clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Arrowheadlines: Donovan Smith could be the Chiefs’ X-Factor in 2023

Chiefs headlines for Wednesday, June 28

NFL: OCT 02 Chiefs at Buccaneers Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The latest

Every NFL Team’s Biggest X-Factor Entering 2023 Season | The 33rd Team

Kansas City Chiefs

LT Donovan Smith

And what Reid realizes is that the difference in value between your left and right tackle is essentially null. That’s why Reid for years had one of the game’s highest-paid right tackles in Mitchell Schwartz, and it’s why he’s willing to spend for the AFC’s highest-paid right tackle in Taylor. The proliferation of shotgun formations has diminished the “blind” side effect. And most defenses align their best edge rusher opposite the right tackle. This season Taylor is slated to face Hutchinson (Lions), Clark (Broncos), Joey Bosa (Chargers) twice, Jaelan Phillips (Dolphins), Haason Reddick (Eagles), Maxx Crosby (Raiders) twice, Von Miller (Bills) and Matthew Judon (Patriots).

No matter which tackle you think is better, it’s hard to criticize the Chiefs for selecting Taylor over Brown. They had their reasons. And yes, Mahomes, with his seemingly-frenetic-but-actually-lethal movement tendencies, can hide some pass protection woes. That said: you still don’t want to expose the league MVP to hits.

Donovan Smith was available to sign because the team that knew him best (Tampa Bay) no longer wanted him. And presumably neither did 30 other teams given that Smith’s deal wasn’t signed until May and, minus incentives, is worth just $3 million.

Ranking NFL’s top 10 tight ends of 2023: Travis Kelce stands above the rest, George Kittle most well-rounded | CBS Sports

1. Travis Kelce

Travis Kelce is one of the biggest receiving threats in all of the NFL, let alone just the tight end position. With the Chiefs moving on from Tyreek Hill before the 2022 season, Kelce was asked to take on an even greater workload in Kansas City’s passing attack, notching a career-high 152 targets. He took on those added looks from Patrick Mahomes and turned them into career highs in receptions and receiving touchdowns while ranking eighth among all pass catchers in receiving yards. Kelce was also a force throughout the Chiefs’ run to a Super Bowl LVII title, which included an 81-yard, one-touchdown performance in Kansas City’s win over the Eagles, where he caught all six of his targets.

While Kelce is best known for his prowess as a receiver, he wasn’t too shabby as a blocker in 2022 either, ranking 15th among tight ends, according to Pro Football Focus.

Kelce is simply on a different tier from the rest of his fellow tight ends at the moment.

Top 25 NFL players 25 and under for 2023: Vikings’ Justin Jefferson among nine WRs, Cowboys with two in top 10 | CBS Sports

11. Creed Humphrey

Position: C | Team: Chiefs | Age: 24

Kansas City needs little more than Patrick Mahomes to contend for annual titles. Or at least it feels that way. But Humphrey has been rock-solid as the QB of Mahomes’ line since arriving as a second-rounder. Not only has he yet to miss an NFL start, but he’s rarely penalized and grades out as one of the game’s best run-blockers up the middle.

The best HC-QB combo is...

Surprise offseason standouts for 32 NFL teams: Players to watch | ESPN

Kansas City Chiefs

RB Deneric Prince

Prince, a rookie undrafted free agent, took advantage of a thin running back depth chart and stood out as a receiver during offseason practice, making several difficult catches. With Isiah Pacheco recovering from offseason surgery, Prince has a chance to claim not only a roster spot but some playing time if he shows an aptitude for pass protection at training camp. — Adam Teicher

Chiefs fans flock to MO Capitol to see Lombardi Trophy | The Kansas City Star

The two brothers from Eldon traveled to Jefferson City with their grandma Deborah Sash. They were among a sea of red, gold and white that poured into the Missouri Capitol on Tuesday to catch a glimpse of the Super Bowl trophy after the Chiefs victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in February.

“I was a loyal Chiefs fan,” Sash told The Star. “I went through all the highs and lows and the almost-theres. This is really exciting.”

