Dwayne Bowe’s absence from Chiefs workouts has left a void at the top of the wide receiver depth chart.
Jonathan Baldwin is doing his best to fill that void as he goes through the offseason program for the first time as a professional. Baldwin, a first-round pick last year, missed out on this stage of the work because of the lockout, but he is earning raves around Chiefs camp for his deeper understanding of the playbook. That has led to Baldwin getting ample opportunities to show off his ability to make plays against single coverage.
“He’s a guy that likes to go up and compete and there’s not a lot of corners in the league that can go up vertically with him,” ” quarterback Matt Cassel said, via Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star. “Guys like that, you have to give them an opportunity to make a play. He’s such a big target, and he’s so physical that you just kind of have to put it in the vicinity and try not to overthrow him. Just give him an opportunity to go up and outbattle somebody for the ball.”
Baldwin’s rookie year got off to a slow start thanks to a training camp fight with Thomas Jones and he ended the year with just 21 catches. A full offseason of work should benefit him a great deal, especially since his size (6’4″, 230 pounds) gives him a clear advantage over cornerbacks every week of the season.
If Bowe gets back and Baldwin keeps progressing, defenses will have tough choices to make while defending the Kansas City passing game.