The Kansas City Chiefs wrapped up their rookie mini camp this week, and one player seems to be standing out. That player, of course, is 3rd round draft pick and former Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley.
Name to keep an eye on through OTA's/Training Camp/Preseason…#Chiefs WR Chris Conley.
— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) May 18, 2015
That Tweet is from ESPN NFL Insider Louis Riddick. Praise is pouring in from media analysts nationally, and locally.
Chris Conley to me was the best player at camp from an athletic and consistency perspective.
— Nick Jacobs (@Jacobs71) May 18, 2015
Anytime you have a big-time rookie performer at a mini camp, the crazy predictions and outlandish expectations are not far behind. As the camp came to a close, Danny Parkins of 610 Sports afternoon radio program, The Drive, asked what I find to be an interesting question.
700 receiving yards and/or 5 TD's is really THAT unrealistic for Chris Conley? Dude can run, jump, and there's ample playing time available.
— Danny Parkins (@DannyParkins) May 18, 2015
It’s a fair question, and it’s one that a lot of Chiefs fans asked themselves after the Chiefs drafted Conley in the third round. “What should we expect from this Georgia guy?”
Lets take a look back at what receivers for the Chiefs have done in the past, shall we? Here is the complete list of Chiefs wide receivers that have racked up 700 yards and 5 touchdowns in the past 15 years: Derrick Alexander (2000), Eddie Kennison (’03-’06), Dwayne Bowe (’07, ’08, ’10 & ’11).
But that’s the Chiefs’ list, and Andy Reid didn’t show up until 2013.
It’s true that Andy Reid runs a particularly receiver-friendly system. In fact, if you look at the Eagles under Andy Reid, they’ve enjoyed far more success from their receives than the Chiefs. Here are the Eagles receives that put up 700 yards and 5 TDs in a single season: James Thrash (’01), Todd Pinkston (’02), Terrell Owens (’04 & ’05), Donte’ Stallworth (’06), Reggie Brown (’06), Kevin Curtis (’07), DeSean Jackson (’09 & ’10), Jeremy Maclin (’10-’12).
Needless to say, the Eagles list is quite a bit longer than Kansas City’s.
But Conley is a rookie. And, although we’ve seen rookie receivers have some success in recent years, that’s not the norm. The Eagles drafted 13 wide wide receives in Andy Reid’s 13 years with the team. Of those wide receivers, only Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson and Reggie Brown finished the year with more than 300 receiving yards. No rookie wide receive caught more than 4 touchdowns under Andy Reid. In fact, DeSean Jackson only caught 2 touchdowns in his rookie season.
What does it all mean? To answer Parkins’ question, yes, 700 yards and 5 touchdowns does seem that unrealistic.
I like Conley as a prospect. I think he has the potential to be a really good wide receiver. But if Andy Reid’s history is any indication, realistic expectations for Conley in 2015 are somewhere around 20 receptions for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns.
That’s not what Chiefs fans are hoping for, but, hey, at least the Chiefs would end the season with a receiving touchdown.