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Chiefs WR Xavier Worthy has plan for playing at light weight: 'Understanding your strength'

The Chiefs' first-round selection of wide receiver Xavier Worthy created a buzz for Kansas City's offense to finally replace an element vacated two years ago by Tyreek Hill, but it's a different speedster the rookie has been studying.

Worthy, who weighed in at the NFL Scouting Combine at 165 pounds and said on Saturday he came to rookie minicamp at 169, told local reporters he's unconcerned by playing with a lighter frame and has tried to take lessons from watching the similarly sized DeSean Jackson.

"Just his punt return and his ability to make a play after the catch," Worthy said. "How he understood the leverage for deep routes."

Jackson, a three-time Pro Bowler, last played in 2022 at the age of 36. He retired in 2023 having led the NFL on four separate occasions in yards per reception.

Kansas City's operation became noticeably more methodical -- especially last season -- sans Hill. In 2023, quarterback Patrick Mahomes' average depth of target was a career-low 7.2, per PFF. In four years as a starter with Hill available, Mahomes averaged a depth of 9 yards per target and peaked at 9.9 in 2018.

Bringing in a speed maven like Worthy, now the combine record-holder with a 4.21 40-yard dash, figures to bump those numbers back up as long he can replicate the success of on-field role models like Jackson.

But Worthy isn't content with operating as a one-trick pony. He feels confident making plays at any level of the field.

"I don't think I took big hits [in college]. I delivered them," he jokingly said regarding his weight. "But, nah, I feel like it's not gonna be a problem. I feel like just understanding your strengths and your weaknesses, that's the big thing in the league. Don't obviously go and try to hit a 215-pound linebacker. Just understanding your weight, understanding your strength. D-Jax came in the league at 169 and understood his strengths. So just using your strengths to your strengths."

Mahomes, as accurate as he is, will also make a concerted effort like he does with all his pass-catchers to keep Worthy out of harm's way. Free-agent signee Marquise Brown, plenty fast himself, helps the Chiefs double down on speed in a suddenly rebuilt passing game, while the ever-reliable tight end Travis Kelce seems destined to keep dominating underneath.

Those two have found their way for years now in the NFL.

Worthy will look to do the same near his current weight while adjusting to a faster, stronger league.

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