Kansas City Chiefs: Left guard the only contested offensive line spot

Kansas City Chiefs. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

For years it seemed as if the Kansas City Chiefs were just trotting out everyone on the roster to find an offensive line. This year, only one spot is up for grabs as several players are in the mix at left guard.

It was almost unbearable watching the Kansas City Chiefs struggle to put together a starting offensive line. For the first several seasons of the Andy Reid era, that was one area that stood out as a problem. However, the days of “a new day, a new offensive line combination” appear to be over as now only the left guard spot seems to be contested.

Early on in training camp, Bryan Witzmann and Zach Fulton have both been getting looks at the starting left guard spot. Witzmann, fresh off a contract extension, appears to be getting he most reps at the spot. However, Fulton is starting to get worked in more and more. It’s far too early to guess on which player might have the lead in the competition.

Along the rest of the offensive line, things are going just fine. Eric Fisher, Mitch Morse, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, and Mitchell Schwartz are all locked into their roles and moving forward as expected. That’s part of what makes this battle at left guard stand out.

Plenty Of Wrinkles

Left guard especially has been a sore spot for the Kansas City Chiefs these past few yeas. The Chiefs have rotated a number of players through that spot, with none of them fitting in very well. Some were even huge liabilities on the offensive front. That changed a little bit last year with Zach Fulton getting most of the work there.

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However, it is the guy that Zach Fulton replaced in 2016 that may be the real curveball here. Second year man Parker Ehinger is not back on the field yet, but expects to be before long. In his limited action as the starting left guard last year, he flashed a lot of ability. That’s a big thing to watch in this position competition.

However, even without Ehinger in the mix, there is still a lot on the line. If Bryan Witzmann can beat out Zach Fulton in this competition, then the Chiefs may look to use Fulton as a trade piece. Offensive linemen are in short supply in the NFL these days, and Fulton has a lot of starting experience at all three interior line positions. That’s quite an asset.

Moving Forward

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The Kansas City Chiefs are likely hoping to see enough from Bryan Witzmann that they can move on from Zach Fulton. While Fulton has been a valuable piece for the KC offensive line, he is the only lineman with significant playing time not under contract beyond this year.

With starting time at three different positions, Zach Fulton will likely be able to find a starting job in 2018 via free agency. So it would behoove the Chiefs to find a successor to him now. If that happens, Kansas City will be in a much stronger position and can even look to get some trade value out of him.

Regardless of how this competition plays out though, the Chiefs have to feel as good about this offensive line as any unit they’ve had in recent years. Kansas City has managed to put together a solid group of starters and backups. That isn’t something anyone should be overlooking.

If football is won in the trenches, then expect the Kansas City Chiefs to put up a lot of victories this year.

The Kansas City Chiefs have built a solid roster for the 2017 season. This is a team that should certainly be thinking about their Super Bowl chances. The bar has been set pretty high with their recent success, but this group has the talent to match it.