This offseason the Kansas City Chiefs had a major problem upfront. Now, less than a week away from the start of the preseason and it’s time to take a look at who will make the final cut for the Chiefs offensive line.
The Kansas City Chiefs dramatically overhauled their offensive line this offseason, and if you have been following along with my content during the offseason, now is the time to start getting excited. Never has an offensive line been so scrutinized or covered in my memory for the Chiefs, but it seems that every day out of St.Joe there has been another video or report that points to the position.
Optimism is high and for a good reason less than a week away from the first pre-season game of the year. Here is my prediction for how the Chiefs offensive line will look heading into the season.
Left Tackle: Orlando Brown Jr.
Left Guard: Joe Thuney
Center: Creed Humphrey
Right Guard: Trey Smith
Right Tackle: Lucas Niang
Brown and Thuney have been locked in to be starters since the moment they were acquired by the Kansas City Chiefs. Thuney has been one of the best guards in football during his time in New England, and he will bring veteran leadership and consistency to the roster as the captain of the offensive line.
There has been a lot of talk from camp about Brown somewhat struggling to adjust to the Chiefs offense, and even about his performance in one on one drills. The one-on-one pass-rush drill which is being described is already giving an advantage to the defensive line since they can just rush upfield and not worry about the run or screen game. This makes things harder on the OL, which is good for them to work technique, as well as explore other parts of their game. Brown has looked good in the team scrimmage periods so struggling in this drill shouldn’t be a big issue. He seems to be picking up on the offense and looks slimmed down, which will help him pass protecting at a higher rate this year.
Not many teams would be willing to let three rookies start across the offensive line, especially with keeping Patrick Mahomes healthy the team’s number one priority, but these are not three ordinary rookies.
When offensive linemen are drafted within the first three rounds it is usually a pretty good indication that the team wants them to play right away. Creed Humphrey has been the man in the middle since team OTA’s and minicamp, and nothing else will change headed into week one. Humphrey has displayed the IQ, as well as a stout interior presence for the Chiefs.
Lucas Niang was not slated to be in the position he is in, the team opened up camp with Mike Remmers at right tackle, but an injury early in camp that has sidelined Remmers the majority of camp has opened up a tremendous opportunity for Niang to come in and compete. He has seized his chance and has displayed his arsenal as a player. His massive frame combined with quick feet have allowed him to hold his own, but it is his size and strength that allow him to finish plays. A player with a very strong anchor he looks like he should be starting day one.
NO single player during the Chiefs training camp has had more media coverage than Trey Smith. He has not disappointed. Smith is a player I have been watching play for over a year now, but his brutal physicality in camp has made it seem even more likely that he could be the steal of the entire 2021 NFL Draft, and also a starter for the Chiefs. I would call it hype, but it’s past that. The Chiefs have needed an enforcer upfront for a while, to not only protect Mahomes but also step into the ring when things are tough. This could be the start of a wonderful career for Smith in Kansas City.
Mike Remmers has not had many fans in the past few months, but he is a more than capable backup who can play guard and tackle for the Chiefs. It was unfair for him to have to play left tackle in the Super Bowl due to the injury suffered by Eric Fisher but the past is the past. Remmers had an overall solid season last year, and despite injuries in training camp, he should be ready to fill in week one if called upon.
There was a time when I thought that Austin Blythe would end up the starter in Kansas City. He has had a solid pro career and had plenty of experience from his time with the Rams. It would seem that he was brought in to be the starter, but the team drafted Creed Humphrey in the second round and he has been taking all the reps since then. Blyth will still provide solid depth off the bench, but he could also be trade bait as we progress through the pre-season.
Nick Allegretti was a nice surprise last season, starting nine games, and starting every playoff game. Tremendous value for a former seventh-round draft pick. That being said the team was looking to upgrade everywhere across the board, and that knocks Allegretti to the second team. He will be good enough to make the roster, but he is someone who I consider on the bubble.
I have not been much of a fan of Andrew Wylies game, but the veteran has taken advantage of some injuries to get playing time this camp, and if the roster cut deadline was today he would make it. Versatility is the name of the game, as well as familiarity with the system. Wylie might not be around long once the season starts, however.
Injured to start the season
I don’t think either of these players has much of a future in Kansas City once they return from the Injury list. We have yet to see either player suit up in over a year, and when they did the results were not great. It was fun to think about what could have been with Long in the lineup, but a knee injury, as well as the momentum gained by Trey Smith will make it hard for the team to keep him even if he does get healthy season.
LDT suffered a broken hand and will miss around four to six weeks. In the training camp periods, I was in attendance for he played sparingly with the second team. The team seems ready to move on, and the injury isn’t helping out LDT at all.
Prince Tega Wonahago
The team is bound to keep a few players on the practice squad to continue to develop, as well as even make the roster potentially if called on.
Prince Tega-Wonahago has POTENTIAL to be a starter in the NFL, but his career has been off to a slow start. After being a potential first-round draft pick out of Auburn, he fell to the 7th round and was later cut by the Philadelphia Eagles toward the end of last season. The Chiefs picked him last winter, and he has shown some ability so far in camp. He is a prospect player, but one I think the Chiefs will hold onto as a low-risk high-reward practice squad member.
Yasir Durant played sparingly last season, and he was not good, but the former Missouri Tiger does still have some upside as well as NFL experience at guard and tackle. His massive frame makes him a good fit for a guard, and with more coaching from Andy Heck, he could be developed into a versatile backup in the future.