Among the most anticipated offseason roster battles for the Kansas City Chiefs will take place within its wide receivers corps. Behind Tyreek Hill, the team’s clear-cut top option, Mecole Hardman, Byron Pringle, Demarcus Robinson, Antonio Callaway and rookie fifth-rounder Cornell Powell will battle for additional snaps vacated by former No. 2 option Sammy Watkins.
Now, an already deep group will get some added competition in the form of an ex-Green Bay Packers pass-catcher.
According to Arrowhead Addict on Tuesday, June 15, the Chiefs are expected to bring in wide receiver and return specialist Darrius Shepherd to participate in its mandatory minicamp scheduled through June 17, per a source.
The team has not yet made the transaction official, but with the 90-man offseason roster currently full, a corresponding move will need to be made to clear a spot for the third-year playmaker.
Update: The Chiefs are officially signing Shepherd after his minicamp tryout, according to The Athletic’s Nate Taylor on Thursday, June 17.
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Shepherd Has Previous Ties to Kansas City
Shepherd originally entered the NFL in 2019 as an undrafted free agent out of North Dakota State — the alma mater of this year’s No. 3 overall pick, San Francisco 49ers QB Trey Lance.
The 25-year-old wideout spent the first two years of his career with the Packers, hauling in six of 10 targets from Aaron Rodgers for 47 yards across 14 games. However, Shepherd has primarily earned his keep on special teams early on by returning 20 kickoffs for 374 yards, including a career-best 20.6 yards per return in 2020. He was waived by Green Bay on December 1, 2020, just nine days after fumbling a fourth-quarter kickoff that contributed to a late-season overtime loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Last season, Pringle (10 returns for 324 yards) and Hardman (nine returns for 184 yards) accounted for 76% of Kansas City’s kick returns. Shepherd, while more likely a tryout option with practice squad potential at this point of the offseason, presents a third experienced option in the return game as the Chiefs presumably look to get both Pringle and Hardman more involved on offense.
Shepherd, a Kansas City, Missouri native, brings notable local ties to his new club having graduated from Blue Springs High School back in 2013.
Chiefs Add Former Cowboys & Seahawks OL
The reigning AFC champions had another new face in the fold on Tuesday, signing offensive tackle Wyatt Miller, according to the NFL’s official transaction report for June 14.
Miller, 25, has been a league journeyman across his first three seasons, spending time on four different clubs, first with the New York Jets, before joining the Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys and most recently the Seattle Seahawks’ practice squads. The 6-foot-5, 306-pounder, who was released in January, is a former undrafted free agent out of Central Florida.
Miller now joins a Chiefs’ tackle room featuring Orlando Brown, Mike Remmers, Lucas Niang, Martinas Rankin and Prince Tega-Wanagho. With Kyle Long having suffered a lower leg injury during the team’s June 10 OTA session that’s expected to keep him out through most of training camp in August, Miller will serve as insurance while the coaching staff sorts out its depth chart heading into Week 1.
Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!