The Kansas City Chiefs already had a large need at offensive line going into the 2021 offseason. Odds are likely that they will select more than one blocker come April’s annual NFL Draft. Add in the releases of Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz from this morning, and the Chiefs are clearly focused on revamping and fixing the offensive line. The team cannot have Patrick Mahomes running for his life, like he did in the Super Bowl LV loss.
Today’s edition of This Or That will focus mainly on the news of the team releasing their two previous starting offensive tackles. The team does have Lucas Niang as a possible offensive tackle option. But, he opted out of last season. Niang has yet to be tested at the NFL level. So today’s question will be, would you rather see the Chiefs trade up for a blocker in round one? Or, should they stay put at 31st overall and draft a blocker there?
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Depth Of Offensive Tackle Class
The 2021 NFL Draft offensive tackle class is one of the more fruitful in recent memory. As of right now, The Draft Network has eight offensive tackles ranked in the top 40 of their rankings. There is an additional four tackles placed in their current top 100 rankings. Even Alijah Vera-Tucker of USC could be an offensive tackle at the NFL level. He is seen as the consensus top interior offensive lineman in this year’s class. However, Vera-Tucker transitioned and fared well at left tackle for the Trojans this past fall.
To put into perspective, the Draft Network only had five offensive tackles that sniffed the top 40 rankings at the end of the pre-draft process last year. The fifth one, the aforementioned Niang, did not go until the third round when Kansas City picked him. And yes, opinions and the order of how teams view this year’s class will vary. The options were more diversified last season, though.
Possible Trade Scenarios
Designing hypothetical trades can get out of control. Other times, individuals produce some of the more laughable results when discussing trades. If Kansas City were to trade up at all in round one, I’d imagine they likely aren’t going to move up more than 15 or 16 spots. Even that could be a bit rich. Nonetheless, the Chiefs know they have to get the offensive line right. Who knows how the draft board will actually fall come April 29. If somehow, someway, one of the top offensive tackles are sitting there in the late teens, Kansas City may jump.
The players I personally view suitable for this scenario are Rashawn Slater, Christian Darrisaw, or Vera-Tucker. Those players are all rated in the top 13 currently over at The Draft Network. Meanwhile, Teven Jenkins, Dillon Radunz and even Jalen Mayfield are ones the Chiefs could view at an extremely high point on their big board.
What would a possible trade up in the first round cost? It would likely all center around picks that are involved in the 2021 NFL Draft. Unless they move way up into the top 15, they may not have to give up their first round pick or other picks in 2022. Say they move up to 20 overall, it may cost them moving three picks one way, in return for one or two picks. Every trade is different. Yet, that is a scenario I could see the Chiefs going down personally.
Could Patience Lead To Gift?
On the other hand, maybe the team will not have to make a trade up in round one. Some of those top names could all be available at 31st overall. And if the Chiefs elect to sit patiently, it could work in their favor.
Take last year’s wide receiver class for example. Touted as one of the more impressive wide receiver draft classes in NFL history, the first one was not selected until pick 12 overall (Henry Ruggs III to the Raiders). Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb did not go until 15th and 17th overall respectively. And that was despite each player being ranked in the top 10 of the class overall by most draft analysts. The receiver who had the best overall rookie season in 2020 was the fifth one to come off the board. Justin Jefferson turned in 1,400 receiving yards with the Minnesota Vikings, breaking the NFL record for most receiving yards by a rookie (Anquan Boldin– 1,377 yards in 2003). He also set a new rookie record for receptions in franchise history as a rookie. He passed Randy Moss‘s mark of 69 catches in 1998.
Of course, the offensive line is a whole other animal, compared to wide receiver. The situation is very similar, however. The depth of the offensive tackle class could allow teams to wait and play the field later. Opting to go for other impact players from additional positions early on, could benefit Kansas City in the end. Let’s not forget the high amount of offensive linemen who could be added in free agency.
You can go here to cast your vote in the poll for today’s edition of This Or That: Trade up for offensive tackle or stay put at 31st overall?
Obviously, it is hard to know just exactly how the board will fall. I would only trade up if the goal is to secure one of Slater, Darrisaw, Vera-Tucker, Jenkins or Radunz. General manager Brett Veach has not shied away from trading up before. And quite honestly, there is a suspicious feeling that he could do so again. This time in the first round. The scenario would have to work out, but I would be willing to take that gamble of trading up for one of the top names at offensive tackle.
Be on the lookout for more FPC Chiefs This Or That hypothetical articles throughout this 2021 offseason. We will post them on Tuesday and Thursday. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– 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.