Dec 8, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz (74) prepares to block against the Washington Redskins during the second quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Breaking Down the Kansas City Chiefs Depth Chart -- Offensive Line

There is a lot of talk right now about what the Chiefs will do during this off season. Starting this weekend with the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, moving through the free agency period which beings March 11 and into the NFL Draft in May, the Chiefs will have plenty of opportunity to start filling holes on their roster. But where are those holes? Wide receiver and free safety are two areas that have been repeatedly named as areas requiring improvement this off season. But are they the only ones? What other holes do the Chiefs have on their roster?

In breaking down the Chiefs final depth chart from last season, we can a lot of holes that are developing…some not where many expected.

Offense Depth Chart

POS
1st
2nd
3rd
 
WRDonnie AveryA.J. JenkinsKyle Williams*
LTBranden AlbertDonald Stephenson
LGJeff AllenRishaw Johnson
CRodney HudsonEric Kush
RGJon AsamoahRokevious Watkins
RTEric FisherGeoff Schwartz
TEAnthony FasanoSean McGrathTravis Kelce*
WRDwayne BoweDexter McClusterJunior Hemingway
QBAlex SmithChase DanielTyler Bray
RBJamaal CharlesKnile DavisCyrus Gray
FBAnthony Sherman

*Ended the Season on Injured Reserve

Everyone who has a voice has said that the Chiefs need to bring in talent on the offensive side of the ball. As I said earlier, the wide receiver position is one place where many think the Chiefs need to invest some money or draft picks. I’m not disagreeing with that. I’m not thoroughly convinced that Donnie Avery is the team’s answer at the receiver position across the field from Dwayne Bowe. But if you look at the names that are crossed out, those are the players currently slated to hit free agency and haven’t been re-signed by the Chiefs.

With both Branden Albert and Geoff Schwartz scheduled to hit the open market the team is left with last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick Eric Fisher and third-year man Donald Stephenson at the tackle positions. That’s it. There is no longer any depth behind them. The team needs to have at least three tackles. With Albert gone, they will no longer have the luxury of having a guy like Stephenson in the “swing tackle” position to step in if someone gets injured, because he’ll likely be starting. That means the Chiefs will probably have to spend some money in free agency or target one of their six picks to take a tackle at some point in the draft.

At the same time, with Jon Asamoah hitting the market, the team is down to Jeff Allen at the guard position along with Rishaw Johnson and Rokevious Watkins: two guys who were inactive most of last year on the 45-man game day roster. That’s far from confidence-inspiring.

The Chiefs offensive line took time to gel and become a solid unit last season, but once they did they played pretty well. When it comes to the O-line, Reid’s mantra has always been “play the best five guys” at any given time. Down the stretch last season with Albert injured, the best five were clearly Stephenson, Allen, center Rodney Hudson, Schwartz and Fisher.

If I’m making predictions — hopeful or otherwise — I’d like to think the Chiefs bring back both Schwartz and Asamoah. In doing that, it would allow Schwartz to play the right guard position where he excelled last season and have Allen and Asamoah battle it out for the starting left guard spot. Depending on Fisher’s progress during the off season, he will likely move to the left tackle, sending Stephenson to the right side.

By doing this, it maintains the integrity of the offensive line when they were at their best last season. Anything else would be really be forcing this unit to start from scratch and the Chiefs just can’t afford that at this point.

What are your thoughts on the O-line situation, Addicts? Sound off below.

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Tags: Branden Albert Donald Stephenson Eric Fisher Geoff Schwartz Jeff Allen Jon Asamoah Kansas City Chiefs

  • Hawthorne

    I think we could go O-line in the 1st or the 3rd round of the draft. We may have enough to sign Schwartz, but I think Asamoah is gone, he doesn’t seem to fit the scheme anyway. I think if we pick up a WR it will be in rounds 3-5 unless we trade down to the 2nd round.

  • Calchiefsfan

    I’m glad to see the AA writers picking up on the O line situation Jason. Here’s hoping Dorsey can pick up a Schwartz type guy to play tackle in FA. If not then a third round pick should be sufficient since the draft is supposedly deep at tackle this year. You’re right though, we do need another good tackle for depth, even if Fisher improves like we are all hoping. I also have to agree with signing both Schwartz and Asamoah. Let’s keep the O line as consistent as possible from last year. If the O line doesn’t play well this year then the Chiefs quite frankly are going to suck. It would be a tragic step backwards for this organization.

