Chiefs may target Leonard Hankerson

Leonard Hankerson may never become the next great wide receiver from the University of Miami. That doesn’t mean he won’t eventually become a useful player for some NFL team, including the Chiefs.

Few NFL teams are as needy at wide receiver as the Chiefs, who have several candidates but no appealing choice to pair with Dwayne Bowe.
“It’s an honor being mentioned in the same category of some guys: Lamar Thomas, Reggie Wayne, Michael Irvin, Andre Johnson,” Hankerson said, referring to some of the best receivers to play for the Hurricanes. “It’s an honor just having my name up in the category with those guys. You want to carry on their traditions.

“It’s no pressure. You just got to go out and work hard, compete in the weight room and in practice, you just have to do what you have to do to make plays and help the team out.”

Hankerson’s final season at Miami stands statistically among the best ever at Miami. He caught 72 passes and set school records for yards (1,156) and receiving touchdowns (13).

That alone puts him in good company, and those numbers could have been better had Hankerson not dropped so many passes. Those drops show he still has some developing to do, one reason he will probably be a second- or third-round pick.

He may begin his career as a part-time player but perhaps could become an accomplished player over time. That type of receiver would be of value to the Chiefs.

Bowe made the Pro Bowl last season for the first time in his career, but this year will be the final season of his contract. The Chiefs tried several players as their second wide receiver last season but had no success finding a reliable player.

Other than Bowe, their best receivers were tight end Tony Moeaki and running back Jamaal Charles.

The draft’s two best wide receivers, Georgia’s A.J. Green and Alabama’s Julio Jones, will be selected by other teams by the time the Chiefs make their first pick at No. 21 in the first round.

The only other receiver possibly worth the 21st pick is Maryland’s Torrey Smith.

“If Torrey Smith is available, they should at least consider him,” draft analyst Shawn Zobel said. “I’d have no problem with them taking him with the 21st pick if they feel he’s a guy who could add to their offense. He’s a vertical threat, so he would fit in nicely with Dwayne Bowe. They’ve got Moeaki in the middle and (Dexter) McCluster in the slot. That would make for a good offense, especially when you consider they also have Jamaal Charles.

“If they’re looking for a receiver in the first round, that’s who they’d take.”

If the Chiefs pass on Smith, Hankerson could be their choice in the second round.

“He doesn’t play to his speed but is certainly a tall, angular receiver and a good, natural pass catcher,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said. “He had some drops, but that was because of concentration issues rather than hands. He has real good hands.”

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