Charles Davis predicts Chiefs’ Rashee Rice will lead rookie wide receivers in yards

Could Kansas City Chiefs rookie WR Rashee Rice lead this rookie crop of receivers in yards? At least one respected NFL draft analyst believes so.

On a recent episode of Path to the Draft, NFL Network’s Charles Davis was asked to predict which wide receiver from the 2023 NFL draft class would lead the entire group in receiving. He, of course, chose Rice and seems to have some sound reasoning behind it.

“I’m going to go with a little bit of a surprise I think,” Davis said. “Rashee Rice out of SMU going to the Kansas City Chiefs because I think he’s going to fill that role that JuJu Smith-Schuster had and Patrick Mahomes is going to get him up to speed fast.

Skyy Moore is there from last year. Obviously, Travis Kelce is there to eat up catches. Marquez Valdes-Scantling is a deep threat, but this kid caught a ton of balls at SMU. He’s played pitch and catch his entire career. I think he adjusts quickly, and don’t forget, there is a lot of short stuff he’s going to catch. Working inside, catch the football and continue to move down the field. I think he’s going to become a valued receiver quickly.”

He’s on the right track about Mahomes getting Rice up to speed quickly. The two already worked together ahead of the 2023 NFL draft, so he already has a head start before the official team activities begin during OTAs. There’s also something to be said about Mahomes being his quarterback.

If Rice did have this type of season, it’d be quite the heel turn for Kansas City. Traditionally speaking, Andy Reid’s offense seems to be a difficult one for receivers to pick up during their rookie years. We saw it last season with Skyy Moore and we’ve seen it throughout Reid’s tenure with the Chiefs. Tyreek Hill was the most productive rookie receiver in Reid’s offense with 61 receptions for 591 yards and six scores.

Davis does have a good point about Rice being able to carve out a specific role. It’ll land somewhere between JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman given the strengths of Rice’s game (contested catches, yards after catch). That said, this might be a little overly optimistic.

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Story originally appeared on Chiefs Wire