It’s no secret that the Kansas City Chiefs did not play their best game in Super Bowl LV, and part of the blame has to land on the poor play of the offensive line. However, I don’t think we need to spend a lot of draft capital or cap space in order to improve… and I don’t think the Chiefs front office thinks so either.
A multitude of injuries, as well as a few opt-outs are the reasons the offensive line did not play “up to par” last season. With the offseason to repair and rebuild, don’t be surprised when the Chiefs once again draft a skill position in the first round.
Injuries, Opt-Outs, and Free Agents
The Chiefs lost starting LG Kelechi Osemele, as well as both OTs Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher to various injuries throughout the season. These injuries are serious enough to call into question the future of their NFL careers, and although we know the seriousness of Osemele and Fisher’s injury, Schwartz’s official diagnosis is still up in the air.
However, with Fisher expected to return around week 9 of the 2021 regular season (by my estimation) and the possible extension of Osemele, the Chiefs could lock up the left side of the line before the draft even hits.
While Osemele’s return might be somewhat in question, Schwartz is completely up in the air. After being hurt in week 6 against the Buffalo Bills his designation was “day-to-day”, effectively placing him in “Eric Berry purgatory.”
Hopefully, half of the regular season and an entire offseason to rehab will be enough to put him back on the field for at least one more season. If the Chiefs have a good feeling they can resign Osemele and Schwartz will be back, which will reduce their need to supplement the O-line in the upcoming draft.
As well as the multiple injures sustained to the offensive line, the Chiefs also had a few key players opt-out of the 2020 season. Both LDT and 3rd round pick Lucas Niang decided to opt-out for various reasons. While LDT was helping to fight COVID in his native country of Canada, his absence was immediately apparent. However, he has made it clear that he will be back with the Chiefs for the 2021 season! T
his was incredible news and he will immediately be an upgrade at RG. Lucas Niang, however, opted-out to keep him and his family safe. Niang was a steal for the Chiefs in the 3rd round of the 2020 NFL draft. Possibly a first-round talent at RT, his injuries sidelined him for most of his 2019 season. His long arms, football intelligence, overall athleticism are what put him on the Chiefs’ radar and if he is in football shape, his addition to the roster would undoubtedly be beneficial for the Chiefs.
While the extension of Osemele might be dependent on his physical health, there are a few players on the Chiefs’ o-line that will probably be extended based on their play in 2020. Mike Remmers had an impressive first season as a Chief and will most certainly be rewarded with an extension. His role as a swing tackle will provide them with much needed depth, or even as a temporary starter.
Stefen Wisniewski and Daniel Kilgore could also provide some depth if they chose to bring them back. While both did not play incredibly well in 2020, their experience and familiarity with the offense could land them a cheap one-year extension with the Chiefs.
If the Chiefs feel good about the health of their current offensive lineman and can bring some temporary players back, they might not draft any offensive lineman. With that being said, here is the “best-case scenario” lineup for the 2021 season. LT-LG-C-RG-RT
Backups- Allegretti, Wiz, Remmers, and Fisher (after he’s healthy)