The countdown to Chiefs camp begins now. Over the next two weeks, cover32 Chiefs will have in depth analysis at every position heading into training camp. Jake Schyvinck and Braden Holecek dive into every battle and roster spot up for grabs.
The tight end position drastically changed with the emergence of Travis Kelce. His success as a receiver and a blocker have greatly benefitted the Chiefs. But, it is time for a worthy backup tight end to emerge. Who will step up? Let’s take a look.
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Travis Kelce is a foregone conclusion here. His 1100 yards last season, plus his blocking ability, secure his spot as a top five tight end in the game. However, his spot isn’t the one to worry about. Once training camp begins, the focus in on finding the true backup in Kansas City.
One of the few in contention is third year tight end Demetrius Harris. He’s played 40 career regular season games for the Chiefs, and he started in a career high 11 games last season. Despite his playing time, he finished with only 17 catches all season.
There are also some off the field issues. After an arrest for pot in the spring, former GM John Dorsey preached patience. Camp will either secure him a spot, or make the Chiefs question Dorsey’s decision.
A more intriguing name for Kansas City is Gavin Escobar. Escobar played four seasons in Dallas before signing with the Chiefs in the offseason. Like Harris, Escobar didn’t receive many targets in his four seasons with the Cowboys. He comes in with a likely role of being a blocker for the Chiefs run heavy scheme. That veteran leadership and consistency certainly gives him a great chance to be the backup.
The other name to watch is Ross Travis. Travis also made the roster last season, and he played in six games. Like the others, he seems to mainly come in for blocking purposes. Travis has more competition this year, but being with the team last season surely helps his cause.
Two other hopefuls include veteran Orson Charles and rookie Emanuel Byrd. Charles has three seasons of playing experience, while Byrd has none. Both of these guys have an uphill battle facing them, as the Chiefs only took four tight ends last season.
Who do you believe wins the battle of run blockers? Let us know.
Jake Schyvinck is the Managing Editor of cover32 Chiefs. You can follow him on Twitter here.