Chiefs’ 3rd-Year Draft Pick Expected to Play 2 Positions in 2023

Noah Gray

Getty Kansas City Chiefs tight end Noah Gray could be taking on a new position in 2023.

It flew a bit under the radar, but the Kansas City Chiefs lost their veteran fullback (Michael Burton) over the offseason and general manager Brett Veach didn’t end up addressing the position in free agency or the draft.

Of course, most NFL franchises have done away with the position over the years, but head coach Andy Reid has always utilized one in some capacity — which begged the question of whether or not he plans to field a fullback in 2023 during his press conference on May 24.

“Yeah, so the tight ends can work into that spot,” Reid told reporters at OTAs. “We know Noah [Gray] can do all of that and that’s kind of where we went with it.”

“We got a number of tight ends that we feel comfortable with,” the Chiefs HC added, “so, maybe we keep an extra tight end as opposed to that fullback.” Kansas City currently has six talented tight ends on their 91-man roster including Gray. The others are Travis Kelce, Jody Fortson, Blake Bell — another fullback candidate — Matt Bushman, and Kendall Blanton.

Chiefs TEs Noah Gray & Matt Bushman Stand Out Early at OTAs

Obviously, you know Kelce and Gray are probably locks to make the Week 1 roster. Fortson has also been very vocal about expanding his role in 2023, and the red zone threat feels like the clear TE3 at this time.

From there, it could be a bit of an open competition between the “Belldozer,” Bushman and Blanton. The veteran of the group, Bell, is a blocker at heart. He’d make sense for Reid’s plans, considering he could help Gray with the fullback duties throughout the year while also rotating in as a blocking tight end when needed.

That leaves Bushman and Blanton vying for a potential fifth tight end role this summer. Keep in mind, Reid typically rosters four TEs so an extra one would presumably mean five could make it this season.

According to Arrowhead Pride’s Pete Sweeney, Bushman — a 2022 preseason standout before an injury — appears to have the early lead over Blanton.

“A tight end ran away with the reception lead on the day, as I counted at least five from… BYU product Matt Bushman.” Sweeney relayed on May 24 (day three of OTAs). “Bushman caught at least one pass from Patrick Mahomes, Blaine Gabbert and Shane Buechele, all during team work, including one over LB Willie Gay Jr.”

In the same thread, Sweeney highlighted Gray while reiterating Coach Reid’s comments for fans.

“After practice, Andy Reid more or less confirmed he would move on from the fullback in 2023, instead choosing to lean into tight ends, and he specifically mentioned Noah Gray [for the role], one of my standouts on the day,” Sweeney informed. “Keep in mind no pads, but Gray looked a tick quicker to me in this look.”

Returner Battle Could Determine Roster Spot in 2023

Speaking of shifting duties, Sweeney also talked about the kick and punt return position after day three of OTAs.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if the Chiefs have new punt and kick returners in 2023, especially with WR Kadarius Toney jumping into an expanded role,” the Arrowhead Pride media member noted. “Looking in the direction of Richie James, Skyy Moore and digging deeper, Deneric Prince and Ihmir Smith-Marsette. That WR room is deep.”

Some other return options are RB Jerrion Ealy, WR Justyn Ross, WR John Ross and undrafted rookie WR Nikko Remigio — who was dynamic as a returner at California and Fresno State.

It feels like at least one roster spot could be dedicated to whichever returner impresses most during the 2023 training camp.

Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x