Travis Kelce Expectations Will Continue into 2016 Season

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has a lot to live up to.  For starters, the former Cincinnati Bearcat has been compared to New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.  Kelce has even been called the next Gronk, even though he is only five months younger than Gronkowski.  There are some similarities between the two tight ends, including both wearing number 87.  Kelce is also only one inch shorter and five pounds lighter than Gronkowski .  However, Gronk came into the NFL in the 2010 season and Kelce was drafted in 2013.  Even though Kelce was drafted in 2013, he suffered a season-ending knee injury before the 2013 regular season began, so he did not play until 2014.

Travis Kelce Expectations Will Continue into 2016 Season

Kelce was drafted by Kansas City, who hadn’t had a surefire Hall of Fame receiver in a while.  The Chiefs have been looking for a tight end to replace Tony Gonzalez since he left for the Atlanta Falcons in 2009.  Andy Reid‘s team feels like they finally have that replacement in Travis Kelce.  The Chiefs even signed him to a five-year, $46 million contract extension, which means the team can keep the talented tight end in Kansas City until 2022.  That extension shows the confidence Kansas City has in Kelce.

In his first two years actually on the field in NFL, Kelce has actually put up better stats than Gonzalez did in his first two seasons.  In the future Hall of Famer’s first two seasons, he put up 989 yards with 92 receptions for four touchdowns.  Kelce, on the other hand, has had 139 receptions for 1,737 yards and 10 touchdowns.  Kelce’s productivity is an indication of his talent and is also a sign of how much the times are changing in the NFL.  Gonzalez’s first professional season was in 1997 while Kelce played his first NFL season in 2014.  Gonzalez played his entire career from 1997 to 2013.

The biggest knock on Kelce is that he’s fumble prone.  Those fumbles usually come when Kelce works too hard to try and get a couple more yards before he goes down. He fumbled four times in 2014 and lost three of those fumbles.  Kelce has worked on this problem and fumbled only twice (both of which were lost) in 2015.

Kelce might be a tight end now but he wasn’t always.  In fact, he played quarterback for his high school in Ohio.  Once he went to the University of Cincinnati, he became a tight end.  Kelce faced some issues at Cincinnati though, including serving a one-year suspension for violating team rules.  In 2012, Kelce won the College Football Performance Award Tight End of the Year and in 2013, Andy Reid experienced his first draft as Chiefs head coach.

Reid had previously coached Travis’ older brother Jason Kelce while with the Philadelphia Eagles.  Reid’s son was also at Temple and the Owls happened to play Cincinnati every season. Kelce has been compared to Gronkowski since coming out of college and he will probably never be able to shake that comparison.  Their play and size is similar but Kelce has actually been noted as being the better route runner.  Both players can also be considered similar in their off-season behavior.  Gronkowski is known for his partying while Kelce is about to appear on his own reality television show.

More than likely, Chiefs fans will see Kelce play for years to come and he will only get better.  Not only is Kelce fun to watch, but he also loves to dance whenever he scores a touchdown.  As long as he keeps scoring touchdowns, nobody from Kansas City will hate him for dancing.  The tight end position has been revolutionized and it will only see more players like Kelce and Gronkowski find success in the NFL.

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