With three rookies starign on the offensive line, are the Chiefs ready to keep contending for championships?
When most offensive lines go young it’s because they are a rebuilding team, not a championship-caliber team. But when your quarterback ran for 500 yards before he threw passes in the Super Bowl you have to make drastic changes to the offensive line. Usually, that means a team is going to go grab some veterans who could bring in some stability. So it’s really surprising to see the oldest member of the starting unit be Joe Thuney at 28 years old and having an average age of 24 along the line.
With the new starting five of (from left to right) Orlando Brown Jr., Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey, Trey Smith, and Lucas Niang. Many fans would think they would have a problem with chemistry with all of the new additions, but the youth has not stopped them from looking fantastic. In the preseason, I have yet to see a more complete offensive line for the Chiefs since the 2004 unit which had two Hall of Fame players in Willie Roaf and Will Shields. They have a bunch of very young offensive lineman who is all looking to improve the life of Patrick Mahomes.
The veterans on the offensive line have been extremely impressive as well, I don’t want to make it seem like they haven’t been so. Joe Thuney was proven before he got to Kansas City he was a two-time Super Bowl Champion and has received an All-Pro selection when he was with the Patriots. He has been able to give time to Mahomes all day in the passing game, you can’t ask more for the left guard to handle the best interior pass rusher.
Orlando Brown has showcased his pass blocking skills as well, he didn’t allow pressure all preseason and was able to shift his feet to get set in pass blocking sets. They should be really solid and finish with pro Bowl or All-Pro selections in 2021, but the best part of this season is going to be the young guns on the right side.
Trey Smith and Lucas Niang are bullies on the right side of the line and it has shown in spades in the run game this preseason. Smith has been considered the steal of the draft by most draft experts because he fell so far, but don’t let the day three pick fool you he’s really good. Trey Smith should have gone in the second round but the Chiefs were able to get him in the sixth round, he should be amazing value. If you’re not excited by how good he’s looked I’m going to need you to watch this.
Lucas Niang has been incredible as well, he was able to beat Mike Remmers as the starting right tackle with his nastiness and strength at the point of attack. He uses his hands as a hammer to punish the defender in the run game and uses his feet to handle him in the passing game. I have enjoyed watching him grow after we didn’t see him play last season due to him opting out, he has been better than advertised for the Chiefs. I’m going to love watching him play against the Browns.
Finally, we are going to talk about the man in the middle, Creed Humphrey. Humphrey has been fantastic, to say the least, he was the least surprising starter of the rookies and has been able to showcase the leadership he’s bringing from Oklahoma. As he’s been everywhere he’s played, Creed Humphrey has been an impact blocker in both the run and pass game. I’m going to be interested to see him command more and more attention with accolades and honors as we move towards the end of the season.
This offensive line has been nothing short of spectacular and been better than advertised, they should make one of the best offenses in the league way more explosive. It’s going to be fun to see Patrick Mahomes have plenty of time to throw and the running backs have huge holes to run through. I hope they can keep them all healthy so we can see this offense at its full potential.