  • KCMikeG

    Great that you are brining this up for discussion. What is the reality of the potential for guys like Watson, Johnson and Kush (who actually played g & T at California/PA), Chandler Burt or Ricky Henry developing and contributing like Stephenson did?

    • e_racer

      I really like Kush at Center. I know it’s crazy, but I think he has the potential to start. I didn’t just start drinking the Kool-Aid. He gets off so quickly, and has natural leverage. I really like this kid, and it will not surprise me if will jump ahead of Hudson at some point. Hudson impressed me a lot more at LG than he has a Center. Hudson’s not bad, but Kush could push him back to Guard.

      • KCMikeG

        Hudson was a guard in college and hadn’t played center since high school. If Kush can beat him out then I hope Hudson and beat Allen at LG. I’m just not happy with what I have seen from Allen especially on bull rushes. He frequently seems confused as to who is his responsibility.

        • e_racer

          That is my biggest issue with Allen. He is still young, but the NFL does not wait very long. He needs to find a way to fix his problems.

          Hudson is a smart guy, and a good team player, but he is better at G. For that reason I think the Chiefs needs on the OL may be Center. If Kush is that guy, then the Chiefs can concentrate on other needs.

          • KCMikeG

            Would they consider a move like that or is Hudson locked in at center? Kush sounds like he has the tools. If not the top 2 centers in the draft look like they would still be available in the 3rd to 4th round and the top five from the 3rd-6th. I have come a long way from FS & WR being my have to haves first. Leaning more DL or OL now. Given more playing time I think Hemingway is going to be a pleasant surprise. I have strong belief they will bring Dexter back and if Bowe shows up in shape & his head in the game that would really strengthen us. Combined with the potential Jenkins has already shown and Alex Smith in his 2nd year in Reid’s system we may be better than we think at WR.

  • Stan Colbert

    Would love to see Chiefs re-sign Schwartz for rt guard. Stephenson & he would make a dominate pair should Andy ever decide to call a running play. Wish someone could replace Allen at lt guard, but Asamoah seemed to lose favor at season end. If season started tomorrow we need tackle depth, & at least two guards, just to get close to last season start.

  • jimfromkcj

    I would like to see if John Jerry becomes a free agent. he fits a power blocking system better than Allen or Asamoah. Maybe a trade for him and one of our guards who are better zone blockers than the Power style that Andy likes would help. Miami is going more zone than power and a trade might benefit both clubs.

  • CSconce

    Table not found?

  • e_racer

    Schwartz won’t come cheap, and he has earned that kind of respect. The Chiefs really need to get a deal done, but they must be willing to do a three year deal with a lot more than league minimum. The Chiefs need Schwartz, but do they have the money to pay him? That’s the crunch.

    I have been a fan of Jon Asamoah since the Chiefs drafted him out of college. Last year was clearly a set back. Asamoah has not developed as one would hope, but part of that is on the past coaching staff. Asamoah probably needs to go elsewhere to find a better fit. I don’t believe he will be back.

    Rok Watson was a guy I hoped would excel in our system. He is a powerful guy, but it just has not worked out. I don’t know why. He seems to be some sort of an enigma. What is not unclear is the potential in LG Rishaw Johnson. I really think he could compete head on with Jeff Allen this spring. Allen has the potential to stave off this threat, but he must start producing.

    Donald Stephenson is a starter in this league, somewhere. If he doesn’t get a shot in KC, then it will come when he becomes a free agent. He has improved vastly from his rookie season. Outside of Branden Albert, Stephenson may be the best OL guy on the team. He has the potential to be a very, very good LT.

    Big Fish must get better. He had a huge learning curve, and lost a lot of opportunity to improve by getting nicked by the injury bug. Let’s hope he comes back healthy, and ready to make a huge improvement over last season. I like what he has to offer, but he must learn the game, and he has to believe in his own ability to dominate the other guy. Part of the issue is physical, but the biggest part is mental. He has to believe he belongs.

    Finally, the best player currently on the offensive line is Branden Albert. People have tried to write him off ever since he came to KC out of Virginia. He is not the best LT in the game, but he does things other LTs cannot do, and this makes up for whatever area he falls short. I really like to see him block down field. Not many can do this as well. He is a very good player, and the team will miss him a lot if they cannot find the money to get him signed. Right now it looks doubtful, but who knows what John Dorsey may have up his sleeves. It would take other players giving up a little money for the good of the overall team. I don’t know if that will happen, but we can hope.