Skyy Moore, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Any hopes of Moore immediately emerging as the Chiefs’ next dynamic playmaker were quickly dashed, as the second-round pick from Western Michigan played on just 27.24% of the offense’s snaps while fumbling away his chances to contribute as a punt returner. But after punctuating the uneven season with a 4-yard touchdown reception in Super Bowl 57, Moore looks positioned to find more success in his sophomore campaign. Both Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes lauded the 5-10, 195-pound receiver’s performance in OTAs and minicamp, and the slot role is open for him following JuJu Smith-Schuster’s departure. Given the lack of a true No. 1 target, Moore’s development could be a meaningful X-factor in the defending champions’ repeat bid.
Can the Chiefs Do It Again with a Different Look?
The Chiefs do remain the Super Bowl favorite, but the margin is razor thin with so many strong teams in the AFC, and their division in particular. Now, they’ve shaken things up significantly with Jawaan Taylor and Donovan Smith essentially replacing Orlando Brown and Andrew Wylie at the tackle positions, and JuJu Smith-Schuster now a member of the New England Patriots.
That could be a little hard on quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who is already tasked with having a massive post-Super Bowl target on his back.
You can never count Mahomes and Andy Reid out, but the Chiefs will need even more to go right in order to repeat in 2023. And keep in mind how hard it is to accomplish that in general these days. A team hasn’t won back-to-back Super Bowls since the Patriots did so in 2003 and 2004.
Kansas City Chiefs
There aren’t many bigger Chris Jones fans out there than myself, but let’s be honest. Kelce is arguably the best tight end in NFL history, and he’s inarguably coming off one of his best two or three seasons. He’s the team MVP’s MVP, and anything that makes Patrick Mahomes better also makes the Chiefs the most challenging offense to slow down.
As he approaches age 34, perhaps Kelce will cease to do the heavy lifting he once did. But no one is expecting him to suddenly become an afterthought in this offense. There’s a chance we could see Kadarius Toney evolve into a borderline WR1 this season, but Kelce remains Mahomes’ meal ticket more often than not.
Consider: In Kelce’s last nine playoff games, over the past three seasons, he has 81 catches (on 98 targets) for 916 yards and 10 TDs, along with a TD pass. In big moments, there are few better in the history of the NFL.
It does seem notable, though, that the rookies afforded the opportunity to start right away have generally out-performed those who had to wait a bit but still stepped into the lineup in the first half of their rookie season, who in turn out-performed those who had to wait until the second half of the year before their team gave them a shot. It’s also worth noting that while in general, the quarterbacks who waited until Year 2 or beyond to become the starter have out-performed their rookie-starter counterparts, the former sample has the benefit of including Brady, Mahomes, Rodgers, Brees, Rivers, and Romo. That sextet makes up 22.2% of the “had to wait at least a year” sample, which will skew things quite a bit. Conversely, Allen, Herbert, Prescott, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Burrow, and Russell Wilson (just to pick a few notable examples) comprise only 9.4% of the rookie-starter group. It’s not an exact one-to-one comparison.
Tier 1: The Big Three
2023: Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen
We can call them the “Elite of the Elite” or whatever you want, but these guys are simply on a different level as quarterbacks than anyone else right now. This is your top three draft picks if you’re starting a franchise. There’s a reason these guys comprised the top three spots on Pete Prisco’s Top 100 NFL Players list earlier this offseason. They are a cut above everyone else at the position right now.
Mahomes is clearly No. 1 and I wouldn’t even be opposed to giving him his own tier. But I think Burrow and Allen are close enough behind to warrant this designation. If your team has one of these three guys, you believe the Super Bowl is winnable even if things go wrong for your franchise.
Around the NFL
Stefon Diggs’ absence from the first day of mandatory minicamp last month caused a ruckus in Buffalo, a disturbance Bills star quarterback Josh Allen insists isn’t a big deal.
“I love him. That’s my guy,” Allen told the Bussin’ With the Boys podcast when asked about Diggs. “The media has blown this so far out of proportion. We are in rookie or minicamp. We’re not playing a game for four months. He doesn’t show up for one day. He’s still there. Coach asked him to go home. They’re in talks. They’re trying to resolve some things. It wasn’t anything major. And (the) media blew it up. They’re still talking about it. Let it go. There’s no reason to continue talking about it.”
It’s fair for Allen to be tired of answering questions about his teammate. And the Pro Bowl QB is correct: It’s July. None of this could matter in a month, let alone when games begin to count in September.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Skyy Moore: The second-year receiver might be the most intriguing player in St. Joseph this summer. Is he doomed by a rookie season where he didn’t seem to fully grasp the offense? Or is Moore a breakout candidate and (potentially) a high-volume target for Patrick Mahomes? It feels like there’s a wide range of possibilities for Moore this season, and training camp will be his opportunity to prove what path he’s on and what progress he’s made. The returns sounded positive during minicamp, as Andy Reid said, “Skyy was one of the higher-targeted receivers; he had close to the most catches. I think he’s taking a good jump. The quarterback trusts him.”
A tweet to make you think
The Broncos have more Super Bowls wins than wins against the Chiefs since 2015 https://t.co/y3Y01tMiax— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) June 27, 2023