The season opener is upon us! Let’s see who wants to make an impact.
With the season opener on the horizon, there is a lot of excitement about how the defending AFC Champions will look against another championship contender. Most fans will be excited to see Chiefs football back, but I will be watching some of the under-the-radar players to see how they progress through the season.
It’s important to look for quality play from your stars, but it’s also extremely important to see those role players who are under the radar make an impact. There are three players who may be underrated right now, but they will be seen as hometown favorites by the end of the year.
1. Noah Gray
Noah Gray was a great mid-round addition in the draft, he was seen as a tweener, halfway between a tight end and wide receiver. But in the preseason he was able to showcase his skills as both a receiver and a blocker. I am willing to say that it is a stretch to say a second-string tight end is someone to watch for, but with the Chiefs keeping four tight ends on the roster, it should mean that Noah Gray will get more playing time. I look for him to have a couple of plays towards the RedZone as they might bring him in as another option for Patrick Mahomes in the passing game.
Gray might not get a lot of looks in week 1, but with the amount of tight-end heavy sets we saw in the preseason, he should be seen as a guy to watch. Look for him as they move towards the goal line and he might get a touchdown vs the Browns as the defense might be keyed in on Kelce and Hill.
2. Mike Hughes
Hughes had a great preseason, not only was he a great addition by Veech this offseason he played like he had nothing to lose. He was a great defensive back, he was able to cover receivers with physicality and great ball skills and then was able to shed his blocker and try to get to the runner. Hughes paired with L’Jarius Sneed should help shore up a defensive backs unit that was a weakness throughout the season last year. They needed to find a replacement for the loss of Brashaud Breeland and they pulled a great move by picking up Hughes.
Mike Hughes will have to be really solid in week one, as he’ll have to defend both Odell Beckham Jr and Jarvis Landry in a lot of different situations. I’m really excited to see him go against the Browns’ offense and he’s going to need to make some plays with Tyrann Mathieu’s status being up in the air for Week 1.
3. Byron Pringle
I feel like I’m beating a dead horse because almost everyone knows about how good Byron Pringle can be, but he is extremely interesting with the receiving group being such a question this season. Pringle has the opportunity to make an impact this season with the loss of Sammy Watkins and the questions surrounding Mecole Hardman. He would be a nice change of pace for the offense due to his physicality and the size he has in the passing game. Pringle is not a burner like Hardman or Hill, he’s really good at running the intermediate routes or slants and doesn’t care about getting hit.
He loves to make the tough catch and might have the inside track to get a bigger role if he can make some big plays against the Browns. I expect him to have a decent game against the Browns, maybe not a breakout game but enough to move the needle for him moving up in the depth chart.