Through three weeks of the regular season, rookie second-round pick wide receiver Rashee Rice is second among all Kansas City Chiefs pass-catchers in targets (14) and catches (10), and is first in yards after catch (55) and first downs (7), per ESPN. This is all while playing just 34% of the team’s total offensive snaps, according to Pro Football Reference.
As a player expected to be slowly incorporated into a Chiefs offense that is known for taking their time with developing receivers, Rice seems to be breaking the mold of what’s expected from rookie receivers in Kansas City. That’s partly because of injuries that have happened within the receiver room. But Rice’s play has earned him more opportunities on gameday moving forward, even when the receiver room is fully healthy.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has taken notice of Rice’s emergence and has issued a challenge for Rice ahead of the team’s Week 4 Sunday Night Football matchup against the New York Jets.
“He’s coming off a nice game, now present it again and take another step this week,” Reid said during his September 27 press conference.
“He’s growing in front of us here. He’s one of the young guys, but he looks like he’s getting more on the same page with Pat (Mahomes),” Reid also said of Rice. “Pat spends a lot of time with him. He’s got the right attitude, and so it’s (about) consistency.”
Patrick Mahomes on Rashee Rice: ‘He Has Good Feel’
During Kansas City’s 41-10 win over the Chicago Bears in Week 3, Rashee Rice caught a season-high 5-of-7 targets for 59 yards. He also played 51% of the team’s snaps, per Pro Football Reference, which was also a season-high for him.
“He has a good feel. We keep pushing him to be better and better,” Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said of Rice during the preseason. “You see the talent. He makes a lot of tough catches. He had the drop early and he responded well. I think that comes with the jitters of being in your first few NFL games. But I have a lot of trust in him to make those catches in tough spaces. There’s just another playmaker that we have in this offense.”
Rice is part of a Kansas City offense that excels at scheming players open and gives them open space once the ball is in their hands. That fits Rice’s skillset perfectly, as Rice excels after the catch, which is why the defending Super Bowl champions are getting early returns on their second-round pick.
Rashee Rice’s Production in Context
To put Rashee Rice’s production into context, let’s take a look at how he stacks up against some of the other receivers across the NFL.
According to PFF, Rice is the 11th-highest-graded receiver in the NFL (81.0) through three weeks of the regular season. Just above him in the rankings is San Francisco 49ers’ Deebo Samuel (81.9), and just below him are Cleveland Browns’ Amari Cooper (80.3), Buffalo Bills’ Stefon Diggs (79.8), and Detroit Lions’ Amon-Ra St. Brown (79.4).
Samuel, Cooper, Diggs, and St. Brown are all considered some of the best receivers the NFL has to offer. Rice being graded alongside those players speaks loudly to how well he is performing early on in his professional career.
Again — it’s still very early in the season, so PFF’s grades are based on a relatively small sample size. But Chiefs Kingdom can’t help but get excited about what they are seeing from Rice, whether it’s via the eye test or in the metrics.