As mentioned in my previous article, the Kansas City Chiefs have plenty of opportunity available for their receivers. We know that Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins, and Mecole Hardman should see plenty of volume this season. However, considering that Tyreek Hill may not play this season,1 there could be additional opportunity available for the several auxiliary wide receivers on the Chiefs’ depth chart.
I expect that Demarcus Robinson steps up and earns a significant chunk of the vacated opportunity. For this post, I’ll be taking a deeper dive to find some sleepers on the Chiefs’ roster. Note that I’m limiting my search for players who received an invite to the NFL Combine. Receiving a combine invitation helps increase the probability that the player will find success in the NFL.
Without further ado, let’s jump into several wide receiver prospects who hopefully make the Chiefs 53-man roster this season.
HEIGHT: 6’1″ | WEIGHT: 205 POUNDS | DRAFT AGE: 23.1
Cody Thompson is one of Jordan Hoover’s and Shawn Siegele’s favorite wide receiver sleeper prospects for this year. Given Thompson’s intriguing collegiate production profile coupled with his athletic testing numbers, I can see why. Thompson finished his collegiate career at Toledo with 181 catches, 3,312 yards, and 30 touchdowns (a school-record). The bulk of Thompson’s production came in his junior year when he posted a career-best 64-1,269-11 line. Although Thompson’s 0.27 Dominator Rating may have fallen slightly short of the 0.30 threshold we use at RotoViz, it’s still a tremendous accomplishment. Unfortunately, Thompson broke his fibula in 2017 and he was forced to return to Toledo for another season.
Although Thompson’s metrics ticked down in 2018, he was invited to the NFL Combine where he performed reasonably well.
Although Thompson’s forty-yard dash is slightly slower than the 50th percentile athletes, he impressed with a 38.5-inch vertical jump and 10.9 agility score. Considering that Thompson stands at 6 feet 1 and 205 pounds, his agility and explosion numbers indicate he could be a versatile threat in the NFL. Interestingly, Thompson’s closest physical comparable players include Mohamed Sanu, Torrey Smith, and Davante Adams.
The RotoViz Box Score Scout gives little hope for Thompson’s NFL prospects.
The list is cluttered with former RotoViz favorite sleeper WR prospects including Jakeem Grant, DeAngelo Yancey, and J’Mon Moore. Hopefully, the early reports from Chiefs practice is an indication that Thompson will make the 53-man roster and will be a quality contributor this season.
Felton Davis III
HEIGHT: 6’3″ | WEIGHT: 211 POUNDS | DRAFT AGE: 22.2
Felton Davis is an intriguing prospect who flew under the draft radar. I assume Davis’ deflated draft stock is the result of a lack of early production coupled with tearing his Achilles on October 20, 2018, against Michigan. Unfortunately, Davis wasn’t able to participate in any of the speed/explosion drills at the NFL Combine so his athletic profile is currently unknown.
A look at Davis’ collegiate production profile indicates that he didn’t see much run as a freshman or a sophomore, but broke out in a big way in 2017. Although his 55-776-9 receiving line looks underwhelming, he posted a breakout season with a 0.37 Dominator Rating. Davis accounted for a significant chunk of the Spartans’ receiving and touchdown production in 2017.
Considering that Davis is entering the NFL at a later age, there’s plenty of reasons to be wary about his future fantasy prospects. However, RotoViz Box Score Scout gives us reasons for optimism regarding Davis’ NFL potential.
DaeSean Hamilton and Amara Darboh are both trendy sleepers for their respective teams and should provide usable fantasy weeks provided everything breaks just right. There are several riskier names on the list as well, which underscores the risk associated with Davis. Chris Godwin is ostensibly the best possible outcome and one that is likely not within Davis’ range of outcomes.
HEIGHT: 6’1″ | WEIGHT: 203 POUNDS | DRAFT AGE: 24.3
Following the 2018 NFL Combine, Byron Pringle signed with the Chiefs as a UDFA. Pringle’s career was delayed as the result of behavioral issues, but he appears to have put his checkered past behind him. Before playing for Kansas State, Pringle spent one season at Butler Community College where he posted a 28-432-9 receiving line.
Although Pringle’s raw receiving stats aren’t particularly gaudy, he broke out as a sophomore. He accounted for a signficant chunk of Kansas State’s receiving production, and declared for the NFL early. Despite his advanced age, early NFL declares typically fair well so there’s reason for optimism that Pringle pans out.
Pringle boasted one of the best Freak Scores of last years class, so it’s not surprising that he’s a tremendous asset on special teams. Pringle returned 39 kickoffs for 1,076 yards and 2 touchdowns and 13 punts for 118 yards. Special teams production is a plus for NFL prospects, so let’s hope that Pringle sees opportunity as the Chiefs’ return man. Pringle’s Freak Score was in line with those of Deon Cain, Courtland Sutton, and Robert Foster.
Unfortunately, Pringle missed the entire 2018 season with several injuries. That didn’t stop Andy Reid from singing his praises recently. Considering some of the comps thrown out by the RotoViz Box Score Scout, I can see why Reid is high on Pringle as an NFL prospect.
Although most of the players listed above didn’t go on to have productive NFL careers, Robby Anderson is an intriguing name that underscores Pringle’s upside. Other names with weaker similarity scores include Rishard Matthews, Albert Wilson, Marquess Wilson, and Allen Hurns. Pringle’s upside might be worth taking a risk on when waivers open.
Image Credit: Scott Grau/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Cody Thompson.
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- or at the very least face a lengthy suspension (back)