In a sort of "Part Deux" to a series I did last year with potential breakout stars for the Chiefs, I've decided I would like to engage in democracy once again in determining who will be the Chiefs' breakout star. Many names have come up, many ones that make sense, many that could be controversial, but only time will tell who truly becomes this year's biggest hit. Let's analyze some of them:
Chiefs Wide Receivers (Toney, Moore, Ross, Rice)
I couldn't narrow it down to just one of these guys, seeing that all of them have gotten some high praise from Chiefs Kingdom, so I just included them all. Let's start with Kadarius Toney, who yes, while is injured, has been said to be the Chiefs' "WR1" this season. While he only had 16 receptions for 171 yards and 2 touchdowns last year in the regular season, Toney joined about halfway through the year on November 6th against the Titans. He would have decent games against Jacksonville and Denver during the regular season but would go on to play an important role in the Super Bowl run on both special teams and offense., finishing with 7 receptions for 50 yards and 1 touchdown as well as a great kick return to set the Chiefs up to take the lead late in Super Bowl 57. Overall, he's got a lot of hype surrounding him this year, and if all goes well he should be ready by the season opener to show what he can truly do in a dynamic offense such as the Chiefs. Let's get into the other guy that saw ample action last season Skyy Moore. Moore finished with 250 receiving yards on 22 catches with 0 touchdowns. 0 touchdowns is certainly an eyesore, but he ended up being a part of one of the most crucial plays in Super Bowl 57, scoring a wide-open touchdown near the endzone. We saw him gradually improve over the season as well in both offense and special teams, becoming a better punt returner and gadget receiver. Expect much of the same only better this year.
The other two receivers I wanted to talk about, Justyn Ross and rookie Rashee Rice, haven't seen the field for the Chiefs as of yet. Shoot, there's no guarantees Ross even makes the roster, but from what we have seen from training camp so far, the hype behind these two is justified. Rice excelled at SMU as their WR1, racking up over 3000 yards receiving, 25 touchdowns on 233 receptions over his career. A speedy, dynamic receiver that for his size, can go up and get it, you have to think the Chiefs saw shades of Tyreek Hill in him. Ross was a marquee receiver that could have gone in the first-round if not for injury problems, which will be his main concern. If he can stay healthy, the guy can prove he can ball out, and I think deserves a chance.
Furious George, as he is lovingly called, had an above average rookie season. He recorded 18 solo tackles, 2 fumble recoveries, and 6 sacks while assisting on 15 tackles through the regular season. He also recorded 4 tackles and 1 sack during the postseason. Karlaftis has been training extensively with Chiefs and NFL great Tamba Hali throughout the offseason, which will help his game improve immensely. It comes at an opportune time as well, as Frank Clark has moved onto the Broncos and he will be thrust into a much larger role. By all accounts, Karlaftis could be in for a big sophomore season if he stays healthy and plays with the same intensity we saw last year. Some experts have predicted his sack total to be as high as 14 this year, putting big, but meetable expectations on the young EDGE rusher.
Isiah Pacheco is seen by Chiefs fans as the next great Chiefs running back. By the NFL? Criminally underrated and poised to potentially put a stamp on his name to be one of the best in the league. He will share carries with veteran staple Jerrick McKinnon and potentially undrafted free agent Deneric Prince given his camp performance so far, but Pacheco will be the bell cow back for the Chiefs. He proved he can fill that role nicely, running at an intensity very, very few running backs have ran with in years' past. Pacheco racked up 170 carries for 830 yards and 5 touchdowns on an average 4.9 yards per carry, numbers that can and will improve based on how he rose in 2022-23 becoming more of a force with each game. By the postseason, Pacheco made his name known, scoring in the Super Bowl and racking up big time yardage in both the divisional game against Jacksonville and the Super Bowl. We can expect growth from the back this year as well, and he could very well become the first Chiefs 1000-yard rusher since Jamaal Charles.
However, what do you think? Any Chiefs players that you think are going to make a name for themselves this year? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or on social media!
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