It is the most mind-blowing stat from the 2014 NFL season.
In a league where teams throw the ball all over the field on a regular basis, the Kansas City Chiefs did not have a wide receiver catch a touchdown pass.
Sure, the Chiefs did not throw very much in 2014 (their 30.8 pass attempts per game was the fifth fewest in the league), but the fact that quarterback Alex Smith could not find a wide receiver in the end zone at all is a sign of a weak receiving corps.
To be fair, the Chiefs are not only a high volume running team, they also rely on the short passing game. Smith took very few shots downfield in 2014, and that just gives receivers less opportunity to make plays in the passing game. That being said, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe did have a team-high 95 targets last season.
Regardless how you look at it, the Chiefs were in need of upgrades across their receiving core entering the off season. They released Bowe who is now a member of the Cleveland Browns, but they replaced him with Jeremy Maclin.
While durability has been a bit of a concern throughout Maclin’s career, he gives the Chiefs a legitimate number-one receiver. The Chiefs certainly still have a need at receiver, but the upgrade from Bowe to Maclin drastically helps ease the need.Oct 26, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) tackles Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (18) during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
The addition of Maclin allows the Chiefs to fill another need in the first round if the value is greater. That being said, the need at receiver must be addressed at some point in the draft. Fortunately, this draft class is deep at the wide receiver position, giving the Chiefs many options throughout the draft.
Devin Funchess was once thought of as a first-round prospect, but now he is more likely to be a second-or-third round pick. He is a talented player who the Chiefs should consider in the middle rounds.
Maclin was a great addition for the Chiefs this off-season, but at 6’0″, 200 pounds, he does not have a lot of size. In fact, the Chiefs lack size throughout the wide receiver position.
Well, at 6’4″ and 232 pounds, Devin Funchess would certainly help them in that department.
Funchess is a big and athletic receiver with long arms that gives him an insane catching radius. He also has incredible leaping ability (backed-up by his 38.5” vertical leap at the combine), and great strength which makes him a match-up nightmare for cornerbacks on the outside.
He shows great balance and flexibility in the air, using his skills to bring down some seemingly impossible catches. Funchess will be a major red zone weapon in the NFL. Also, his huge catching radius should be welcomed by Smith, who struggles with accuracy at times.
While everything mentioned above is great, and makes Funchess a very intriguing NFL prospect, not everything is so exciting. He is a bit of a tweener prospect, who played both tight end and wide receiver in college.
If you draft Funchess as a tight end, do not expect much from him in the blocking department. However, it is fair to wonder whether he has the speed to play wide receiver at the next level, and his 4.70 40-yard dash time at the combine only further raised those questions.
Also, while Funchess has the raw ability to bring down seemingly any pass, he does struggle with drops. His hands are very inconsistent.
His lack of speed is never going to allow him to be a downfield threat, but Funchess is a big strong receiver that will battle for the ball. He has an opportunity to be a weapon in the short passing game, and especially in the red zone.
With Smith’s lack of arm strength, the Chiefs thrive on the short passing game. While he is not going to make many defenders miss, Funchess could be a dangerous short-to-intermediate receiver for the Chiefs – a potential reliable chain-mover if you will.
Taking a prospect like Funchess is certainly risky, and you have to be willing to take the good with the bad. That being said, he has the potential to be a match-up nightmare for NFL defenses to cover. With an obvious need at receiver, the Chiefs would be wise to consider a potentially dynamic play like Funchess on day two of the draft.
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