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Chiefs select Fresno State wide receiver Wylie

April 29, 2012

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— Devon Wylie has gotten Wes Welker comparisons “every day of my life.”

They’re not about to stop in Kansas City.

The Chiefs chose the shifty, undersized wide receiver out of Fresno State with their fourth-round pick Saturday, adding a potential target over the middle for quarterback Matt Cassel.

“People consider me to be an undersized slot receiver, and that’s fine if that’s the way they want to look at it. I take it as a compliment,” Wylie said. “Wes Welker has shown to be an amazing receiver — one of the most productive season-in and season-out. So that’s fine with me.”

It was the first move by Kansas City to add a skill-position player in the draft.

The Chiefs added another with sixth-round pick Cyrus Gray of Texas A&M, and drafted Michigan wide receiver Junior Hemingway in the seventh round. Alabama defensive back De’Quan Menzie was the pick in the fifth round and San Diego State defensive tackle Jerome Long in the seventh.

The Chiefs plugged a gaping hole at defensive tackle with Dontari Poe in the first round, and went for offensive line depth with their second- and third-round picks.

“Every once in a while you get that reminder that you better have quality depth and you can’t have too many good players,” Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli said. “Even if you think you have good front-line players, you can never have too many good players.”

Wylie, who can also return punts and kicks, turned heads at the scouting combine when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds and benched 225 pounds 17 times.

Fifteen teams showed up at Fresno State’s pro day to watch Wylie, though many scouts had him going in later rounds due to durability concerns. Hamstring and ankle injuries caused him to miss four games his sophomore and junior seasons, and a stress fracture in his foot sustained during training camp wiped out what would have been his senior season.

He wound up redshirting two years ago and put together a strong season for a poor Fresno State team in 2011, catching 56 passes for 716 yards and a touchdown.

“Some of those things I consider snake-bitten injuries, a hamstring strain or something you really can’t do anything about,” Wylie said. “The good thing about it is none of it is lack of durability. It’s just unfortunate things.”

Kansas City used a patchwork group that included Keary Colbert and Jerheme Urban in the slot last season, and the 5-foot-9 Wylie appears to be a much better fit for the position.

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