Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/17/14
It’s no secret that Chiefs coach Andy Reid loves to use tight ends. So when the Chiefs invested a third-round pick last year on Cincinnati tight end Travis Kelce, it stood to reason Reid would waste no time putting the 6-foot-5, 260-pound Kelce to work just like Brent Celek, L.J. Smith and Chad Lewis during Reid’s 14-year tenure in Philadelphia. Injuries, however, prevented the Chiefs from cashing in on that investment. Kelce caught two passes for 28 yards in the preseason before a bone bruise in his knee sidelined him for a significant portion of camp. He appeared briefly in one regular-season game but was put on injured reserve after a micro-fracture procedure. Without him, the Chiefs received a little less production from the position than Reid is used to. In his previous four years in Philadelphia, Reid’s tight ends combined to catch an average of 72 passes for 855 yards. The Chiefs’ tight ends this year, led by veteran Anthony Fasano and second-year pro Sean McGrath, caught 54 passes for only 537 yards. ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, who worked with Reid in Philadelphia as the Eagles’ director of pro personnel, said Fasano and McGrath were solid but unspectacular. Fasano, who missed seven games because of injuries, posted a Pro Football Focus grade of negative-2.3, which ranked 37th out of the 64 tight ends who played 25 percent or more of his team’s snaps, while McGrath ranked 30th. “They’re good, and let’s just say that they are, in the scouting terminology, adequate,” Riddick said. “They’re adequate as far as Fasano being a starter, adequate as far as McGrath being a No. 2 and really, a No. 3 type of guy.” In other words, the Chiefs could still use another playmaker, and NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock thinks Kelce, who caught 45 passes for 722 yards and eight touchdowns at Cincinnati and the 40-yard dash in 4.61 seconds at his pro day, might be the man for the job. “I think he’s really an important component next year,” Mayock said. “Fasano is solid, Sean McGrath had a sneaky good year. But in today’s NFL, to have a tight end that can challenge the safeties down the seam and push it vertically, it opens up a lot of other things in your offense, and I think Kelce’s that kind of guy.” He might have to be, said Riddick, who says the Chiefs have plenty of priorities at other positions and may not be able to devote the resources necessary to make a major upgrade at tight end.
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