KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs have nine rookies on their regular season roster, four on offense and five on defense. Here, I’ll look at what the reasonable expectations might be for the offensive rookies. I’ll look at the defensive rookies in a later post.
C Mitch Morse, second round, Missouri: Morse will start at center and needs to be sharp immediately. Sunday’s opponent is Houston, which features one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL. Morse covered a lot of ground from the start of training camp until the end, but he’s a rookie so inevitably he’ll be seeing some things he’s never faced before. It’s vital to the Chiefs that he adjusts quickly. It’s a good sign that once the Chiefs moved Morse into the starting lineup at camp, they never wavered.
WR Chris Conley, third round, Georgia: Other than Jeremy Maclin, Conley has more ability than any of the Chiefs’ other wide receivers. He’s a bright player who was a quick study with regard to his assignments in the offensive system, so Conley should be able to contribute immediately. Unless Albert Wilson, the other starting receiver in addition to Maclin, plays better than he did during training camp, it’s a disappointment if Conley doesn’t take at least some of his playing time. It’s also a disappointment if he isn’t productive while getting those snaps.
TE James O’Shaughnessy, fifth round, Illinois State: He will be the second tight end in the lineup after Travis Kelce. He should play a considerable amount given how the Chiefs like their multi-tight end formations. In the passing game, O’Shaughnessy won’t often be the featured options but he will be a reliable receiver. He’s only 245 pounds, which is light for a tight end, so his blocking might take some time to develop.
TE Brian Parker, claimed off waivers from San Diego, Albany: With Parker being a recent addition, he’s going to be limited early in the season in how much he can handle. How quickly he learns the offense, plus how ready Demetrius Harris is to play early in the season, will determine how much he gets in the game. But he should be able to help on special teams immediately.