1 - Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · Age: 26
Do not let a sub-par 2021 campaign — by his incredibly high standards — overshadow the fear factor created by former regular season and Super Bowl MVP. Mahomes has the capacity to shred defenses with a variety of laser-like tosses from inside and outside of the pocket. The sixth-year pro has dazzled the football world with his ability to throw the ball down the field, but 2022 could give him a chance to showcase a more disciplined and patient approach. With Tyreek Hill now in Miami, Mahomes might play more small ball and pick apart opponents with a barrage of passes thrown at short and intermediate range. If he continues to refine his approach while maintaining the fearlessness and efficiency (66.1% completion rate, 105.8 passer rating, 151:37 TD-INT ratio) that has made him so hard to stop, the Chiefs’ QB1 could go down as the scariest quarterback in NFL history.
Old reliable: Travis Kelce
Travis Kelce, unsurprisingly, dominated the four-game stretch without Hill by totaling 25 receptions, 351 receiving yards and a touchdown. The tight end’s 351 yardage total on 14 yards per catch ranked as the fifth-most in the NFL from Weeks 2-5 of the 2019 season behind only Cooper Kupp (459), Chris Godwin (458), Michael Thomas (420) and Amari Cooper (406).
Rain or shine, Kelce is going to produce: 2021 was his sixth consecutive season with over 1,000 receiving yards. The next-longest streak of 1,000-yard seasons by a tight end is Greg Olsen with three. Some other notable players with exactly six straight seasons with 1,000 or more receiving yards in their careers include Hall of Famers Randy Moss and Calvin Johnson in addition to Julio Jones, Antonio Brown and Chad Johnson. Through his nine-season career, Kelce has no equal at his position when it comes to helping his team move the ball up and down the field with 1,097 more receiving yards than the next best tight end, Jason Witten, through the span of his career.
5 - Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs failed to bring back Melvin Ingram, leaving their edge-rushing group thin. As a result, a lot is riding on Frank Clark, who posted just 4.5 sacks last season, miraculously finding his form, and rookie first-rounder George Karlaftis being a home run out of the gate. Even if you believe Karlaftis is legit — I do — that’s a lot of pressure on a rookie. Kansas City ranked 29th in sacks last season with 31. The Chiefs need more help alongside Chris Jones to up that standing in 2022.
1. Skyy Moore, Chiefs
I raved about Moore during the pre-draft process — he finished with a mid first-round grade for me — and, of course, since he was drafted to play with Patrick Mahomes in a Tyreek Hill-less Chiefs offense, the raving about Moore continued. Sure, there’s Travis Kelce. He’s option No. 1. But who becomes option No. 2 for Mahomes is completely up for grabs right now. JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling have been productive in the NFL already and Mecole Hardman has an established rapport with Mahomes.
But Moore’s skill set is too dazzling for him not to take off in Kansas City’s creatively potent attack. He dusts press coverage at the line, runs violently sharp routes, tracks it like a power forward on the outside, and is a smaller version of Deebo Samuel when it comes to bouncing off tacklers. Moore will be an instant star.
Kansas City Chiefs: Who will emerge as the No. 1 wideout?
The Chiefs shocked the football world when they traded Tyreek Hill last season, but they were able to revamp the wide receiver room with JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and rookie Skyy Moore. They join Mecole Hardman to make a speedy a capable group, but it remains to be seen who Patrick Mahomes will turn to as his top wide receiver target.
Around the NFL
Speaking at the opening meeting, Osi was taking a second to clearly set the stakes.
“We’re here to give you an opportunity to change your life,” he said. “That’s what we’re here for.”
I took part in the camp, held June 21-22, as an instructor, helping the wide receivers, and I have to say, hearing those words from Osi gave me chills.
Osi, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the New York Giants, did a lot to bring this event about. He’s donated resources to his homeland of Nigeria for two decades, and one of his latest projects, The Uprise, ultimately helped birth the NFL Africa Camp, which took place at the Right to Dream Academy, roughly two hours north of Accra.
Many of the 49 participants, hailing from five countries (Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of the Congo), were selected after taking part in regional camps hosted by The Uprise, the Ezekiel Ansah Foundation and Cleveland Browns linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in recent months. This week’s event gave these young men the opportunity to be seen and potentially earn an invite to participate in the International Combine or the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program, or to attend the NFL Academy (which is for athletes ages 16 to 19) in London.
Under the new deal, Davis can earn an additional $18 million over the next three seasons, sources said, as the Saints beefed up the existing two years on his contract as well. Davis can earn $2 million in incentives in each of the next three seasons and has a $10 million salary and $2 million roster bonus during the 2024 league year.
Davis had his 2023 base salary reduced by $250,000, while the Saints added a 2023 workout bonus for the same amount and fully guaranteed $1 million of his $8.25 million base salary for that year, sources said.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
5. Nick Allegretti touchdown
Mahomes pass complete short right to Allegretti for 1 yard. Touchdown.
So I know I said that pancakes wouldn’t be included — but my goodness! This play is just amazing.
Against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, Allegretti — a reserve offensive lineman — comes in as an extra blocker in the goal-line package. He’s tasked with going one-on-one against defensive-player-of-the-year T.J. Watt.
Allegretti walks Watt into space before tossing him to the side and turning back to Mahomes like he’s a veteran tight end. Coming back across his body, Mahomes makes a great throw that hits the wide-open Allegretti.
The celebration alone is worthy of a top-play nomination. The entire team loses its mind — coupled with a big-man spike. Just overwhelmingly fun.
A tweet to make you think
The NFL just informed clubs there won’t be a supplemental draft in 2022, per source.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 24, 2022
Under the CBA, the league gets to choose whether to hold one for prospects whose eligibility changed. Not this year.