Kansas City Chiefs Have Big Shoes To Fill On The Offensive Line


Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Donald  Stephenson  (79) Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

With free agency here, the Kansas City Chiefs, like many teams, have several key players set to hit the open market in free agency. The Chiefs opted not to use the franchise tag in 2014, the first time that’s happened in three years.

It’s become common knowledge that Pro Bowl left tackle Brandon Albert has played his last game as a Chief, and will be cashing in on a huge contract soon. Most experts point to Miami as the front runners for his services.

However, it’s also looking like the guard combination of Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah will also be looking to get a sizable contract this off season. And although there’s still the chance the Chiefs could resign one or both players, the team is towards the bottom of the league in cap space, and will be hard pressed financially to resign both players. To me, this is a major concern.

If the Chiefs do indeed lose Albert, Schwartz, and Asamoah in free agency, they could potentially give former sixth round pick Eric Kush a shot at the Center position, and move Rodney Hudson to Guard, where he played on occasion in his college days at Florida State.

Of course there’s always the draft, but without a 2nd round pick, you could realistically say they could find a starter in either the first or third round in this year’s upcoming draft, however unlikely that would seem. The starting line could theoretically be Eric Fisher, Jeff Allen, Eric Kush, Rodney Hudson, and Donald Stephenson.

Kansas City Chiefs center Rodney Hudson (61) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

While this offensive line is no doubt talented, it leaves me incredibly worried about the 2014 season. The Kansas City Chiefs already have a young offensive line and it would be getting even younger.

Former number one overall pick Eric Fisher suffered a major learning curve transitioning from Central Michigan to the NFL, and while he has shown some promising flashes at times, he still has a lot to prove to both fans and coaches in year two.

I’m much more confident in third year player Donald Stephenson, who has consistently shown improvement in his times as a starter on both the left and right tackle position. He could very well push Fisher to start at left tackle to fill the void left by Albert.

Again this is all entirely speculation, but the momentum the offense gained towards the end of last season could be lost if this offensive line group takes a step back in 2014.

Andy Reid has never shied away for his love of offensive lineman. A former offensive lineman himself, he’s had a strong history of drafting and developing some great players in his tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles. I don’t see him changing that philosophy anytime soon.

In time, last year’s number one overall pick Eric Fisher will live up to his potential and be a franchise left tackle. The biggest challenge going forward will be if Reid and Dorsey can show the consistent ability to replace players that are lost in free agency via the draft, and to not experience a drop in performance.

They must identify players that fit their scheme, and execute a plan to have that player ready to contribute right away. You never want to see good players leave your team, but its part of the business side of the NFL, and one we just have to accept as fans.

The offensive line will be okay in 2014, though many questions remain, I’m far from convinced it will be a strength of the team when you look at the entire unit as a whole.

With free agency set to kickoff in , there is still a lot that can happen for the Kansas City Chiefs. I’m optimistic that the front office will find a way to fill the holes across the team as a whole, and I hope they find a way to retain some of their own talent as discussed earlier.

The core of this team is one of the best in NFL, and the foundation will laid last year by the new regime will ensure success for years to come.