What a season it was for the Kansas City Chiefs! The team fell short of the ultimate goal, but they had some memorable performances as a whole. When it comes to the receiver group, there were ups and downs. Let’s look back at the 2021 season and evaluate what we saw from the guys catching the passes from Patrick Mahomes.
It is safe to say that Tyreek Hill outperformed the rest of the wide receiver group by a mile. Tyreek Hill was the most targeted option this season. He also had the most catches of any pass catcher on the Chiefs’ offense. Hill posted a stat line of 111/1,239/9 this season. Not to mention, he had nearly 100 yards rushing on just nine carries.
The Cheetah was a beast after the catch, posting nearly a third of his total yards after the catch. While he did have seven drops this season, Mahomes posted a 103.7 passer rating when targeting Hill. When it comes to the numbers, there was not a more impactful pass catcher than Tyreek Hill this season, Travis Kelce included. The Cheetah proved again why he was a top-three receiver in the league.
Flash Gordon was a nice mid-season add for the Chiefs, or so we thought. It appeared he was not entirely up to speed when he was on the field the whole year. Throughout the entire season, Gordon was targeted just 14 times in the regular season. He was able to secure five of those targets for 32 yards and a single touchdown.
Not only was Gordon pretty much a non-factor, but he was also a burden in the passing game. He dropped two of his 14 targets, and Mahomes had a 28.6 passer rating when targeting Gordon. Even though I was rooting for him, it was a tough return to the NFL for Josh Gordon. The Chiefs released him and signed him to the practice squad for their playoff run to make room for other contributors. All-in-all, the Chiefs will have him for a full offseason, it remains to be seen if he will make the squad, but I will have my fingers crossed for him.
Hardman did not take the leap forward that most had hoped he would make this season. Unfortunately for Mecole, he will permanently be attached to the receivers taken after him in the 2019 draft, namely DK Metcalf. Hardman was not as bad as some would tell you, even with the high expectations. As the third most targeted option in the offense, he slashed out at 59/693/2TD on his 83 targets. He also added 46 yards and two more TDs on the ground.
Hardman may not end up being the guy the Chiefs drafted him to be, but he is a good weapon in Reid’s dynamic offense. No player can run the end around with the same efficiency as Hardman. His 502 YAC led the team and spoke to how dangerous he can be in the screen game. With one year left on his rookie deal, Hardman will look to improve those numbers next year. I see more growth in the 23-year-old’s future.
Talk about the most improved! Byron Pringle was fantastic as the 4th option in one of the league’s most dynamic and effective passing attacks. This season, Pringle was targeted 60 times by Patrick Mahomes, catching 42 of those passes for 568 yards and 5 TDs. Pringle was also the most efficient WR targeted, earning Mahomes a 127.6 passer rating when throwing the ball to #13.
In his first year as a regular in the Chiefs offense, he was able to add 408 yards and 4 TDs from his previous campaign. Byron Pringle showed true toughness when playing this year and was a key on several clutch plays. It is hard to argue the grade for Pringle when you look at what he was able to build on.
Demarcus Robinson was targeted 41 times this season and only caught 25 of those targets for 264 yards. These are significant drops from the totals he put together in 2019 and 2020. However, he was able to reel in three TDs this year, which is not far from average for Robinson. Robinson has more experience than most of the guys on this list but could not make a real difference in games this year.
Robinson’s best game was in the blowout of the Washington Football Team when he put up a season-high 46 yards on three catches and a TD. After being brought back on a one-year deal, it is hard to imagine the Chiefs will put forth the resources to bring him back again next season. After another year of below-average play, we have likely seen the last of Robinson in KC.
Not every receiver can be heavily targeted, especially when you are the 6th man on the depth chart. Marcus Kemp spent most of his time on special teams this season. When he was on the field, he was hardly noticed. Mahomes looked his way just five times the entire year. With the lack of production and opportunities, Kemp will be receiving an incomplete this year.
Overall Grade: B
The Chiefs receiver group came together to provide Mahomes with 2,820 yards and 20 TDs. Not to mention, Mahomes passer rating was 98.5 overall and 102.5 when targeting his WRs. Mahomes also saw increases in his completion percentage when targeting his wide receivers. Factoring in the grades for each receiver relative to their contributions, we settle on a B for the Chiefs receiver group.
There was a lot more the Chiefs receivers could have done this season, and missing on the OBJ sweepstakes was a big miss. When you have Tyreek Hill in the group, it helps!
How would you evaluate the Chiefs’ wide receivers this 2021-22 season? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion.
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