“Returning Chiefs” is an off-season series with each entry focusing on one player that we know will be returning to the Chiefs next season. With so much change expected to come, the returning players will be more important than ever in the pursuit of another Super Bowl championship. Many of these returning players will be asked to take on larger roles in production and leadership, and Chiefs fans should know who those players are and what we should expect from them.
After spending a couple of entries on the defensive interior, let’s return to the offensive side of the ball.
Skyy Moore returns to a large opportunity. The state of the Chiefs’ wide receiver room has been a focal point of the offseason, and the success of the position could very well depend on Skyy’s development.
The Skyy Is Not Falling
Fans are impatient. After the hope of drafting one of the receivers at the top of this draft class came and went on Thursday, there was a general tone of disappointment around Chiefs Kingdom. After all, much of the talk for the past few weeks has been about a DeAndre Hopkins trade or drafting one of Zay Flowers, Jordan Addison, or Quentin Johnston. No doubt, new talent in that group would be huge for the offense, but it’s increasingly clear how the Chiefs feel, as I’ve mentioned before.
Unlike us fickle fans, the Chiefs haven’t forgotten that they have one of the best 2022 receiver prospects in the building already and if his most recent production is a sign of things to come, we should be excited for what number 24 can become in this offense.
Better Late Than Never
When he was drafted with the 54th overall pick in 2022, Skyy Moore was expected to play a big part in replacing Tyreek Hill in the Chiefs’ offense. Instead, it became clear that Skyy brought some of the same things to the table as other players the Chiefs planned to rely on, like JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Skyy wasn’t heavily involved early and instead was relegated to “watch & learn” duty on offense. In most cases, the lack of involvement would be concerning for a young player with high expectations. Lucky for Chiefs Kingdom, Skyy was ready to roll in the postseason when he was forced into a larger role. After having a marginal impact in the regular season, it was encouraging and energizing to see Moore step in and play well when he was absolutely needed.
His rookie year will always be commemorated by his clutch punt return in the AFC Championship Game and his first NFL touchdown in the Super Bowl. Hopefully, as Moore’s career unfolds, we start to look at that stretch of play as a springboard of things to come.
Not only will Skyy Moore be asked to take on a more significant role in 2023, but he will also already be one of longest tenured Chiefs in the receiver room. Moore, MVS, Justin Watson, and Justyn Ross all have only been Chiefs for one season. Everyone else on the roster has shown up after that group.
Believe it or not, Skyy Moore will be one of the most familiar receivers with Patrick Mahomes, and if he continues his trajectory from the end of last season, we could see a major improvement in year two. The 206 combined targets between Juju Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman, and Jerick McKinnon have to find new places to go, and Skyy figures to be one of the top recipients.
I think he’ll be really good with the increased opportunity, and I’m excited to see him during camp and the preseason in his first opportunities as a focal point in the offense.