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Key Chiefs position group to make biggest impact in 2022 NFL season

For the first time ever, the Kansas City Chiefs will not have Tyreek Hill on their lineup, and that puts a lot of pressure on their receiving corps moving forward.

The wide receiver demanded a trade in order to get his long-awaited payday, which the Miami Dolphins provided in the form of a four-year, $120 million deal with $72.2 million in guaranteed money. The move makes Hill the highest-paid at his position annually. In many ways, it is just a matter of time for that to happen, but it’s still stunning to see Hill leave his first NFL home.

One major question is how will star QB Patrick Mahomes fare without one of his prized passing targets? Mahomes himself should not have any problems performing. Keep in mind that he currently has the most passing yards (18,991) and the greatest passer rating (105.8) since 1950. Only Hall of Famer Dan Marino (156) has more throwing touchdowns over a player’s first 63 starts than Mahomes’ 151 during that same timespan.

Chiefs fans ought to continue counting on their team’s offense to run from the capable right arm of Mahomes, and it’ll be interesting to see who may be in line to fill Hill’s void and take his place as the team’s top receiver this coming season.

There is no doubt that for Mahomes, the Chiefs fans, coach Andy Reid, and the rest of the team, not seeing Hill line up with them is going to be different.

But the thing is being different doesn’t necessarily mean being bad. Sometimes, it just means taking a distinct path toward the same destination.

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Chiefs Key Position Group For 2022 NFL Season

Wide Receivers

The Chiefs were second overall in receiving yards and in receiving first downs (267). They were at the very top when it came to receiving percentage (59.6%).

The projected top wide receivers for the Chiefs are (in no particular order): JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Skyy Moore, Mecole Hardman, and maybe Justin Watson. That’s four veterans and one wide-eyed rookie receiver.

Keep in mind, however, that being a wide receiver under Andy Reid may create another layer of challenges. That’s true, especially for rookies like Skyy Moore. Producing as a rookie is already difficult, and it may get even more difficult in the coming days.

Seasoned veterans Marques Valdes-Scantling and JuJu Smith-Schuster may feel like the odd men out, but either of them really has a good chance of leading the Chiefs in receiving yards this year.

The 25-year-old is projected to have 110 targets, 80 receptions, 850 rec. yards, and eight touchdowns this coming season. He connected many times with Ben Roethlisberger over in Pittsburgh. It should be a certainty then that he will connect strongly anew with the coaching staff and his teammates.

One guy who’s a little tougher to project is Marques Valdes-Scantling. The 27-year-old loves skying high for highlight-worthy catches. The question now without Hill, however, is whether Valdes-Scantling has another gear in him.

Another kid who can help this wide receiver corps is Mecole Hardman. The 24-year-old may not start in most if not all games. Still, he should be eager to prove himself every time he’s on the floor.

Juju will likely have the highest number of receptions for the Chiefs this coming season, but No. 2 on the list will likely be up for grabs among Marques Valdes-Scantling, Skyy Moore, Mecole Hardman, and maybe even Justin Watson.

And then there’s also Travis Kelce. The tight end has become arguably the best at his position over the past few years. His ability to connect with Mahomes is so reminiscent of the Tom Brady-Rob Grownkoski days.

If the Chiefs are to contend for the Super Bowl anew, they will need Mahomes’s solid throwing arm and wide receivers.