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NFL Draft

What Will Josh Gordon’s Role Be With Chiefs?

  • The Draft Network
  • September 29, 2021
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They often say life is a game of second chances. For oft-troubled wideout Josh Gordon, Kansas City could be his final proving ground to reel in a career that once was.

Still just 30 years old, Gordon’s recent career headlines have come off the field, as five suspensions have seen him miss the entirety of three seasons since 2015. However, with plenty of juice left in his 6-foot-3 frame, it’s hard to ignore his potential impact within a high-flying Chiefs offense littered with playmakers all over the gridiron.

A former All-Pro talent following the 2013 season in which he led all wideouts in receiving yards (1,646) with the Cleveland Browns, Gordon has failed to amass even half of his 2013 total in four future seasons, spending time with the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. While Kansas City and Andy Reid’s high-octane system represents the clear fit on paper, diving into his potential role really begins to pull the meat off the bone of Gordon’s potential impact for Patrick Mahomes. 

With Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs have their WR1. There’s no denying that nor will we entertain the fact Gordon could potentially overtake Hill in snaps and targets—it’s not happening. A blistering pass-catcher on the heels of an All-Pro campaign, Hill captains Kansas City’s arsenal of boundary weapons with a unique ability to take the rock to paydirt each and every time he touches the football, no matter where he is on the field. Alongside Hill is tight end Travis Kelce, the league’s top in-line talent in which offensive brain trust Eric Bieniemy uses all over the field to present unique matchups to opposing coordinators. Arguably the two most dominant players at their respective positions, Hill and Kelce will continue to occupy the eyes of defenses, allowing Gordon to potentially work into hefty production early in his Chiefs tenure. 

Behind the aforementioned star-studded duo is where the Chiefs’ drop-off in talent becomes ever-apparent and Gordon’s signing is justified. On the heels of an outstanding rookie season, Mecole Hardman built upon his first-year totals in 2020, accruing an increased amount of receptions, receiving yards, and total touches while progressing into one of the league’s top return specialists last fall. He’s totaled 11 catches in three weeks and is the Robin to Hill’s Batman when it comes to speed threats, but the lack of true pass-catching punch has remained vacant with the lack of pop shown from Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle. WR4/5 on the depth chart, Robinson and Pringle have combined for a subpar 11 receptions in three games and Gordon’s arrival could spell one of the two into street clothes on gameday moving forward.

The Chiefs are a simple offense. No, really. They attack you via distinct formations at times, sure, but what they do foundationally doesn’t rewrite the rule book. They run a majority of their concepts out of base 11-personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR), but where they have found their leg up is the intricate process that has been the acquisition and schematic customization of each individual skill set.

Gordon fits because of his natural ability, similar to Kelce, in high-pointing the football with sure hands. Add in the arm and playmaking ability of Mahomes, the intricate offensive game plan of Bieniemy, and Gordon, a gliding wideout with verticality and red-zone prowess, it presents the ultimate low-risk, high reward scenario for Reid’s unit.

Whether he progresses into a serviceable target or fails to grasp the offense and earns minimal snaps, the Chiefs have made Gordon an expendable asset with little to zero cap hit within his one-year, $210K deal.

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