The Kansas City Chiefs’ roster continuity from 2019 is most prevalent in the offense’s skill positions. All five of the team’s active wide receivers from last year are back. Three tight ends are returning from 2019 — and the backfield has two returning contributors behind rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
The one new receiver who could enter the fold looks to be tight end Ricky Seals-Jones. After three seasons spent with the Arizona Cardinals and Cleveland Browns, Seal-Jones is in his first Chiefs training camp, competing with tight ends Nick Keizer and Deon Yelder for a roster spot.
As the newcomer, he had to learn the hard way about the difference between a Chiefs practice and those of other NFL teams.
“We go fast,” Seals-Jones marveled. “When we first started off, it was a hard practice to me — and the guys were like, ‘Oh this is nothing.’ We probably ran 150 plays and they were like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s nothing.’
“The speed of how we play and how we go, it’s something that you can’t really tell someone, you just have to be here... I don’t think you can game plan for it As fast as we go and how many plays we do, it’s incredible how they do things here. I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Based on limited practice viewing, it appears that Keizer is the second in-line tight end for blocking roles — the same position that Blake Bell occupied last season.
While Yelder was sidelined for all of training camp’s padded practices, Seals-Jones filled in as the third tight end. During the livestream of practice last Saturday, he lined up flexed out in a receiver stance when on the field with the first-team offense.
If he makes the 53-man roster, his biggest contribution will be in the receiving game — so he’s working to get on the same page with his new quarterback.
“I love being here and working with Patrick Mahomes,” said Seals-Jones. “He’s a brilliant guy, and I feel like I’m a new guy because everyone else has been here that’s playing right now. It’s good; he brings me along. If I have questions, he answers them. He just goes with the flow.”
The 25-year old tight end still has plenty of room for improvement in his game. As a player who relies mostly on his receiving ability, there isn’t anyone better from whom he can learn than his teammate Travis Kelce.
He’s already taken notice of the little things that make Kelce great.
“His flow for the game — how he knows the whole playbook and how he can get other people open just by being out there,” explained Seals-Jones. “This offense is not just based on one player. Travis knows [that] if the route is coming to him or away from him, he can do things to open up that window for another player — or pick a guy.
“He’s a smooth player. You can never really get your full hands on him. I just try to look at my game and try to take some of his game from him and put it in mine. He’s a great player, a great teammate, a big leader; he helps us out any way he can. That’s all you can ask from him. He gives his 110% just like we are.”
As much as he marvels over the speed of the Chiefs offense, Seals-Jones does not pose much of a threat as a speedster himself. He is a former college wide receiver that turned to the tight end position because he lacked the required athleticism.
If Yelder is able to return from injury, there may not be room for Seals-Jones — who has not played many special teams snaps over the last two seasons. If he does make the initial active roster, it will tell you that the team puts a high value on his receiving ability.