Daily Focus: Which Chiefs receiver will start opposite Jeremy Maclin?
Editor’s note: Every day in “Daily Focus,” PFF analysts take the latest NFL news and translate what it really means for each team involved.
Which Chiefs receiver will start opposite Jeremy Maclin? The last time a Kansas City receiver not named Jeremy Maclin produced anything approaching a good year would be 2013 when Dwayne Bowe, more as a result of superior blocking than any particularly brilliant performance catching the ball, garnered a largely positive PFF grade. It took Maclin last year to remind Chiefs’ fans what a wide receiver in the NFL actually looks like, but now the question is, can they produce another?
Last season, Kansas City ranked only 24th in yards per route run (YPRR), but even that was only because of Maclin. As a group, they achieved 1.38 YPRR against an NFL average of 1.51, with Maclin’s excellent 2.16 tied for 13th among all NFL receivers. As for the rest:
The closest to the NFL average is De’Anthony Thomas, who is simply a tiny halfback who caught over 50 percent of his passes on bubble screens.
In recent OTAs, Chris Conley and Albert Wilson rotated in with the first team, but neither played well in 2015. Obviously Conley, with prototypical measurables as a third-round pick last year, is the guy they want to start over UDFA Wilson, but while that may well happen, there’s little to suggest he’ll be a success.
At the moment, it’s tough seeing this Kansas City offense being much more than a run-first team that feeds Maclin and tight end Travis Kelce the ball regularly, with the second receiver acting as a poorly disguised after-thought once again in 2016.
Likely landing spot for LT Eugene Monroe? When a team with as little depth on the offensive line as Seattle sends you away without a contract, where do you go from there?
That’s the case with Ravens cast-off left tackle Eugene Monroe who visited the Seahawks recently and left empty-handed. The result is not particularly surprising, given that the Seahawks also turned down guard Evan Mathis last year before he signed with Denver and played well en route to a Super Bowl ring.
So just how valuable is Monroe right now, and where would be a viable place for him to sign and help a team? What’s the market like for an above-average, yet inconsistent, left tackle who advocates for marijuana research? If Seattle isn’t an option, what franchise is?
I’m going to say that if a team like Los Angeles invests so much in a first-round quarterback (Jared Goff), they better do everything they can to protect him, and I’m not sure that includes giving 2014 second-overall selection Greg Robinson another chance to play left tackle.
He’s been terrible to date, and actually got worse last year, which is never a good sign. Signing Monroe to play LT and giving Robinson a chance to play guard may be just the break the Auburn star needs.
Other than this—barring injuries, obviously—the market doesn’t look great, so if the Rams can get a one-year deal done with Monroe, maybe everyone wins.
Rafael Bush or Tavon Wilson to start as Lions Strong Safety? In some cases, a player just has a bit-part role around the league, and then gets a chance to do more with another team. If it works well (say, like with Kurt Coleman in Carolina or Darian Stewart in Denver), people wonder where they came from and how everyone else missed out.
Rafael Bush and Tavon Wilson look like they will be given the opportunity to fall into that category if either can take the next step in Detroit.
Initially signed as a UDFA by Atlanta in 2010, Bush made his way through Denver and New Orleans before finally landing in Detroit with the opportunity to team with Glover Quin and replace the departed James Ighedibo as the Lions’ starting strong safety.
Overall, he’s graded positively against both the run and pass, though playing mostly further away from the ball than the Lions will require of him.
Maybe even a more interesting proposition is Tavon Wilson, who new GM Bob Quinn grabbed from his old team, the Patriots.
A 48th-overall selection (2012) out of Illinois, Wilson has only played 820 snaps in four years, but has graded remarkably well when given the chance. Such is the problem with playing behind the excellent Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung in New England.
Wilson has all the credentials to be the next Lions strong safety, but don’t write off Bush just yet. He’s hung around the league as a UDFA for a reason, and this is one of the highlights of all the training camp battles.