In 2010, Kansas City drafted a 5’8″, 170-pound running back. In 2014, Kansas City draft a 5’10″, 176-pound running back. And in 2016, Kansas City drafted a 5’9″, 185-pound running back. I know, what are they thinking? Is this insanity? Or do they have a role they’re trying to fill and just haven’t found what they’re looking for? The answer to those questions may depend on your fandom, but for this exercise, let’s approach it with guarded optimism. After all, it is Week 9, so guarded optimism is probably the best one can hope for on the waiver wire.
Those 2010 and 2014 draft picks (Dexter McCluster and De’Anthony Thomas (DAT), respectively) were not bad players, but they weren’t good enough to be featured. The former’s usage steadily declined during his tenure in Kansas City. He was given every opportunity to succeed year two (206 of them to be exact), but his longest kick return was 35 yards, punt return was 22 yards, he only had one play over 40 yards, and in total, scored just 2 touchdowns. After not taking enough advantage in year two, his opportunities declined in years three and four before he was eventually replaced by DAT in 2014. DAT had his moments early on, but the biggest concern on him coming into the league was his ability to continue to produce despite the pounding he’d take. Given he was limited to 68 touches in year two, almost half of which were as a punt returner, it’s safe to say the Chiefs didn’t see enough to believe he could overcome that problem. He’s been dynamic, but not quite what they needed. Enter, Tyreek Hill.
It’s been anything but a smooth ride for the 22-year-old to this point. He was thrown out of Oklahoma State after the 2014 season, finishing his college career at West Alabama, and his lasting memory from NFL Draft weekend wouldn’t exactly be considered a fond one. You could say it’s been an uphill battle for him since that fateful night in December 2014, but he’s doing everything he can on the field to move on. Should we though?
While the Chiefs have spent years trying to find that dynamic threat to complement Jamaal Charles, they haven’t exactly needed it either. Without Charles this year, now they do, and Hill is stepping up to the plate. His contributions have gone mostly unnoticed due to the breakout of Spencer Ware, but with Ware possibly out this week (concussion) the stars are aligning for Hill. The Chiefs draw the lowly Jaguars at home while Hill is coming off a 4-game stretch in which he has hit pay dirt in 3 of them while netting 6+ targets twice. No one expects him to keep up his current touchdown rate, but 4 TDs in 25 touches is something that those before him were unable to come close to doing. Even if Ware is cleared to play this weekend, expect Hill’s to have a large role. If he doesn’t, then Charcandrick West may still be the better one week play. But if you’re not in position to get him, look up Hill who unlike West, may have value beyond this week.