Rashee Rice Scouting Report
The Chiefs have one of the more interesting wide receiver groups in the NFL. They do not have a true number one guy (outside of Travis Kelce), which means there are a lot of opportunities to be had in that offense. One player who is going to get an opportunity is SMU WR Rashee Rice, whom the Chiefs drafted in the second round. I believe he will play both of the outside receiver spots for the Chiefs, primarily being their X. Andy Reid does a good job of building an offense around his players' talent, and while Rice may not be the most well-rounded player, he is going to be a major contributor downfield as a vertical threat and after the catch in the short game.
The prototype for a receiver who excels on the third level is usually a speedster—someone like DeSean Jackson or Marquise Goodwin—but that is not the case for Rashee Rice. Rice has a good catch radius that allows him to track the ball downfield and make plays even when he is smothered. He has shown the ability to make catches outside of his frame, providing a big target for Mahomes. While at times he may look a little awkward making adjustments, he has a level of arrogance in his hands, which is what you want from your X receiver. His teammates get excited for him, and he brought life to the Mustangs' offense last year. There was trust between him and his quarterback; his quarterback would pepper him with targets even when he was not open.
From a physicality standpoint, I love Rice's mindset after the catch. He does not waste time getting downfield and is a north-south runner. Rice does not shy away from contact and will be a go-to target in the short game. As a blocker, Rice was extremely impactful. He would block defensive backs to the sideline and was reliable even when the ball was not in his hands. No teams run screens more often than the Chiefs, and with a receiver who is a reliable blocker in space, it is going to be much easier to get guys like Kadarius Toney and Jerrick McKinnon the ball behind the line of scrimmage. The most salient concern when it comes to Rice's physicality is how he plays against press coverage. He struggles to gain separation, and physical defensive backs were able to get in his head. Even in off coverage, Rice would get thrown off his route at the point of contact. Usually, when a player is physical as a blocker and runner, he is a strong route runner, but it is the opposite for Rice.
My biggest concern for Rice has to do with his consistency, whether it be effort, quickness, or route running. He can look like a different player depending on the down. He has average speed, but he has shown signs of really good quickness and burst at the top of his route. With that being said, he does not use his quickness on a consistent basis. More often than not, he struggles to create separation. There are few coaches who do a better job of coaching up their receivers than the Chiefs. Consistent effort is not optional as a professional, and while it may not be immediate, Rice will learn this lesson. He is not the biggest, strongest, or fastest player, but he has reliable hands and can be trusted as a blocker. When I think of a "juice guy" who is a good blocker and downfield threat with just average speed, Gabe Davis is what comes to mind. I believe that is exactly what the Chiefs were looking for; he is not going to be that true number one, but he has what it takes to be an impact player for Kansas City's offense.
Separation Skills: 7.75/10
Hands + Catch Radius: 8.5/10
Route Running: 7.5/10
Physicality + Play Strength: 6.5/8
Body Control + Movement Skills: 6.5/8
After the Catch: 5/6
Short-Area Quickness: 4.25/5
Competitiveness + Intelligence + Effort: 3.75/5
Final Rating: 80
Projected Position: Outside Receiver
Pro Comparison: Gabe Davis
Draft Grade: Early 3rd round