WR Hemingway no longer an afterthought

The Chiefs drafted wide receiver Jon Baldwin in the first round two years ago because he had a big body they thought would be difficult for opposing defenses to cover. They were wrong, of course, and acknowledged the error a couple of weeks ago when the Chiefs traded him to San Francisco.

But a seventh-round draft pick last season who spent his rookie year as an afterthought might be filing the void. Junior Hemingway isn’t as big as Baldwin, but at 225 pounds looked during the preseason as if he can do many of the things the Chiefs drafted Baldwin to do.

Hemingway led the Chiefs in the preseason with 11 catches and two touchdowns, both coming in the final seconds of the first half in different games. He did a lot of his work from the slot, where the Chiefs seem to think Hemingway is best suited.

“He’s got good hands and he knows how to use that big body,’’ coach Andy Reid said. “He’s 225 pounds and he knows how to use it. It’s just a matter of him getting reps and inside, he’s tough to stop. He’s a force in there with his big body.”

Hemingway looks to be the strongest candidate to emerge this season as a productive player from the group of players behind starters Dwayne Bowe and Donnie Avery and slot receiver Dexter McCluster.

That group also includes A.J. Jenkins, who came from the 49ers in the Baldwin trade, and Chad Hall, a waiver claim who played for Reid with the Eagles.