Chiefs coach Andy Reid on rookie Jehu Chesson: ‘I love his toughness’


Perhaps lost in the Chiefs’ aggressive draft-day dealings — which led to their long-awaited choice to take a quarterback in the first round for the first time since 1983 — was their decision to trade back into the fourth round and select Michigan receiver Jehu Chesson.

Chiefs brass loved Chesson’s size (6 feet 3, 203 pounds), jump-ball skills and athleticism; he was one of the best-tested at his position. They also loved his team-first attitude and willingness to do the dirty work. He served as a core special-teams player at Michigan and caught the Chiefs’ eye that way.

“I love his toughness — we knew coming out of Michigan that he was an aggressive player,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “When you called a run, he was going to bury himself down in there and go get it. He was a tremendous special-teams player.”

Still, while the thought was that Chesson could be an immediate special-teams contributor — and he has indeed helped there, logging 31 percent of the snaps in that phase — his selection was always going to be a long-term play, at least offensively.

Much of that had to do the complexity of Reid’s offense, which calls for receivers to regularly adjust their routes depending on defensive coverages. This means that one small mistake by a receiver — a misdiagnosed defensive coverage, for example — can lead to running the wrong route, which can blow up an entire play.

It’s why quarterback Alex Smith rarely throws to receivers he hasn’t built adequate trust with, and why most rookie receivers under Reid — including…



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