Travis Kelce has dethroned Rob Gronkowski as the best tight end in the National Football League. The 6’6”, twenty-seven-year-old from the University of Cincinnati has become quite the household name. Since being selected in the third round of the 2013 NFL draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, Kelce has performed since he has been on the field. In Kelce’s rookie year, he was placed on the injured reserve with a knee injury, but in 2014 he racked up 67 receptions for 862 yards and five touchdowns. Every year his receptions and yards have gone up, including last year where he had an outstanding 1,125 receiving yards. His production will most likely continue to increase this year as he already has over 13 receptions for 143 yards and a touchdown.
Kelce has not only been a respectable tight end because of his skill to catch the ball, but also because of his speed to gain separation from linebackers and even corners occasionally. Kelce’s talent shows up after the catch, his ability to breaking tackles and keep going is special. He also enjoys going airborne, as he displayed this past Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. It was as if someone yelled “the field is lava!”, right as he touched the 5-yard line; he launched himself into the end zone over three Eagle defenders! Another key factor that Travis Kelce has added to the Chiefs is his ability to block. It is certain that after each explosive play, Kelce is involved with a critical block, whether his is pancaking a defensive back to set the edge or coming down to crack block the defensive end.
Passion is what drives Travis Kelce and it shows on the field. Andy Reid allows his players personalities to shine, it is why he is known as a player’s coach. Kelce expresses his emotions in prime-time moments, whether it is dancing after a touchdown, pointing for a first down and getting a roar from the crowd. Negative emotions have also shown in key moments for Kelce; shoving opponents or throwing a towel at a referee. This aspect of Kelce’s game needs to go because in certain situations his attitude triggers poor decisions. Kelce is a big part of the Chiefs offense, and those decisions hurt the team in more ways than one. As the year goes on, I expect Reid to put a stop to it as Kelce gained yet another penalty for taunting this past weekend.
The relationship that has formed over the past couple seasons with Alex Smith and Kelce has been one to watch. Andy Reid has taken full advantage of Kelce’s skillset and it has been a big part of the Chiefs’ success. Rookie Kareem Hunt has devolved into another weapon for the Chiefs’ offense. He has gained the attention of defensive coordinators, which will bring more defenders into the box, allowing opportunities for Kelce to get open behind the linebackers. This is a major advantage for Kelce because he can gain separation, giving Smith opportunities to get the ball out quickly.
Rob Gronkowski is a special talent as well and he has put up major numbers. His health has always been an issue that has led into a lack of reliability for the New England Patriots. With nine surgeries since 2009 and the most recent was on his back, Gronk has not played a full 16 game regular season since 2011. While Travis Kelce has remained, healthy and is continuing to improve. Kelce’s career is starting to take off as Gronkowski’s is declining. Travis Kelce has played all 16-regular season games the past three seasons, including postseason games.
With Gronkowski continuing to play at a high level, his level of getting injured continues to increase. Whether it is his ankle, knee, elbow, forearm or his back. Can his body continue to take the damage week after week of playing in the NFL? As time goes on with Gronk’s declining play, I expect Kelce to continue to improve and put up numbers, mainly due to being the best tight end in the National Football League.
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