AFC aspirants: While it’s hardly fair to handicap the conference as a two-horse race between the Chiefs and Ravens – the Bills, Titans and Browns are all likely to remain legitimate threats in 2021 with other teams surely ascend – it does seem like Kansas City has recovered quite nicely from its Super Bowl embarrassment and will be a prohibitive favorite to win a third straight Lamar Hunt Trophy. The Ravens have gone 35-13 in three regular seasons since drafting Brown but have been one of the most adaptable franchises in the NFL during their 25 seasons. Expect them to remain at the forefront among the Chiefs’ challengers less than two years after running roughshod over the AFC courtesy of a 14-2 regular season.
2. Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
This pair may not rank high on other lists because wideout Tyreek Hill has to share targets with arguably the best active pass-catching tight end in Travis Kelce.
Yet Hill makes the most out of his opportunities as a big-play threat and finisher. Since his rookie term, he hasn’t averaged less than 14.7 yards per reception. The three-time All-Pro earned the first accolade for his contributions on special teams, but the 5’10”, 185-pounder has eclipsed 1,182 receiving yards in three of five campaigns with double-digit touchdowns in two terms.
Through four seasons, Patrick Mahomes has become a must-watch player because of his ability to improvise and accurately drop passes in his receivers’ breadbaskets with a 66 percent completion rate. With that type of quarterback play, Hill can rack up chunk yardage on long receptions.
When Mahomes and Hill are on the same page, they’re difficult to stop even in playoff matchups against top-level competition.
In the Kansas City Chiefs’ last six postseason outings, Hill has hauled in 41 passes for 568 yards and two touchdowns. He averaged 118.3 receiving yards per game in the 2020 playoffs.
While Matt Ryan and Julio Jones have been potent in the regular season, Mahomes and Hill have come up huge on the biggest stages. As a result, the duo claimed the No. 2 spot.
While the 2021 NFL Draft’s top wide receiver has mainly been a conversation between LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase and Alabama’s DeVonta Smith, another Crimson Tide playmaker appears to be turning heads. Jaylen Waddle, according to ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler, is drawing comparisons from scouts to Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill and believes he will hear his name called in the top 10 of a first round that kicks off this coming Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.
“I’ve talked to multiple scouts in the process who said Waddle might be the best overall player in this draft, regardless of position,” Fowler said Sunday morning on ESPN’s SportsCenter. “He’s electric. He reminds them a little bit of Tyreek Hill, with his speed and big-play ability.
“So I talked to a source who said Waddle believes he’s going to go somewhere in the top 10. Not a slam dunk, but he believes it. So if a team wants to trade up for him, they might have to get there.”
Around the NFL
First-year Chargers coach Brandon Staley has spoken throughout the offseason about his desire to work with Herbert and help him develop in 2021 and beyond. The 23-year-old QB spoke candidly on Saturday about the facets of his game he’d like to refine.
“There’s a lot to improve on,” Herbert shared. “I think if I could master the offense, if I could go to the line of scrimmage and have a plan of exactly what we’re going to do. I think I can always work on footwork as well, stepping up in the pocket, getting the ball out quickly. There’s a lot of stuff to cover.”
The move extends Mayfield’s contract in Cleveland through 2022, when he’ll make $18.86 million.
The team also exercised the fifth-year option on cornerback Denzel Ward, the No. 4 overall pick three years ago.
“Both of those players have really done a nice job for us over the first three years,” general manager Andrew Berry said Friday. “We view both of those guys as young players who continue to ascend.”
The 10-year NFL veteran is now in the Guinness Book of World Records after successfully catching a pass dropped from a helicopter hovering 600 feet in the air, and he didn’t even need Tom Brady.
Gronkowski completed the feat at Arizona, his alma mater. He, along with former New England Patriots teammate Tedy Bruschi, was on hand to serve as an honorary coach for the Wildcats’ spring game on Saturday.
Rob Gronkowski and Tedy Bruschi are the honorary head coaches for the University of Arizona’s spring game. But before the game, Gronk set a world world record because...he’s Gronk. pic.twitter.com/RuSCZPUFQU— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 24, 2021
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
How he fits in Kansas City: Had Robinson progressed more during his time at Florida State, he likely wouldn’t make it out of Day 2. Still... his physical traits and football character may yet get him drafted on Friday. Robinson has a lot of qualities to like. He gives outstanding effort against both the run and the pass. Physically, he fits Steve Spagnuolo’s profile perfectly; he has an 87” wingspan — which he knows how to use well — and has the density and size to fit the Chiefs defense.
Robinson had outstanding test results at his pro day, but his first step on tape doesn’t quite match it. He comes to the draft with limited sack production and doesn’t always appear to process plays quickly. So there are questions to be answered — and those could make him fall all the way to Saturday.
Depending on whether they trade one of their second round picks to secure more selections, the Chiefs might have to move up to acquire Robinson on Day 3. He’s likely to go somewhere between Kansas City’s picks at 63 and 144 — the former probably too early and the latter likely too late. But if he falls to 144 — and they haven’t secured an EDGE — the Chiefs should sprint to the podium.
A tweet to make you think
Follow Arrowhead Pride on Social Media
Facebook Page: Click here to like our page
AP Instagram: Follow @ArrowheadPride
AP Twitter: Follow @ArrowheadPride
AP Editor-in-Chief: Pete Sweeney: Follow @pgsween
610 Sports Twitter: Follow @610SportsKC