The KC Chiefs made telling moves this past week and those decisions will probably lead to the organization drafting an offensive lineman in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
It’s clear that the Kansas City Chiefs are planning to completely tear down their offensive line and build a new unit. For one, they released both of their starting tackles to help free up cap space, but there’s also been news circulating that it’s unlikely they’ll re-sign Austin Reiter, their starting center from the past two years.
This leaves the Chiefs with Nick Allegretti at left guard and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif at right guard, who didn’t even play last season after opting out due to COVID-19. Kansas City does have third-round pick Lucas Niang at their disposal and they also have Martinas Rankin who could be a starter in 2021 and beyond.
Even with those two on the roster, the Chiefs are probably going to take an offensive lineman with their first-round pick and in order to get a high-quality one, they might have to trade up. We saw the Chiefs act aggressively four years ago when they moved from pick 28 to pick No. 10 to draft Patrick Mahomes, but that was for a quarterback. Trading up from 31 to the top 10 for an offensive lineman probably wouldn’t be as highly praised of a move.
The KC Chiefs need help on their offensive line and the first round of the draft gives them the best chance to add an upgrade.
With the Chiefs not having much money to play around with this offseason, the draft is going to be their best bet when it comes to filling the holes on the roster. Having a franchise quarterback is the best thing an NFL team can have, but without a line to protect him, you see situations like in Indianapolis where quarterbacks retire early or in Seattle where the quarterback wants to go somewhere with a better o-line.
The Chiefs need to make protecting Patrick Mahomes a priority and being aggressive in the first round of the draft to land a premier tackle could be the best way of doing that. Some realistic names they could land in the 2021 NFL Draft would be Teven Jenkins (Oklahoma State), Jalen Mayfield (Michigan), and Samuel Cosmi (Texas), but if they wanted some of the better options, trading up for someone like Rashawn Slater would really help this o-line out moving forward.
The last time the Chiefs took an o-lineman in round one was Eric Fisher and that ended up being a solid pick. They won’t have their pick of the litter this time around, but with the moves they made this past week, a first-round o-lineman seems imminent at this point.