Travis Kelce to Chiefs: How Does Tight End Fit with Kansas City?

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystApril 26, 2013

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 27:  Travis Kelce #18 of the Cincinnati Bearcats reacts after scoring the game winning touchdown against the Duke Blue Devils during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 27, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Since the departure of tight end Tony Gonzalez in 2009, the Kansas City Chiefs have gone through a number of players in an effort to find his heir.

After a strong rookie year, it appeared that Tony Moeaki might have been that player, but Moeaki tore his ACL the following preseason, hasn't really been the same since, and will be a free agent after this season.

Free-agent acquisition Anthony Fasano is a blocker, so the tight end spot was something of a need entering the 2013 NFL draft.

That need has now been filled.

With the first pick of the third round, the Chiefs selected Cincinnati tight end Travis Kelce, who had 45 catches for 722 yards and eight touchdowns in 2012.

Were it not for off-the-field issues that caused Kelce to be suspended for the entire 2010 season, it's possible that Kelce would have been the first tight end off the board this year.

The 6'5", 255-pounder is the total package as a tight end, a player whom calls a "very physical run blocker" and compares to Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots in their scouting report on Kelce.

Kelce is just as adept in pass protection and as a receiver. As Bleacher Report's Sigmund Bloom writes in his scouting report on Kelce: "Long arms and good athleticism give Kelce a big target, and his hands are soft enough to tip balls to himself. The sample size is small, but Kelce appears to have reliable hands."

That small sample size, and Kelce's off-the-field issues, are the only things that stopped me from grading this pick as a flat "A" in my Chiefs draft tracker here at Bleacher Report.

With that said, assuming that Kelce keeps his head on straight and continues to develop as a player, this pick is an excellent value for Kansas City, and one that almost makes up for their lack of a second-round pick.

There's also no reason not to think that Kelce won't be an immediate starter for the Chiefs. His skill set essentially combines the best of Tony Moeaki and Anthony Fasano into one player, and Kelce should afford Alex Smith an excellent intermediate target in Andy Reid's West Coast offense.

I stated in the first of my articles about the Chiefs and the NFL draft here at Bleacher Report that the Chiefs were a much better football team than their record last year indicated, and that a successful draft could lead to a quick turnaround in Kansas City.

So far, so good.