Addicts, while we all hope that there is NFL football this season, one thing is certain. There will be college football this season. My heart belongs to the Chiefs, so I always watch football with an eye towards who the Chiefs might be interested in. As much as I like Branden Albert and Barry Richardson, I can not see the Chiefs winning a Super Bowl with them as the bookend tackles. We may see Albert slide inside to guard, or you can see Richardson moved to a backup, swing tackle role. Either way, we could easily see a new player at a starting tackle position.
Under Scott Pioli, the Chiefs tend to prefer known quantities. That is, they prefer players with lots of good tape from a high level program. While you may see some deviations, that is the general norm. The 2012 draft is looking quite strong for offensive tackles. Names like Matt Kalil and Jonathan Martin will get some buzz, but they should be long gone before the Chiefs pick. I am going into the season with the general idea that the Chiefs range of picks is from the mid teens to early to mid twenties. What college players am I keeping an eye on that project from the mid first round on down?
Riley Reiff, Iowa 6′ 6”, 300 LBS – Here comes the latest in the long line of Iowa offensive lineman. Kirk Ferentz runs an excellent program at Iowa. His offensive lineman come out very well schooled. When you watch the Chiefs play, look at how good a technical blocker Tony Moeaki is. It’s not an accident. In an odd way, Iowa offensive lineman are usually downgraded in the draft. That is because they have realized much of their potential in college. Their ceiling usually isn’t as high as prospects from other school. However, a good Iowa lineman is a plug, play and forget about prospect. Look at Green Bay and Brian Bulaga for a recent example. Riley Reiff was a second team All Big Ten choice last year. Reiff is only a Junior this season, but he could easily declare for the draft. When you watch Iowa, look at Reiff. He has a great nasty streak, but could use work refining his awareness and footwork. Right now, he is viewed more as a right tackle prospect than a left tackle prospect.
Bobby Massie, Mississippi 6′ 6” 325 LBS - Unlike Reiff, Massie projects to the left side in the NFL even though he plays right tackle at Ole Miss. He is flying a bit under the radar now, but that should change. He is a coachable player with good athletic skills. He was a prime recruit as Ole Miss got him over Alabama. When watching Ole Miss, watch to see how mobile Massie is. Does he have the footwork to succeed in a zone blocking scheme?
Jonathan Martin, Stanford 6′ 6” 305 LBS – Martin has a lot of great skills. He has good skills in pass blocking and run blocking. Martin is smart, durable and agile enough to succeed in a zone blocking scheme. The problem is that Martin is so highly rated, the Chiefs may not get a crack at him. However, there is a lot of football to play, so all bets are off. With Andrew Luck, Stanford should be on television often. When they are, try to keep an eye out for Martin.
Those are my top three tackles that could be of interest to the Chiefs. However, they are not the only players to watch. Keep your eyes on Ricky Wagner at Wisconsin, Andrew Datko of Florida State and Nate Potter from Boise State.
Ok Addicts, those are some guys I will be keeping an eye on. Do you have any favorites?