It’s Week 4 in the NFL, and the Patriots have come off a confidence boosting win over the Raiders to improve to 2-1, only to be staring down the barrel of the Patrick Mahomes led Chiefs. Trying to pick just one player from the array of weapons the Chiefs have is difficult. Mahomes, Hill, Watkins, Kelce, Edwards-Helaire are all elite level players in the skill positions. However, the Chiefs’ most underrated strength is their Offensive Line. One player stands above the shoulders of his teammates both literally and figuratively – Mitchell Schwartz.
Just to mention the other members of the line for a minute to give you an understanding of how good they really are, the Chiefs have 2013 1st overall pick Eric Fisher at Left Tackle, 2-time Pro Bowler Kelechi Osemele at Left Guard, Austin Reiter at Centre and Andrew Wylie who is starting in place of the outstanding Laurent Duvernay Tardif, at Right Guard. Even the backups are impressive with long-time NFL veterans Daniel Kilgore and Michael Remmers providing cover in the interior and tackle positions respectively.
Standing at 6ft 5” and 320lbs, Schwartz, is the prototype size for a Right Tackle, whilst also being a dead-ringer for Pro Football Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen in the looks category! Schwartz is one of those players that has flown under the radar of the general NFL fan populus, and as such he has yet to receive a Pro Bowl nod. Despite this fact, he has been selected as an All Pro, named as part of PFF’s all Rookie Team, rated as the highest amongst all Offensive lineman in 2018 by PFF and was named in CBS’ Team of the Decade. Those in the know, know how good Schwartz is. Schwartz was also at one point NFL’s “Ironman” for most consecutive snaps amassed during 120 games. As coach Belichick says; “the best ability is availability”.
In 2019, Schwartz was ranked 94th in the NFL top-100 which is known to have a heavy focus on the skill positions. In over 700 snaps in 2019 he gave up only 23 QB pressures. In an interview with the NFL, Broncos Offensive Lineman Garret Bolles said that Schwartz had “Von Miller’s number” when the two face off against one another. In his career against Miller he has only given up 0.5 of a sack.
Playing in the AFC West, Schwartz faces a murders row of Edge Rushers twice a year in Von Miller, Joey Bosa, Bradley Chubb, Clelin Ferrell, Melvin Ingram and Maxx Crosby and he always finishes on top. His ability and reliability, give Mahomes the confidence to sit in the pocket as he chooses. As a run blocker, Schwartz was part of an Offensive Line that led the NFL in 2017 in yards per carry and was 6th in 2018.
As a Right Tackle, you would be hard pressed to find anyone better in the NFL right now. The New England Patriots Defensive Line has hardly been stellar this season, but has had its moments. It would be highly unlikely that we see any pressure being applied from the left side of the defense with Schwartz in the game.
One final statistic to leave you with, Schwartz gave up zero sacks in 2019 and played every snap….
–Luke O’Brien is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage Sports Media and covers the New England Patriots. Follow him on Twitter @lukeobrienNFL