Tim Crone: Chiefs need to use draft to bolster O-line
My plan is to discuss the offensive line for the Kansas City Chiefs, but a side note first regarding the NCAA Final Four pick. My first choice up until now would have been for Michigan to win it all. In light of the fact that they lost their senior starting guard, it would be exceedingly difficult for the Wolverines.
I will take Michigan and Villanova off the board, stay with Gonzaga and Illinois and add Florida State and Alabama. Gonzaga will play Illinois for the national championship. Illinois will win it all.
Now, on to the Chiefs. They made a move last week to clear much-needed salary space. Cutting both offensive tackles, Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, came as a shock to many fans. Brett Veach had to make a tough call and time will tell if he was right.
The Chiefs have been 26-1 in the past 27 games Fisher played in. He has been questioned ever since he was the overall No.1 draft choice for the Chiefs. He has been knocked for eight years, which I believe was crazy. He has been consistent and a solid left tackle.
During his time with the Chiefs, Mitchell Schwartz became the best right tackle in the NFL. He never came off the field until his back injury this year. The Super Bowl made it clear just how good both of these players have been with the Chiefs.
Filling these two positions will determine if the Chiefs can remain at the top of the AFC next year. The offensive line will be a continuing hot topic. Center Austin Reiter is an unrestricted free agent along with backup guard Stefen Wisniewski.
Guard Laurent Duvernay-Tariff and last year’s draft choice tackle Lucas Niang from TCU are expected to be back with the team in 2021 after opting out because of COVID-19 concerns.
Guards Nick Allegretti and Andrew Wylie will be back. Wylie played right tackle in the Super Bowl and was whipped consistently throughout the game. It is obvious he is much better at the guard position.
The Chiefs have to draft an offensive tackle in the first two rounds, preferably the first round. This year’s draft is filled with several good offensive tackles. Kansas City, however, will be picking next to last in the first round, which may mean seeing three to four offensive tackles being drafted before the Chiefs even get a chance.
Look for the Chiefs to take either Alijah Vera-Tucker from USC, Teven Jenkins from Oklahoma State, Samuel Cosmi from Texas or Alex Leatherwood from Alabama.
If a top center is available, the Chiefs may go a different direction. The top three centers are Landon Dickerson from Alabama, Creed Humphrey from Oklahoma and Josh Meyers from Ohio State.
All the tackles and centers mentioned in this draft have almost all played tough competition in the Power Five conferences. They all could be ready year one to compete at the NFL level.
Patrick Mahomes was willing to restructure his contract so the Chiefs could make more room for this year’s salary cap. Mahomes knows his future is in the hands of his offensive line. If Patrick has to play every game like he did last year, he will not be in the NFL within five years. He cannot run for his life on every snap and receive that kind of beating every game.
Another topic off the subject is in regards to the state high school wrestling tournament. It had to be delayed because fans did not follow the COVID-19 protocol rules.
The state high school athletic tournaments are not for the fans – they are designed to reward hard-working student athletes. There is NO room for a political statement in high school sports. The athletes are expected to follow the rules and the fans must follow suit.
• The quote of the week comes from late Chiefs Hall of Fame owner Lamar Hunt: “Whatever the project, the key ingredients are persistence and determination. These two traits can overcome most every obstacle.”
Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at email@example.com.