receiver Sammy Watkins, the Chiefs now possess potentially one of the league’s best wide receiver duos, as both Hill and Watkins ranked one and two in production from wide alignment with a rating of 125.4 and 122.2, respectively. Watkins also had a 7-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio when lined out wide.”
Last week, during a joint Andy Reid-Patrick Mahomes press conference, Reid said that much of the success with Alex Smith came as a result of Reid going back and looking at what worked for him as a college player at Utah.
“I went back and looked at all of his college stuff and tried to pull out things which he really hadn’t had at the NFL level,” Reid said. “I pulled out things that he was comfortable with and I talked to Alex about it. What he felt he was comfortable with and we molded that offense around him.”
Reid said he did the same last year for Mahomes in Week 17, and I assume that trend continues heading into this season. Texas Tech employs an Air Raid offense, a system designed out of the shotgun with four wide receivers and one running back. Perhaps this is why the Chiefs are still looking for more wide receivers.
Presumably, Reid and Mahomes could split Hill and Watkins out wide often, which in theory would open up the field. Alone, Watkins (wide alignment: 122.2) and Hill (wide alignment: 125.4) would be ridiculous to deal with.
But these “Next Gen Stats” do not even account for Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt, as well as Chris Conley, Spencer Ware and De’Anthony Thomas behind them.
Brett Veach is out here playing Madden’s franchise mode.