Kansas City Chiefs Position Analysis: Wide Receiver
As the position analysis of the Kansas City Chiefs rolls on, we now take a look at the team's wide receivers.
Kansas City's first-round pick in 2007, Bowe led all rookie receivers in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. In addition to rewriting the Chiefs' record book for first-year wideouts, his five TDs tied Tony Gonzalez for the team lead and Bowe entered the final game of the season needing just 18 yards to register a 1,000-yard season. Inexplicably, though, he would finish five yards short as the team never made an effort to get him the ball.
As long as Bowe can avoid injury and continue to improve, all signs point to him being a bona fide superstar at the WR position. Kansas City's passing game could be built around him for the next decade.
The Chiefs' most consistent wide receiver over the past five seasons, Kennison was injured on the team's first snap of 2007 and never seemed to recover. He played in just eight games and racked up a measly 101 receiving yards with no touchdowns.
When Dick Vermeil was at the helm and the Chiefs' offense was rolling along, Kennison posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2004 and 2005 and was one of the league's most underrated receivers. But at 34 years of age and coming off his disappointing 2007 campaign, speculation is running rampant that Kennison may have played his last game as a Chief.
A fourth-round pick in 2004, Parker's career in Kansas City has been largely disappointing. After his rookie season, the team parted ways with veteran Johnnie Morton and inserted Parker as the starter alongside Kennison. But he never emerged as a threat like the team surely hoped he would. And although he appeared to improve in 2007, a reputation for dropping passes has haunted him throughout his brief career.
Parker can test the free-agent waters this offseason and, unless the team has no other options, it would be surprising if the Chiefs tried to get him to return.
Kansas City's sixth-round pick in 2006, Webb's career hasn't been terribly impressive so far. But buried on the depth chart behind Bowe, Kennison, and Parker, he hasn't had much of an opportunity to make an impact.
He saw an increase in his action in 2007 thanks to Kennison's injury and actually started the final two games of the season, registering his first TD catch in the process. He finished the year with more yards and receptions than Parker, and, if the season began today, Webb could very well be the Chiefs' number-two receiver.
Perhaps more than anything, that fact illustrates the lack of depth the Chiefs have at the position.
The fan favorite who rose to prominence on HBO's "Hard Knocks" series for his glue-like hands, Sippio didn't catch a single pass for the Chiefs in 2007. The former Arena League star played mainly on special teams and did see some time at wide receiver, but never had a pass thrown his way.
When analyzing his lack of action, one has to wonder how much talent factored into the equation, and how much of it was simply based on his lack of familiarity with the Chiefs' playbook. Sippio didn't join the Chiefs until a week or two into training camp, which surely put him far behind the other receivers.
Kansas City GM Carl Peterson remarked last summer that he wished the club could have added Sippio earlier in the offseason. And if nothing else, being the cousin and roommate of Dwayne Bowe may allow him a chance to prove himself again this year. With Chan Gailey installing a new offense, Sippio will be able to start off on the same foot as everyone else this time.
The Chiefs signed the former Pro Bowl kick returner during training camp last year, but Drummond's season was highly disappointing. He was only signed to a one-year deal and will surely be allowed to seek his fortunes elsewhere.
Of the six receivers profiled here, only three may actually be with the Chiefs in 2008. And of those three, one is a sixth-round pick who hasn't seen much action and one has never actually caught an NFL pass. Clearly, the receiver position is one Kansas City needs to address in free agency or the draft, if not both.
Despite the rumors swirling about Kennison's possible future elsewhere, when the team's lack of depth at the position and Kennison's veteran leadership are considered, keeping him on the roster as a third or fourth option might not be the worst decision in the world. He may have seen his last days as a starter in the league, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have value as a mentor and an emergency receiving option.
But with the Chiefs making a push toward youth, it seems unlikely that the team would keep a 34-year-old if it meant having to part ways with a younger receiver. Still, the Chiefs do need warm bodies at the position. If they don't find a quality WR to play alongside Bowe, Webb, and Sippio, perhaps they shouldn't be hasty in any decisions about Kennison.
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