Kansas City Chiefs must look to draft for Sammy Watkins' replacement

Anthony Schwartz ran a 4.26 40 at Auburn's pro day. AP Photo/Butch Dill

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Wide receiver Anthony Schwartz of Auburn has one quality that makes him a good fit for the Kansas City Chiefs' offense. Schwartz, who ran a 4.26 40 at his school's recent pro day, is fast.

His 40 time would slot him in between Tyreek Hill, who ran a 4.24 40 in 2016 when he was coming out for the draft, and Mecole Hardman, whose 4.33 40 two years ago helped convince the Chiefs to draft him in the second round.

Whether it's Schwartz or another player, the Chiefs seem headed toward selecting a wide receiver in the upcoming draft, where their first pick comes at No. 31 overall. Sammy Watkins, their No. 2 wide receiver behind Hill the past three years, signed as a free agent with the Baltimore Ravens last week.

The wide receivers in free agency have mostly been picked through. The only potential game-changing player remaining is Antonio Brown, who brings other issues.

The Chiefs have Hardman, Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle returning from last season. Hardman would be first in line for Watkins' playing time but the Chiefs haven't shown through his first two seasons that they believe he's ready to be a regular.

Which is why Schwartz, who could be available to the Chiefs when they pick in the late second round, could be of interest.

Schwartz averaged 16.2 yards per catch on 22 receptions in 2018 but only 10.7 yards in 2019 and 11.8 last season.

"He can fly," said ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said. "He was hurt the last couple of years because they didn't have a quarterback. Bo Nix has struggled with some accuracy issues throwing the ball. His average per catch didn't equate with a speed merchant but when he was a freshman with Jarrett Stidham he put up really good numbers."

If the Chiefs go for a wide receiver in the first round, they could also choose a player such as Rashod Bateman of Minnesota, who has his pro day on Thursday.

The Chiefs are set with their top two pass-catchers in Hill and tight end Travis Kelce. They combined last season for 192 catches, 2,692 yards and 26 touchdowns.

Watkins had many injuries and wasn't a consistent producer in his three seasons for the Chiefs but he had some big games and moments. He had nine catches for 198 yards and three touchdowns in a 2019 game against Jacksonville.

Watkins had a 60-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter of the 2019 AFC Championship Game that clinched the Chiefs' victory over the Tennessee Titans. His 38-yard catch in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV that season set up the Chiefs' go-ahead touchdown.

The Chiefs are looking to replace that.

"Typically, like most years, there are numbers from top down in the receiver position in the draft," Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said.

"I think there's depth in that position to address [receiver] potentially in the draft."