Training camp this summer has provided an opportunity for the Kansas City Chiefs to figure out who their next top pass-catcher is among the wide receivers.
Along with the return of Mecole Hardman and Josh Gordon, the Chiefs signed JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Corey Coleman during the offseason. They also drafted second-round pick Skyy Moore. All the new talent has, as you would expect, created a high level of competition and some highlight-worthy plays in St. Joseph, Missouri during camp.
While Valdes-Scantling was the receiver that seemed on track to be Mahomes’ top target at the receiver position after organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp, there’s apparently another veteran that is beginning to emerge as Mahomes’ top target outside of tight end Travis Kelce.
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Report: JuJu Emerging as Chiefs’ Top WR
Based on reports coming out of camp, Smith-Schuster is the Kansas City wide receiver that is on track to be the team’s WR1.
“Speaking of Smith-Schuster — Marquez Valdes-Scantling looked like he could be the go-to WR in OTAs, but at training camp, through my looks, it’s been Smith-Schuster,” Pete Sweeney of Arrowhead Pride wrote on Aug. 7. “I’m now tending to think he’ll be the second-most targeted Chiefs pass-catcher behind TE Travis Kelce in 2022.”
Sweeney isn’t the only media member on-scene for Chiefs training camp practices that is drawing that conclusion.
“Ju-Ju in my opinion separated himself from the rest of the WRs today,” James Palmer of NFL Media wrote. “Uses his size so well to his advantage.”
JuJu’s production during training camp this summer shouldn’t come as a complete surprise. Those that watched him closely (myself included) over the last couple of seasons saw a player that has elite traits in a Pittsburgh Steelers system that wasn’t tailored to his skill set. Now that he is in a system that can do just that, he’s shining. So he should be rising to the top of Kansas City’s depth chart.
Twitter Talks About Smith-Schuster
The recent buzz about Smith-Schuster at camp has Twitter users talking about the veteran receiver.
“I won’t lie. When Juju left the Steelers, I think I had an existential crisis. And then I saw he signed to the Chiefs. Operation “make Juju Smith Schuster my best friend” is a go,” one Twitter user wrote.
“Juju smith-schuster will be more important to the chiefs this year than Khalil Mack will be to the chargers,” another Twitter user wrote.
“JuJu Smith-Schuster’s 2022 ADP of WR34 might be my favorite value in fantasy drafts this season,” another user wrote.
“Between MVS and Juju I for one am SHOCKED to learn that MVS isn’t a WR1. If only we had history to inform us of this outcome,” another user wrote.
“Tweeted it a few weeks ago: This year’s Cooper Kupp has been Ju-ju the whole time. Getting Mahomes first WR option in the 4th/5th round has been criminal all summer long,” another user wrote.
“The three days I was at camp JuJu was absolutely in sync with Mahomes. Didn’t drop anything catchable. The only time he was outshined was the 10-10-10 day when Hardman was on fire,” another user wrote.