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Kansas City Chiefs June Scouting Report
John Cooney

Why is it there always some kind of drama or strife involving this team? On the field, off field, behind the scenes, in a parking lot, in print and over the airwaves … it just never stops.


The Tyreek Hill legal saga continues but may be coming to a conclusion, one that has a much more positive outcome than expected. Long-story-short, Hill has stuck to his explanation of the events in question throughout the drawn out drama and his defense appears to be holding up to the tests. Law enforcement has withdrawn charges and NFL investigators, interrogators and Commissioner Goodell seem satisfied with Hill’s consistent stance. The projected 8-game suspension now seems to be headed down to a 4-game sit-down. One might wonder if there should even be a suspension at all if Tyreek Hill is not guilty of anything and has suffered some reputation/character assassination to boot. I guess 4-games says "something" occurred but not as grievous as what was hastily portrayed. From where we stand as fans, fantasy coaches and interested outsiders, closure is soon to be had and Tyreek hill lives to play in Kansas City another day.


Now, about that new contract he wants worked on. Oh boy!


Criticism of Coach Reid and how he handles troubled people indirectly became part of the Hill issue thanks to the ill-advised comments of Kansas City radio host Kevin Kietzman. Kietzmanreferenced Coach Reid’s family matters of the past as well as past player events under the coach’s watch; quite unnecessary in making the point he attempted top make. As could be expected the radio guy is now off the air, present and past players have defended Coach Reid and football goes on.


This is why I mostly keep my focus of happening on the field; for me what happens off the field stays off the field and out of my concern.


Let’s play some football!


Even though Tyreek Hill’s charges appear to be dropped by law enforcement and the NFL’spunishment is probably going to shrink from 8 to 4 games, GM Brett Veachhad already workedto buffer the anticipated loss of Hill’s WR talents. Mr. Veachsecured (like him or not) speedy Hill-esque wideout Mecole Hardman out of Georgia in the 2nd round of this year’s draft to fill the potential void. Sammy Watkinsis taking charge of matters as well and making the full effort to make 2019 his special season. Watkins has teamed up with WR whisperer Keith Williams. Coach Williams just happened to work with Tyreek Hill last season, and we all know how that turned out on the field for Hill. Watkins has supreme WR1 chops but nagging injuries have stood in his path to greatness as a pro. Watkins has appeared in a full 16-game slate just once in his five NFL seasons, 2014 rookie year with Buffalo. Let’s recall that Watkins entered that 2014 draft as the top-ranked wideout in college, a class that included Odell Beckham, Mike Evans andBrandin Cooks,to name a few.


If Hill’s league levied reprimand is reduced to 4-games and Watkins discovers how to stay on the field through 16 games while taking his own play to a new level, QB Pat Mahomes just might close in on his scary-as-heck 2018 performance. There are still areas of concern in the backfield and a rather daunting QB-Strength-Of-Schedule, but Mahomes owns the goods and the dynamic receiving weaponry to negate a slew of stout air defenses.


Speaking of the backfield, Carlos Hyde, known as a tough ground-pounding RB, has been hard at work catching footballs and improving his skills as a receiver. Now, before anyone starts jumping on the Hyde yards-from-scrimmage (YFS) wagon, he’s never going to be one to smoothly transition into a pass-catching RB. I think this is more of a player sitting on the edge of his roster viability and putting it out there that he can do more than projected. Hyde completely disappeared once he became a Jaguar last season despite the Leonard Fournette injury and attitude woes.


The RB most likely to succeed out of the Chiefs’ backfield in 2019 is Damien Williams. The guy was buried in Miami under 2 coaching staffs, Joe Philbin for 2 seasons and 2 of Adam Gase’s 3 years as Dolphins boss. Williams never topped 3.9 YPC as a Dolphin but rocked out 5.1 in his 50 carries in KC last season. KC coach-speak so far has Damien Williams committed as the starting and go-to RB entering 2019 and honestly, it comes well-earned. Prior to week 12 last season Williams had 3 carries for 1 yard rushing, 3 receptions for 18 yards, a nary a TD in any method. From week 12-on, D-Will averaged 51 yards rushing a game at 5.4 YPC, 32 receiving yards a contest and the versatile RB hit for 6-points 6 times (4 rushing, 2 receiving). For fantasy football fun that’s 83 YFS average per game and over a 16-game slate that kind of production rate would create 1328 YFS (816 rushing, 512 by air) and 19 total TDs.


Yes, scheme makes a great deal of difference, but so does opportunity, talent and coaching. I think it’s safe to say Coach Reid is a far better playbook designer than Adam Gase. As of this writing Williams is carrying an ADP in the mid-3rd round, which is about right for the overall perception of the player but a value for fanballers having faith in the new Chiefs’ feature RB.


TE Travis Kelce, in case we’ve lost track, has not been doing much this off-season or in mini-camps due to an on-going ankle issue. He says he’ll be ready for training camp. We need that guy!!!


Training camp is heading back to Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri for a tenth season. Camp begins July 27 and closes August 15. The first pre-season tilt happens August 10 against the Bengals. After that it’s at the Steelers August 17, back home versus the 49ers and then a Coach Reid Packers’ reunion August 29.


Players I am very interested in watching this pre-season and in camp are WRs Byron Pringle, Jamal Custis and Cody Thompson.Mecole Hardman will be getting a boatload of attention and we can’t help but notice what he’ll be doing.


I’ll jump in on the defense next issue of Eye in the Sky Report. The eye for now, all eyes as a matter of fact, are on the Tyreek Hill outcome. Much of 2019’s success and failure for the Chiefs hinges on how many games Hill loses to suspension.


Until next month, keep your Eye in the Sky over Kansas City.



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