Chiefs fans, one by one, walked up and took pictures with the trophy, which was covered in a clear case in the state Capitol rotunda. Staffers from Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s office ushered the fans in front of a mini Arrowhead Stadium backdrop.

Even a few state employees got in the mix and waited for pictures with the trophy.

The Chiefs organization held the trophy viewing in Jefferson City as part of its Champions Tour across Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska. Another viewing will be held at the Capitol on Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Around the NFL

Former Arkansas, NFL QB Ryan Mallett dies in apparent drowning | ESPN

Former Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett, who went on to have a seven-year career in the NFL, died Tuesday in an apparent drowning at a Florida beach, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office. He was 35.

The sheriff’s office said first responders were called to a beach in Destin, Florida, around 2:12 p.m. local time, as a group of people swimming in the Gulf of Mexico near a sandbar struggled to make their way back to shore. One of the individuals, later identified as Mallett, was not breathing when he was pulled out of the water and was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“It is with great sadness that we share the loss of Coach Ryan Mallett,” White Hall, the Arkansas school district where Mallett coached high school football, wrote in a post on its website. “Coach Mallett was a beloved coach and educator. We ask that you remember his family, team, students, fellow coaches, and the White Hall School District staff in your prayers.”

Eric Bieniemy ‘fired up’ ahead of first season as Commanders OC: ‘It’s given me a whole new outlook’ |

There are benefits to what most might see as a lateral move. Bieniemy leaves the explosive Chiefs for the Commanders, but also steps out of the shadow of Andy Reid, free to stake his claim to anything positive his offense produces.

“I’m fired up and excited,” Bieniemy said, via John Keim of ESPN. “It’s given me a whole new outlook.”

Bieniemy has plenty of reason to be excited, and he’s acting accordingly, stressing intensity and attention to detail. His new players have taken notice rather quickly, especially second-year receiver Jahan Dotson, who could help Washington out a whole lot if he develops into a legitimate threat opposite Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel.

“He was like, ‘You have so much potential, and I’m going to make sure I get it out of you,’” Dotson said. “That’s what you want in someone. That’s kind of how my dad was at a very young age; he saw the potential in me and made sure I worked to get to where I want to be in life. You’ve got to cherish people like that in your life, so I’m super thankful to have him as a coordinator.”

Leonard Fournette says he’s OK after SUV catches fire | ESPN

Free agent running back Leonard Fournette escaped injury after his car caught fire — while he was driving it.

Fournette posted a video to his Instagram account Tuesday showing his charred luxury SUV on the side of a highway. It’s unclear where he was or what caused the car to combust.

“Man it was one of those days today, but I would like thank God, my car caught on fire while I was driving, But I’am still blessed,” Fournette posted.

DIRECTV announces renewal, expansion of carriage agreement with NFL Media |

Also, DIRECTV will now for the first time carry NFL RedZone across all platforms. Both NFL Network and NFL RedZone will be available on all platforms in the coming weeks.

NFL Network will be available to Choice subscribers on DIRECTV (via satellite and on an authenticated streaming basis) and DIRECTV STREAM, and to U200 subscribers on U-Verse. This agreement marks the first time that DIRECTV and DIRECTV STREAM customers will have access to NFL RedZone.

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Chiefs Roster: How Nick Bolton’s play impacted Super Bowl LVII win

Early impact

Bolton had a tremendous 2022 season, but — as was detailed in part two of this series — he struggled in pass coverage at times. It isn’t the end-all-be-all of evaluating linebacker play, but deep in coverage is not where Bolton was the most comfortable, and most teams were aware of it.

Early in the Divisional Round, the Jacksonville Jaguars looked to challenge him.

Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence quickly concludes his initial read isn’t open, and he uses a pump fake to extend the play. As he scrambles, he finds Jamal Agnew speeding across the middle. Initially, it looks like Agnew has found the opening, but at the last second Bolton comes flying in to break up the pass.

A tweet to make you think

Follow Arrowhead Pride on Social Media

NEW: Join Arrowhead Pride Premier

If you love Arrowhead Pride, you won’t want to miss Pete Sweeney in your inbox each week as he delivers deep analysis and insights on the Chiefs' path to the Super Bowl.