Chiefs 53-Man Preview: A Case For Josh Gordon

August 19, 2022

Does Josh Gordon belong on the Chiefs roster in the 2022 season? He’s had an up and down training camp so far, but is there a case for him to make the team?

I don’t know how many people would’ve believed the Chiefs’ wide receiver room had a shot at being better after the trading of Tyreek Hill this offseason but as we sit here in the middle of August that may just be the case. It’s undoubtedly deeper than 2021’s group anyways. It’s become so deep that fringe roster players such as Josh Gordon might just see themselves on the outs come roster cut time.

Making an argument in opposition of Josh Gordon making the team seems a bit less challenging to convey so instead let us take a look at some reasons why the veteran wide receiver will see himself making the final 53-man roster.

Josh Gordon’s Measurables Make Him Intriguing For The Chiefs

This first one is very straightforward, but one thing Josh Gordon has on the other Chiefs receivers is purely his size.

Gordon, while technically not the tallest wide receiver on the team, stands at six-foot-three and 225 pounds. He is built to win in the red zone. Although Gordon isn’t what he used to be and won’t be seen playing the majority of snaps in a game, he could be a large-bodied target for Mahomes down close to the goal line when the field shrinks and players have less available space for separation. With his large stature, Gordon has the physical attributes to go up and fight for the fifty-fifty balls, a trait his peers in the wide receiver room simply don’t have.

The Chiefs could certainly use some help inside the 20 after ranking 11th best in the NFL last season in red zone touchdown efficiency. That is not exactly stellar for a team with Super Bowl aspirations. Plugging a player like Gordon in when down by the goal line could greatly help boost those numbers in 2022 by giving Mahomes an escape outlet when the coverage gets tight.

Other Options For Sixth Wide Receiver Spot On Chiefs Roster

The Chiefs often look to keep six receivers on the team, and with Skyy Moore, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Mecole Hardman and training camp standout Justin Watson likely taking the top five spots, that leaves one open spot left on the roster for the taking.

Presumably, Gordon is battling with Daurice Fountain, Corey Coleman, and Cornell Powell for the title of wide receiver six, and at an initial glance Josh Gordon likely has an edge on the other three mentioned. All four have been relatively quiet through camp thus far and that could bode well for Gordon’s chances if none continue to pop throughout the rest of the preseason. Gordon certainly has the resume over the rest of his competition and the prior success in the NFL to back him up.

Although Gordon has slowed considerably since his prime, having a player with proven success in this league could be a massive asset should the Chiefs find themselves afflicted with injuries at some point in the season. One could argue even at age 31 Gordon still has both the highest floor and ceiling over Fountain, Coleman, and Powell.

One caveat that could hinder Gordon’s chances here however is the fact that Corey Coleman has often been fielding punt and kickoff returns through the last few weeks of practice, and if there’s anything that can ruin making the team for Gordon, its special teams. Gordon gives absolutely no value in that regard and a player like Coleman with the ability to field kicks could be the deciding factor when it comes to roster trimming time.

Chiefs Value A Veteran Presence That Gordon Provides

Outside of Gordon (31), the oldest receiver currently on the Chiefs is offseason acquisition Marquez Valdes-Scantling who is 27 years old. Gordon has seen it all in his ten-year career, playing for the lowly Cleveland Browns, winning the Super Bowl, being suspended and named an All-Pro just to name a few things. With all of that experience under his belt, even if Gordon weren’t to have an impact on the field, he could certainly help mentor and guide the younger receivers on the team that haven’t quite faced such adversity yet in their careers.

Another key factor for Gordon is the fact he is a young 31 years old. Although a ten-year vet, Gordon has missed almost three full seasons due to suspensions and doesn’t have the wear and tear most players his age at the position would normally carry. He has also managed to avoid any significant injuries throughout his career which could further push his age into being a factor.

If the Chiefs choose to keep Gordon on the roster this year I believe we will see a much more effective and useful wide receiver than the one we saw last year. Keep in mind Josh Gordon hadn’t played football in over a year, missing the entirety of the 2020 season due to suspension, and had some rust that needed to be knocked off.

Another year back playing football and an additional offseason being able to acclimate to Andy Reid’s offense can prove to only help boost Gordon’s chances of making the final 53 in the coming weeks.

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