Kansas City still rosters speed threats, in Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Mecole Hardman. But no one can match what Tyreek Hill provided. It will be fascinating what Andy Reid’s 10th Chiefs offense looks like. JuJu Smith-Schuster complements MVS’ deep capabilities, but he has not disproven his Antonio Brown-assisted 2018 Pro Bowl year was a mirage. But the ex-Steeler, still 25, could be lethal in the slot with Patrick Mahomes. Second-rounder Skyy Moore appears a slot in training, and Hardman’s contributions are a bonus at this point. Some interesting ingredients reside here, though Hill’s exit clouds the situation.
Kansas City Chiefs
WRs: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Skyy Moore, Josh Gordon
Make no mistake, tight end Travis Kelce is the Chiefs’ top receiver. But who’ll make up the production lost from Tyreek Hill’s departure? Hardman can certainly be a field-stretcher and has familiarity with the Chiefs’ offense, elite speed and home-run ability. He has yet to surpass 700 receiving yards in a season, though. Valdes-Scantling, who averaged a league-leading 17.1 air yards per target in 2021 (per Next Gen Stats), is a bigger downfield target for Patrick Mahomes. Hardman and MVS will have to find consistency to help the Chiefs avoid a drop-off in the deep passing game. JuJu and Moore will thrive in Andy Reid’s system as slot receivers with big play ability. That said, JuJu has the potential to emerge as the No. 1 receiver behind Kelce because we’ve seen his track record when playing second fiddle to one of the league’s best. With plenty of talent around Mahomes, the Chiefs’ pass-happy attack should find a way to get it done. It just might not look like the unit we witnessed during their sensational stretch of success over the past four seasons.
Chiefs: Edge rusher
Some media members were high on George Karlaftis during the pre-draft process. Others were not. I fall into the first category as having been a believer in the Purdue edge rusher’s potential. At the very least, he should offer more help in run defense. The issue is that he has not produced as a professional and Frank Clark has been woefully disappointing since joining the team in 2020. The ex-Seahawk has seen his sack totals dip each of his three years in Kansas City.
21. Kansas City Chiefs (via NE)
Trent McDuffie, CB
How he has fared so far: McDuffie has been working with the starters since his first practice, and he’s likely to remain there for the regular-season opener against the Cardinals and beyond. At 5-foot-11, McDuffie isn’t as big as the Chiefs prefer their corners, but they believe he has the skills to cover for it.
“He’s smart and he’s smooth,’’ coach Andy Reid said. “I like the part about being smart when you play that position. Leverages become important ... We have some big receivers that we go against.’’ — Adam Teicher
Around the NFL
A House Oversight Committee spokesperson told ESPN in a statement, “If Mr. Snyder was truly committed to cooperating with the Committee’s investigation, he would have accepted the Committee’s invitation to testify about the Commanders’ toxic workplace culture. As the Chairwoman’s letter made clear, the Committee has been more than accommodating-even allowing Mr. Snyder to testify remotely from France. His refusal to testify sends an unmistakable signal that Mr. Snyder has something to hide and is afraid of coming clean to the American public and addressing major worker protection concerns facing the NFL. The Committee will not be deterred in its investigation to uncover the truth of workplace misconduct at the Washington Commanders.”
In July 2021, the NFL fined the Commanders $10 million after its investigation into the franchise’s workplace culture under Snyder’s ownership. Congress began its investigation shortly after, in October, and is also investigating allegations by a former employee who said she was sexually harassed by Snyder in 2019.
Washington fired multiple employees after allegations of sexual harassment were uncovered by The Washington Post in the summer of 2020. Others who also were charged with sexual harassment had already left the organization or resigned that summer.
During an interview on the I AM ATHLETE podcast, Claypool laid out his expectations entering Year 3.
“I’m going to say, my second year, I was a better player than I was my first year,” Claypool said, via Pro Football Talk. ”The plays just didn’t work out, right? Some of the plays just didn’t go my way. I didn’t make some plays I need to make. But as a football player, understanding the game, knowing what to do, knowing where to be, I was better. So I’m going to be better this year.
“And just like you said, understanding I’m not normal — I feel that way when I’m on the field. I know for a fact I am not like the rest of the guys in the NFL. I know I’m a top-five receiver. I know I’m a top-three receiver.”
Chubb was famously picked to pair with Von Miller in Denver in 2018, and early in his career looked like the Broncos’ next tremendous outside pass rusher who’d assume top-dog responsibilities from Miller in the long run, as evidenced by his 12 sacks as a rookie.
The former No. 5 overall pick has 8.5 sacks since then, and injuries have severely hindered his development. Now he gets veteran Randy Gregory rushing opposite him on defense, which will draw game-plan attention away from him. But the Broncos picked ultra-productive rusher Nik Bonitto in Round 2 in April to add depth to the vital position but maybe also as a way to push Chubb to return to his rookie-year form. If Chubb turns in a double-digit sack season in 2022, it’d be hard for the Broncos to let him walk. If he can’t rekindle the magic from 2018 now at 100% health, Chubb will likely be on another team next season.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Marquez Valdes-Scantling: Our very own Pete Sweeney may have started this talk, but now it’s sweeping both professional pundits and social media. During the offseason, Valdes-Scantling put in the work with quarterback Patrick Mahomes in Texas — and it’s paying early dividends. Everyone is starting to see that the timing and chemistry between them is already at an advanced level. While the fifth-year wideout was only considered to be a deep threat during his time with the Green Bay Packers, there were hints in his film that he could be more than that in Kansas City. And oh, yes... he is really fast, too.
A tweet to make you think
It's that time of the week: what's your most unpopular #Chiefs take of the moment?— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) June 20, 2022