Dwayne Bowe has been forced to endure six seasons of instability during his career as a Chief, which began upon his selection with the 23rd overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft. Since that time, he has experienced constant change at the Head Coaching position, which evolved from Herman Edwards to Todd Haley to Romeo Crennel. That resulted in a continual transformation of philosophy, which included the frequent alteration of coordinators, accompanied by their subsequent attempts to implement new strategies. This ever-changing environment also escorted Bowe through an unimpressive array of signal callers, beginning with the trio of Damon Huard, Tyler Thigpen, and Brodie Croyle in his first season, then progressing to Matt Cassel, Tyler Palko, Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn.
Now that the dust has settled following that conga line of coaches, QBs, and schemes, the record reflects that Bowe has only been involved in one offense that found success statistically. And, he has yet to perform on a unit that proficiently generated yardage through the air. Now, Bowe is preparing for the regular season after experiencing yet another massive renovation in Kansas City. However this time, there is a legitimate degree of promise that accompanies it, because it involves the established methodology of Andy Reid. This supplies Bowe with the potential to assemble his most productive season since 2010, which is a definitive enticement to fantasy owners. However, a decision regarding where to target Bowe during your draft process not only requires confidence in his capabilities, but also in Reid’s new system, and the signal caller who will be asked to guide the attack.
Bowe Has Produced Within Struggling Offenses
Even with the deficiencies that often surrounded him, Bowe has manufactured three 1,000-yard seasons, garnered over 80 receptions twice, and has exceeded 1,150 yards two times. His most productive year occurred during the aforementioned 2010, when he led the NFL with 15 TDs, while amassing 1,162 yards. That was by far his best TD total, as he has managed just 24 in the other five seasons combined. However, last season was his worst since an injury shortened 2009, as he finished just 34th among all WRs with 801 yards, and a mere 49th with 59 receptions. Plus, he only scored three times. Still, he managed to lead the Chiefs in each category, and his 114 targets were 36 more than any of his teammates received. This is hardly a surprise, as Bowe has led the team in receiving yards at his position in all but one year of his tenure. And has also paced KC in receiving TDs during five of his six seasons.
Unfortunately, Bowe has been the best receiver on a unit that has perpetually struggled with its passing game. The Chiefs only finished 24th or worse in five of Bowe’s six seasons with the team. The lone exception occurred in 2010, and was accomplished predominantly through generation of the NFL’s most productive running game. Even with the favorable ranking in total offense during that particular season, the passing attack only ranked 30th, averaging 186 YPG. While that was the second most anemic passing offense that Bowe has been part of statistically, the Chiefs have ranked between 20th and 32nd in that category during that time. Last year’s unit finished dead last, while manufacturing a meager 170 YPG through the air. But Reid’s adaptation of the west coast offense should provide the perfect elixir for many of the inadequacies that have beset the franchise in recent years. Over the past nine seasons, his offenses have ranked within the top 10 in passing yards eight times. Which is clearly a level of competence that has been nonexistent during Bowe’s time with the Chiefs.
The Importance Of Alex Smith
Kansas City’s new strategic approach will be tailored to fit the abilities of former 49er Alex Smith, and a healthy degree of Bowe's successes and failures will be predicated upon Smith’s effectiveness. He will be 29 when the Chiefs open at Jacksonville, and he supplies the team with a better opportunity to win then they would have experienced by allowing four-year starter Cassel or former backup Quinn to continue taking snaps. Smith became very efficient during the final two years of his eight-year tenure in San Francisco, after Jim Harbaugh joined the organization. That said, Smith can hardly be considered an elite signal caller, and there are undeniable limitations with his game. He only generated 15+ touchdowns passes in two different years, and his career best is only 18. Plus, his TD/INT quotient was only favorable after Harbaugh became his head coach in 2011. Prior to that that time, Smith had tossed 51 scoring throws, and 53 INTs. That should be alarming to anyone who perceives Smith based primarily upon what he accomplished in 2011 and 2012. However, Kansas City’s decision makers believe that Smith will be a viable starter this season, and he does represent an improvement for the franchise at this critical position. Last season, his 70.2 completion percentage was the highest among all QBs who generated at least 200 attempts. That number also represents a mammoth upgrade in efficiency when compared to the 57.8 combined percentage that was attained by previous signal callers who have targeted Bowe during his career.
Just temper any expectations of a downfield assault by Smith. In 2012, San Francisco was unable to generate the consistent threat of an explosive aerial attack with Smith in the lineup, and it only developed once Kaepernick had replaced him. Both signal callers launched exactly 218 passes last season, but 32 of Kaepernick’s were at least 20 yards, while Smith managed just 22. Kaepernick’s superior ability to deliver accurate, deep throws was instrumental in elevating the potency and success of San Francisco’s offense, and led to Smith’s eventual acquisition by the Chiefs.
Where Bowe Resides Among Kansas City’s Receiving Weapons
Jamaal Charles remains firmly cemented as the team’s most enticing fantasy option. And even though he will have difficulty replicating last season’s career high of 1,509 rushing yards, Reid’s previous usage of running backs suggests that another 1,100-yard season is likely. That same history indicates that Charles should stockpile fantasy points as a receiver. LeSean McCoy averaged 55 receptions from 2009-2012, including a whopping 78 in 2010. Plus, Brian Westbrook averaged 75 catches from 2004-2007, highlighted by the 90 that he garnered in 2007. Charles’ reception total could approach 80, and his potential to compile massive yardage both rushing and receiving has been well-documented.
But even though the image of Charles accruing catches is extremely strong, Bowe will easily be the preferred weapon among WRs and TEs. He signed a five-year, $56 million contract in March, and appears motivated by the promise of Reid's offense. He does he possess a favorable combination of size and strength toward succeeding in Reid's system, and the offensive strategy will certainly enable him to be more effective than the ill-fated approach that was instituted last season. Plus, there is a cavernous disparity when comparing his talent level, to that of the wideouts who are currently competing to become KC’s WR2. Donnie Avery is undoubtedly a flawed starter. Yet he remained a superior option to Jon Baldwin, who provided only perpetual disappointment after the Chiefs expended a first round pick for his services in 2011. However, Baldwin has been jettisoned to San Francisco, in exchange for A. J. Jenkins, who ironically enough has also provided only perpetual disappointment since the 49ers expended a first round pick for his services. Dexter McCluster appears destined to evolve into a more dangerous weapon than either Avery or Jenkins. And his potential to amass yardage through deployment in assorted formations makes is intriguing, which elevates him into late round flier status. At TE, the combined presence of Anthony Fasano, Tony Moeaki and Travis Kelce, will make it exceedingly difficult for any one member of the trio to accumulate sizable numbers.
Where You Should Draft Him
13 WRs are currently being selected before Bowe, and his ADP is 47. All of which is very reasonable, and actually supplies a perfect match with my WR rankings at this time. He is clearly KC’s WR1, will be utilized extensively, and his potential to garner desirable red zone targets provides a major enticement toward securing him for your rosters. But you must also consider Smith’s limitations, as he will not be asked to launch an overabundance of deep throws to Bowe. Therefore, despite Bowe's proclamation that he will lead the league in receptions and TDs, reality is that neither the system nor his QB will enable him to fulfill those aspirations. After merging every factor that is involved projecting Bowe’s output, the recommendation from here is that he is worthy of selection near the close of Round 4. He will ultimately reward that investment by delivering nearly 80 receptions, generating 950 yards, and producing eight TDs.