Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith doesn’t worry much about the receivers he’ll be throwing to this season.
He looks downfield and on the sidelines and sees experienced receivers like Jeremy Maclin, Albert Wilson, Chris Conley and De’Anthony Thomas plus promising rookie Tyreek Hill. And the talent isn’t limited to those in the starting spots.
“The thing that jumps out at me right away — and it’s on film — is just how deep (the receiver group) is,” Smith said after training camp Monday. “I think the biggest thing is just there’s a bunch of them.”
With so many targets, the coaching staff faces tough decisions on who will see the bulk of playing time. Maclin and Wilson are slotted as the top guys at the Z and X receiver slots, respectively, according to the Chiefs’ Aug. 6 depth chart. Conley and Frankie Hammond are right behind.
“There’s a ton of competition at that position right now with a lot of guys that are playing really, really well,” Smith said. “So I’m excited to get into the preseason and see those guys get their opportunities there.”
Even if the coaching staff can’t fit all the talent on the field, the glut of receivers creates an advantage in case of injuries.
The Chiefs have already reaped those benefits, as Rod Streater, who started camp relatively off the radar, has grabbed playing time with the first-team offense after Wilson went down with an injury early in camp.
Streater, an undrafted free agent in 2012, joined the Chiefs in 2016 after four seasons with the Oakland Raiders. His career stats don’t pop out — 1,564 yards and 109 receptions in four seasons — but he has fit in nicely with Smith.
“Streater jumped in and didn’t miss a beat,” Smith said. “That’s what I’m talking about: Having a guy that can just jump in and knows what he’s doing, making plays. That’s really been the whole group, but certainly Streater.”