Position evaluation: Building around Travis Kelce

Nov. 1, 2015; London; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) gets by Detroit Lions middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch (55) at Wembley Stadium. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

Nov. 1, 2015; London; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) gets by Detroit Lions middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch (55) at Wembley Stadium. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

Tight ends accounted for 86 of the Kansas City Chiefs’ 310 receptions the past season, with Travis Kelce leading the group with 72 catches and five of the six touchdowns by a tight end.

The Chiefs have the cornerstone at the position with Kelce and need the others to step up in the blocking game.

TRAVIS KELCE: The former third-round pick out of Cincinnati is arguably one of the better mismatches with size and speed that is tough for safeties or linebackers to defend against.

The 6-6, 260-pound Kelce improved his concentration this season with only four drops and appeared to calm celebrations after plays late in the season. The third-year pro had some issues with ball security over the past two seasons, but that area also improved late in the season.

Kelce needs to continue to work in run-blocking against linebackers and defensive ends. He is able to effectively block cornerbacks and safeties, but seems to have issues with defenders that can match his size and power.

The Chiefs signed Kelce to a five-year, $46 million contract extension on Jan. 29.

DEMETRIUS HARRIS: Harris, who played basketball in college, still has to learn the finer points of playing tight end in the NFL. He struggles in drive and reach blocks in run support and takes improper angles at times to seal the edge.

But the Chiefs see promise in Harris, evidenced by a three-year contract extension on Jan. 8.

The former undrafted free agent out of UW-Milwaukee will need to improve his route running and reading coverage headed into his third season. Harris has only 397 offensive snaps in the NFL, but will need to work on strength and footwork in run-blocking.

JAMES O’SHAUGHNESSY: The fifth-round pick displayed promise with a good combination of size and speed before landing on injured reserve with a foot injury in Week 11.

While O’Shaughnessy showed a good catch radius during the spring practices, he seemed to have a great deal of drops once the pads came on in training camp. O’Shaughnessy will need to improve strength for run-blocking, but has athletic ability to be an effective pass catcher.

BRIAN PARKER: Parker only saw 67 offensive snaps in his rookie campaign, but there is promise there with his size and strength. He was very effective in run-blocking responsibilities against the Lions in Week 8. Parker runs solid routes, but will likely need a better grasp of the playbook to see the field in 2016.

ALSO ON ROSTER: Ross Travis

OUTLOOK: With Travis Kelce the clear top receiving threat and the amount of two- and three-tight end sets the Kansas City Chiefs utilize, the Chiefs need to find more production from a consistent blocker in 2016.

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Nick Jacobs is a contributing writer for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @Jacobs71.

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