The Chiefs are a very talented team. But, talent can only take you so far. The offensive line, the big guys upfront help to keep an efficient offense afloat. Just ask Deshaun Watson and Josh Rosen about that from last year. Watson was sacked the most times in the league last season (65 times). Rosen got dropped to the turf 45 times, and that was only in 14 games. He rarely had more than three seconds to drop back and throw the ball.
The Chiefs offensive line has been mostly steady during the Andy Reid era, despite some continuous injuries. Last season, certain guys like Austin Reiter and Andrew Wylie stepped up and played major roles. Even with constant changes on the interior, Pro Football Focus graded the Chiefs offensive line as the 13th best last season.
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Offensive Linemen on the current roster: Mitchell Schwartz, Eric Fisher, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Andrew Wylie, Austin Reiter, Cam Erving, Nick Allegretti, Jimmy Murray, Kahlil McKenzie, Pace Murphy, Dino Boyd, Jeff Allen, Ryan Hunter, Chidi Okeke, Zack Golditch
Mitch and Fish
Since Mitchell Schwartz joined the Chiefs in 2016, he and Eric Fisher have been dominant bookend tackles for Kansas City. Schwartz has been a stalwart against division opponents. But one division rival he has continued to shut down the most is Von Miller. Miller has just 3.5 sacks in the three years Schwartz has faced him as a Chief. One thing Schwartz has been most proud of, is his consecutive snaps streak. He is the current iron man in that category, having played over 7,000 consecutive snaps. The Chiefs also rewarded Schwartz this offseason with an extension through 2021.
Fisher has come a long way since his rookie season in 2013. The former number one overall pick struggled with penalties to begin his career. Now, Fisher has become more trusted at the left tackle position. When the Chiefs needed him to step up lately, he has. The obvious hope is that he can continue to dominate and stay in the lineup, similar to Schwartz.
The Inner Workings
The starters among the interior offensive linemen is still a bit of question for Kansas City. All signs point to Austin Reiter winning the center job. He did well last season, stepping in late for an often injured Mitch Morse.
The guard spots are really tough to understand. Though Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has been good up front for a while, he missed plenty of games with injury last year. His injury, combined with Morse’s, forced the Chiefs to change a lot in the interior last season. According to Pro Football Focus, seven different interior offensive linemen played at least 100 snaps for the Chiefs last season.
Meanwhile, Andrew Wylie and Cam Erving are both starting to develop nicely. Both can play tackle, as well as guard. However, in the preseason Kansas City has kept both of these guys close in competition. Coaches are being very hush on either guy winning the starting job at left guard. Additionally, Jeff Allen has been brought back by the Chiefs once again. Having these four quality options at the guard spots makes me wonder if one of LDT, Erving, Wylie or Allen is on the trade block. Who knows, the Chiefs could be looking to be acquiring a defender in return for one of these big men. Last year on roster cut day, general manager Brett Veach made a similar trade. He managed to move offensive lineman Parker Ehinger to the Cowboys for Charvarius Ward. If none of those four are moved, I believe they all should make the team.
I project the Chiefs to carry nine players for their offensive line. We’ve mentioned seven guys so far that seem to be locked in to the roster. It looks like the other two spots come down to three or four other options. First, it’s rookie Nick Allegretti. The seventh round pick has already begun to shine among the second team. The other three players I could see the Chiefs consider to carry is Kahlil McKenzie, Jimmy Murray or Pace Murphy. For me, McKenzie will be the ninth and final linemen to make it. His offseason work with Will Shields looks to be paying off, and he looks even stronger this year.
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Final Depth Chart:
LT: Eric Fisher
LG: Cam Erving
C: Austin Reiter
RG: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
RT: Mitchell Schwartz
Backups: Andrew Wylie, Nick Allegretti, Jeff Allen, Kahlil McKenzie
That will conclude our roster predictions for the Chiefs offense. Up next, we will flip over to the defensive line. Be sure to stay tuned to Full Press Coverage for more great sports and NFL content.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.