Jared Wiley Is Ahead of Travis Kelce’s Rookie Self in One Key Area

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Kelce shared thoughts on how his first-year teammate has an advantage over where he was back in 2013.
Mar 1, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Texas Christian tight end Jared Wiley (TE16) works out during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 1, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Texas Christian tight end Jared Wiley (TE16) works out during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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There may be several weeks left until training camp, but the Kansas City Chiefs' rookie class is hard at work adjusting to life as NFL players. Tight end Jared Wiley, a member of the 2024 crop, has the benefit of learning from one of the greatest to ever do it.

As it turns out, Wiley might have an advantage compared to where Travis Kelce felt he was over a decade ago.

With Kansas City back in town for mandatory minicamp this week, Kelce was one of three players who spoke with the media on Tuesday. When asked about Wiley, the future Hall of Fame pass-catcher said the rookie is ahead of the game. Kelce compared the fourth-round pick's advanced understanding of the offense to his own back in 2013, saying it's not a particularly close race.

"J-Wiley, man!" Kelce said. "I'll tell you what, man, he's got a lot of upside. He's got a lot of upside. Very comfortable, smart guy. I would say he's a lot further along than I was as a rookie in terms of just understanding the offense and really seeing the field. He's trusting what he's seeing right now and I'll tell you what, 15 (Patrick Mahomes) [and] 11 (Carson Wentz), the quarterbacks, are on time with it. It's fun to watch him kind of take off and get more comfortable out there."

As a former quarterback, it's no surprise that Wiley is picking things up quickly. The Texas and TCU product was a five-year college player and learned a new system prior to every season. Adopting new concepts and verbiage in different environments is nothing new to him. As a result, Kelce believes the rookie isn't having too much trouble in his first professional offseason.

Early last month, Wiley expressed confidence in his transition to the Chiefs' offense.

“As far as the coaches, just get in here and learn the offense as fast as possible and be a key contributor on the team however that looks, whether it’s special teams, offense, whatever they ask me to do, I’ll do it," Wiley said. "My expectations of myself are basically that, I want to come in here, I want to get comfortable, I want to learn the brand and style of football they play here in Kansas City. I want to be able to do that to the best of my ability.”

In a tight end room that already features Kelce and Noah Gray at the top, Wiley likely won't be forced into action much immediately. The offseason pickup of Irv Smith Jr. adds another cook to the proverbial kitchen, further taking pressure off the 2024 draftee. This hierarchy allows Wiley to potentially factor into heavier offensive sets (12 and 13 personnel) without the need to step up in year No. 1.

Because of a knee injury suffered during the preseason, Kelce didn't do anything on offense in his first year. He, too, was a quarterback at one point and is now known for his ability to read defenses with ease and react with precision. If there's any truth to his musings about Wiley, the Chiefs will be more than satisfied with their Day 3 draft investment.

It may turn out to be nothing, but Kelce is fond of his rookie teammate.

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Jordan Foote


Jordan Foote is the deputy editor of Arrowhead Report on SI.com, covering the Kansas City Chiefs. He also hosts the One Royal Way podcast on Kansas City Sports Network. Jordan is a Baker University alumnus, earning his degree in Mass Media. Follow him on X @footenoted.