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Gauging Tyreek Hill’s chances at becoming the greatest wide receiver in Chiefs history

It’s probably not as preposterous an idea as you’d think.

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A little less than a week ago, I caught this tweet from a member of AP Nation:

“The Drewprint” (I like it) wrote, “Tyreek Hill has a chance to be the greatest WR in Chiefs history.”

With Hill just two seasons into his career, the idea upon first glance feels a bit preposterous. But digging a little deeper into the franchise’s historical numbers, I’m not sure it’s really that far-fetched.

The two potential candidates:

  • Otis Taylor (1965-1975): 410 receptions, 7,306 yards, 17.8 yards/rec. and 57 touchdowns
  • Dwayne Bowe (2007-2014): 532 receptions, 7,155 yards, 13.4 yards/rec. and 44 touchdowns

And honorable mention:

  • Henry Marshall (1976-1987): 416 receptions, 6,545 yards, 15.7 yards/rec. and 33 touchdowns
  • Carlos Carson (1980-1989): 352 receptions, 6,360 yards, 18.1 yards/rec. and 33 touchdowns
  • Stephone Paige (1983-1991): 377 receptions, 6,341 yards, 16.8 yards/rec. and 49 touchdowns

The first thing to do when gauging Hill’s chances is figuring out who currently holds the distinction.

It is a tough call between Taylor and Bowe, but I think you have to give the nod to Taylor given the era he played in, plus the fact that he accomplished something that’s rare for any member of the Chiefs at any position in any era.

Taylor was a member of the organization’s only Super Bowl-winning team in 1969. He also had the team’s only receiving touchdown in the game, a 46-yard score from Jan Stenerud.

So how does Hill oust Taylor?

Los Angeles Chargers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Let’s take a look at Hill’s current numbers as they stand through two seasons:

  • Tyreek Hill (2016-2017): 136 receptions, 1,776 yards, 13.1 yards/rec. and 13 touchdowns

Hill is currently 24 and trending up. He had 1,183 yards on 75 catches in 2017 (No. 7 in the NFL) after 593 on 61 his rookie season.

He also notched the 1,000-yard mark last year despite being No. 2 on the team in targets to Travis Kelce, who is currently 28.

Pro Football Focus tells us the prime age for a wide receiver in the NFL is 26-27, while tight ends tend to decline around the age of 31. What that means is Hill should be trending into his prime years just as Kelce begins to decline.

For argument’s sake, let’s say Hill re-signs with the Chiefs past 2020 (when he is due to become an unrestricted free agent) and opts to play until he’s 30, giving him seven more seasons to work with.

Yes, Sammy Watkins in the mix moving forward should eat some of Hill’s yards, but Hill would only need to average 800 yards over those next seven seasons (Watkins is only on a three-year deal, anyway) to get to Taylor’s career yard total, which seems reasonable.

And every year Hill plays past the age 30 mark, that total becomes more attainable.

As far as titles go, the Chiefs’ moves this offseason indicate they probably believe the window to win a championship is during the next three seasons, all the while Hill will still be under his rookie contract. A championship is plausible, and that would match Taylor’s Super Bowl ring.

Anything can happen, but Hill achieving the label, “greatest wide receiver in Chiefs history,” is possible for two very distinct reasons: 1) The WR bar for this franchise isn’t exactly set that high, and 2) Early signs have indicated Hill has the talent to do so.

Now tight end? That would be a very different story.

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