It has been nearly two months since the Chiefs released pro bowl wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. Looking at recent history, the Chiefs have not been near the top in the wide receiver ranks without Maclin. Now, with Alex Smith possibly nearing the end of his career, this offense could look very youthful in a couple of years. There is a lot of clutter and very little experience surrounding this group of wide receivers. Two players are tied for the most experience on the team, both entering only their fourth NFL seasons. Experience is often described as a necessity for young athletes in sports, but is that really true?
Just look at the four major sports leagues and watch how quick players can find success. No better example than in the MLB this year. Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees, has already hit thirty home runs in just eighty-nine games. That is on pace to hit fifty-eight home runs as a rookie. That would be a rookie record, and Judge would be just the ninth player ever to hit at least fifty-eight bombs. Judge also won the Home Run Derby with forty-seven home runs in one night! Not bad for a twenty-five year old.
These are not all the receivers entering Chiefs training camp, but maybe the most likely guys to make the team.
NFL Mount Rushmore: Who are the greatest NFL head coaches of all-time
cover32 Exclusive: 2018 NFL Draft interview with Grambling State QB, DeVante Kincade
Tyreek Hill: After a dazzling rookie campaign, Hill is set to become the number one guy. Hill had the third most receptions of all rookie wide receivers in 2016. Hill was a key component for the Chiefs in winning games last year. When Hill scored a touchdown in the regular season last year, the Chiefs were 6-2. No surprise if Hill gets even more touches this season.
Chris Conley: Conley has been in a secondary role for his first three seasons. But, with Maclin now gone, Conley may get his biggest chance to shine yet. Conley is one of the better blockers of the group and has underrated speed. He has been highly touted by Andy Reid, as Conley has started many games the past two seasons.
Albert Wilson: Wilson has seen some success as a slot receiver in his career. Like Conley, Wilson can block very well. Wilson can be a leader, plus he can add late game possession catches that are needed in the NFL.
De’Anthony Thomas: Along with Albert Wilson, Thomas is one of the two receivers with the most experience on this team. Thomas’ most successful season was his rookie campaign in 2014, mostly as a return man. Injuries have cost him some time the last two seasons. Thomas can provide Andy Reid a skill set similar to Tyreek Hill when wanting to attack defenses.
Demarcus Robinson: Robinson will be entering his second NFL season out of the University of Florida. Robinson played very little receiver last season. This season could be different though, as Robinson has turned some heads in the Chiefs offseason workouts.
Jehu Chesson: Chesson was drafted this past April out of Michigan. Not as high of rated a receiver in the draft as others, but Chesson was reliable for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. Along with Chris Conley, Chesson has some of the better size among the receivers. It will be exciting to see how Chesson’s first training camp goes.
There is no place the Chiefs can go in the passing game, but up. With a somewhat different group than last year, Smith may finally be able to break through and have his best passing season yet. With so many unknowns all fans can do is wait and look for progress throughout training camp and the preseason.
Braden Holecek is a writer for cover32 Chiefs. You can follow him on Twitter here.