The Chiefs’ Receiver Depth Presents a Good, Yet Difficult Problem

With roster cuts looming, the Chiefs' decision about who will fill out their depth chart at wide receiver will be much easier said than done.
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Death, taxes and the Kansas City Chiefs having plenty of talent in the wide receiver room.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't to say that the Chiefs are loaded and have clear-cut No. 3, No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 options. That's actually the issue: No one is separating themselves from the pack enough to form a seamless depth chart order. That presents a good problem for the team, as having depth is great, but it also makes it difficult to distinguish between which receivers should be given playing time over others.

This "lots of solid, but not much good" conundrum has been the case throughout the offseason. Behind Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman, it's likely that Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle — in some order — will be the team's third and fourth receivers. Outside of them, who makes sense to survive final roster cuts in a week? Mark Van Sickle of Arrowhead Report joined me on today's Roughing the Kicker podcast to discuss this further.

Mainly, the trio of Cornell Powell, Marcus Kemp and Daurice Fountain will be competing for spots on the Week 1 roster. Powell, a fifth-round pick from this year's draft, hasn't quite lived up to the hype in the preseason. Kemp has made a couple of decent plays and has terrific special teams value and experience. Fountain, signed as a free agent, is having success through two preseason games.

Keeping Powell makes sense, naturally, due to the team's investment in him. He's also under team control for four years by way of his rookie contract. His (fifth-year) senior season at Clemson allowed him to display the ability to gain separation, run quality routes and make plays on the ball. Powell may not be ready to make a huge impact as a rookie, but his ceiling is probably the highest of the three. He's worth keeping around.

The choice, in my eyes, comes down to Kemp versus Fountain. While special teams coach Dave Toub's appreciation for Kemp makes him a candidate to stick, it's hard to ignore what Fountain has done. In two preseason games, the former Indianapolis Colts receiver has seven receptions for 92 years. He simply looks the part of an NFL wideout, albeit on a rotational basis at best. 

Having a reliable special teams presence is important. Stashing Kemp on the practice squad, or losing him altogether, would require someone else to step up in his absence. Could that be Powell or Fountain? That remains to be seen. But if the Chiefs want to have a deep receiving corps that contains a mix of youth, talent and potential, going with the Powell-Fountain combination is the best bet. We'll know what they have in store within the next 10 days. 

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