Last year, the Kansas City Chiefs attempted the third-most passes in the NFL out of two tight-end sets, so there’s little doubting head coach Andy Reid’s affinity for putting some bigger-bodies on the field together.
Now, we’ll see if that trend continues with second-year standout Patrick Mahomes taking over the starting quarterback duties for Alex Smith, who was traded to the Washington Redskins earlier this offseason.
The Chiefs are obviously led at tight end by All-Pro Travis Kelce, who has established himself as one of the best in the league after earning three-straight Pro Bowl nods. He has put up back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and is the veteran in the Chiefs’ tight ends room at just 28 years old.
Over the past two years, Kelce leads all NFL tight ends with 2,163 yards receiving, which ranks 10th-best overall.
He’s joined in there again this year by fourth-year player Demetrius Harris, who had the best season of career a year ago—finishing with 18 receptions for 224 yards and a touchdown.
The Chiefs brought in some competition at the position this offseason by adding former second-round pick Jace Amaro, as well as veteran Tim Wright, second-year player Alex Ellis, and signing former Arkansas State standout Blake Mack as a college free agent after the draft.
In college, Mack (6’2”, 235 pounds) spent a lot of time split out and wasn’t with his hand in the dirt in-line very often. He was named a first-team All-Sun Belt player last year, finishing with 48 receptions for 618 yards and seven touchdowns.
“It’s exciting,” Kelce previously said of what’s transpired over the offseason at the position. “Right now, you just look at the offensive side of the ball, we have talent everywhere. Even when I thought the tight end room couldn’t get any better, we picked up [Amaro] and [Wright], and right now it’s looking as athletic of a room as I’ve been in, which is awesome because Coach Reid loves to throw to his tight ends.
“It’s exciting to see where this offense can go.”
Wright hasn’t played since 2015 but has played in 41 games in his career with the Buccaneers (2013), Patriots (2014), and Lions (2015)—accumulating 89 receptions for 907 yards and 13 touchdowns over that time.
Amaro, who has played in 17 games in his career with the Jets (2014-15) and Titans (2016), has 38 receptions for 345 yards and two touchdowns since entering the league as the No. 49 overall pick by the Jets in 2014 out of Texas Tech.
The Chiefs have surrounded Mahomes with plenty of weapons this offseason—from veteran receiver Sammy Watkins to a stable of new running backs to add more depth and competition, but it’s the tight ends group that will definitely be one to watch throughout OTAs, minicamp, and into training camp.
It has been a big part of the Chiefs’ offense in the past under Reid and there’s no reason at this point to think that’ll change heading into 2018.