The Kansas City Chiefs look like they are taking a quantity approach to fill Tyreek Hill’s spot in their offense. The team traded Hill to the Miami Dolphins earlier this offseason for a package that included five draft picks.
JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling have garnered the most attention of their free-agent acquisitions. The team’s second-round pick, Skyy Moore, is someone that people have high expectations for as well.
But, one player flying under the radar is Justin Watson. Watson signed with the Chiefs for a one-year deal worth just over $1 million even before the team traded Hill away. It wasn’t a signing that made too many headlines, but it was one that Patrick Mahomes took notice of.
Mahomes and Watson have gotten on the same page early, which is excellent news for the fifth-year wide receiver, who was a fifth-round pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2018 NFL Draft. Mahomes discussed Watson recently with Nate Taylor of The Athletic.
“He’s been a pleasant surprise for me,” Mahomes said. “That dude can roll. He came down to Texas. I threw with him the first day, and I called (General Manager Brett) Veach and I was like, ‘Wait, how fast is this guy?’ He was running so fast that I was late on my throws.”
Watson was buried on the depth chart throughout his tenure in Tampa Bay, even more so recently. He didn’t play a single snap on offense in 2021, as he worked his way back from a knee injury. Watson played 19 snaps on special teams, but that was it.
Special teams are where he has gotten most of his playing time in the NFL, playing 666 snaps. He has played only 461 snaps on offense, catching 23 passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns.
He is hoping that he can add to those numbers this season with the Chiefs. If he continues making an impression on Mahomes, he has a chance to break into the lineup at some point in the regular season. 2022 will likely be his best chance at earning snaps on offense thus far in his career.