The Kansas City Chiefs’ large receiving room is shaping up to be slightly different in the 2021 season.
With Sammy Watkins playing in free agency, rookies coming in and a new coaching position taking over, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said he’s still confident in the squad that they were going to deploy.
“I like the guys we have,” said Reid. “It might be by committee, but we have a good core of wide receivers out there, and I feel comfortable with these guys.”
Patrick Mahomes’ primary target will return, as All-Pro wide receiver Tyreek Hill returns for his sixth season with the Chiefs. Hill has just completed his fifth straight Pro Bowl season, where he notched a career-high 15 touchdowns.
Hill will be a veteran leader for the receiver room, as the most accomplished and experienced of the bunch. So, Hill said he was ready to take on more of a leadership role if needed.
“For me personally, it’s the same mindset every year: come and help this team in any way you can,” said Hill. “Whether it’s making games, whether it’s mentoring, whatever it is, I’m just there for the team. “
The biggest difference from this year’s receiving group is the absence of Sammy Watkins. Watkins spent three seasons in Kansas City, consolidating the role of No. 2 receiver behind Hill.
While Watkins signed with the Baltimore Ravens in free agency, the Chiefs are now without a clearly defined No. 2 receiver. Despite this, Hill is confident the group will be able to pick up the slack.
“It will definitely be tough, but I really feel like as the season goes on the guys will start to fill that void that Sammy was filling,” said Hill. “Mecole (Hardman) played, D-Rob (Demarcus Robinson) played Super Bowl, (Byron) Pringle, so I feel like it’s gonna be okay.”
One potential candidate to fill that void is rookie Cornell Powell. A fifth-round pick by Clemson, Powell was on two National Championship teams as a backup. He was fortunate enough to start his senior season in a red shirt in 2020, and he impressed, finishing tied for most touchdowns and second most receptions and receiving yards for the champion. from ACC Tigers.
Another fifth-round pick, Hill said he sees similarities between the two.
“He’s definitely part of a tough group that likes to compete, that likes to challenge each other,” said Hill. “He looks sharp so far. Good tough receiver, big hands, silky in his runs, so he’s looking good so far.
Another change is coming on the coaching staff. With former receivers coach Greg Lewis moving to running backs coach for the Chiefs, former passing game analyst Joe Bleymaier takes over as new receivers coach.
Since Lewis was a former player, Hill says it was a bit different with Bleymaier, who was not a player.
“It’s really cool to have the other side of football like that so I’m learning a lot from Joe,” Hill said. “He’s a great coach. I think he will be great during the season. He gets along with everyone in our room.
After a Super Bowl loss, Hill said he was hungrier than ever and wanted to do whatever it took to win.
“I just have to keep in mind that I can dominate all season,” Hill said. “As a group, I feel like we’re awesome. Our bond is excellent on the pitch, our bond is excellent off the pitch. “
Training camp begins in Saint-Joseph on July 28.