When the Kansas City Chiefs selected wide receiver Dwayne Bowe with the 23rd overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft, it served as sort of a changing of the guard in their passing game, with former tight end Tony Gonzalez hinting at possibly wanting out of Kansas City to pursue a better opportunity for postseason success (he ended up being traded in the 2009 offseason to the Atlanta Falcons).
Since then, Bowe has become the Chiefs' main pass-catching threat, having caught 356 balls for 4,927 yards and 36 touchdowns in five seasons.
However, when the Chiefs drafted him, they hadn’t taken a wide receiver in the first round since Sylvester Morris in 2000. The fact that Morris is considered one of the biggest busts in franchise history and the Chiefs having always been considered a run-first team contributed to the shock that most fans felt when Bowe’s name was called on draft day.
To keep the defense honest, it is imperative to have competent wide receivers in this league. But to have seldom invested a first-round pick on a wide receiver and then to all of a sudden do so creates buzz around the team.
Fast forward to 2011, when the Chiefs again selected a wide receiver in the first round by drafting Jon Baldwin with the 26th overall pick.
At first notion, it appeared the Chiefs were trying to keep up with the Joneses as the NFL morphed into a pass-happy league. But with Bowe’s contract situation still not resolved and no indication it will be anytime soon, Baldwin could be groomed as his eventual stand-in as the main threat in the passing game, similar to how Bowe replaced Gonzalez.
Furthermore, the Chiefs went out last season and signed wide receiver Steve Breaston, while also adding tight end Kevin Boss to the fray this offseason. Scott Pioli and Co. also bolstered the passing offense at the draft this past weekend adding two more receiving threats in Devon Wylie in the fourth round and Junior Hemingway in the seventh round.
In a league that is starting to become increasingly dominated through the air, no team can ever have enough weapons for its quarterback. But with no long-term deal in sight for the Chiefs and Bowe, could they be preparing themselves for life without the Pro Bowl receiver?