The Kansas City Chiefs are 6-1 and sit atop the AFC. They are doing this now for the second year in a row without a star wide receiver for this high-powered offense.
With many high-profile receivers being talked about ahead of the NFL's Oct. 31 trade deadline, linking Kansas City to one of these players is a popular topic.
However, one key stat proves why another Chiefs trade at receiver is a longshot.
The Chiefs maybe didn't trade for a new star receiver after moving on from Tyreek Hill, but they have invested in the position. In each of the last two seasons, Kansas City has spent a second-round pick on a receiver: Skyy Moore in 2022 and Rashee Rice in 2023.
Neither Moore nor Rice are lighting the world on fire. Moore has just 13 catches for 160 yards and one touchdown. Rice, who is coming on as of late, has 26 catches for 305 yards and three touchdowns. But raw stats aren't what we should be interested in.
In the NFL this season there are just 24 receivers who have played at least 180 offensive snaps aged 23 or younger. Moore and Rice both fit into this category. If you break down those 24 players by team, only six teams, including Kansas City, have two players fitting this criteria.
Of those six teams which also include the Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals, New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, and Indianapolis Colts, the Chiefs are the only team with a winning record. And while the Colts are 3-4 and still a competitive team Kansas City is the only team in the NFL truly competing for a Super Bowl (or even a deep playoff run) with two young, starting receivers.
This isn't the first time the Chiefs have done this. Teams are forced to play younger, cheaper players and be more creative with a franchise quarterback making big money. The position last year in Kansas City was defensive back.
Stats show how Chiefs favor young, cheap players
In 2022 there were 24 rookie defensive backs who logged 400 or more defensive snaps. The Chiefs had three of them. Only four teams had multiple players on this list. The 3-14 Chicago Bears, the 3-13-1 Houston Texans, and the Seattle Seahawks, who squeaked into the playoffs as the seventh seed at 9-8.
The three players for Kansas City were Joshua Williams, Trent McDuffie, and Jaylen Watson. All made key plays down the stretch and in the postseason for the Chiefs. But they had to take their lumps along the way.
The Chiefs have been very comfortable letting young guys play through the highs and lows in the last two seasons. Last year the defensive backs were a great example of that method paying dividends. Right now, it appears they are doing the same thing at receiver. And with Patrick Mahomes throwing the ball, why not?
So while it would be fun to see Davante Adams or DeAndre Hopkins in the red and white, don't hold your breath. We'll be watching these young guys figure it out the rest of the way.